This post gives a step by step approach to growing salad greens in containers.
Do you want to make salads with freshly harvested green leaves at home?
If you are thinking, “But I don’t have any gardening space, this post is not for me”, don’t give up just yet. I can understand that it is difficult to have gardening space if you live in a big city.
Our homes in Mumbai all along had only a balcony, or sometimes just the space on the window sills to grow a few potted plants.
In my post, I will share with you the step by step method on how to grow fresh greens in a pot or window sill very easily. Even if you don’t make salads, adding a handful of freshly snipped leaves to your meal will boost its nutrition considerably.
This is also a good way to start small with kitchen garden and experience the joy of eating something that is grown at home.
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The idea for this post came about when I posted a photo yesterday on my Instagram. It featured 14 different green leaves harvested that morning to make a salad. A lot of questions came my way on how to go about growing some of them and here’s my detailed response to help you.
My post is useful for those who want to grow a bit of edible plants in a window sill or in containers.
The same rules can be easily applied if you are going to make use of soil in your backyard or a strip of plot outside your house.
These are the 9 leaves you can easily grow at home—and yes, you can snip and use all of these in salads, even the herbs.
- Sweet Potato
Also read: 7 Tips to Successfully Grow Lemons in Pots
General soil mix to use for all potting purposes:
- 1 part good quality garden soil, preferably organic
- 1 part cocoa peat
- 1 part compost
Mix all 3 in a large tub – the quantities of each used will depend on how many pots / trays you want to fill.
You will find all this online or in your nearby gardening stores.
Trays / Pots to use
- I use bonsai trays for this purpose. Make sure it has drainage holes. Cover holes with bits of stone or terracotta pieces from a broken pot.
- You can also use these shallow grow bags suited for growing all green leafy veg. Make sure you snip a few holes in it for drainage.
- Pot for sweet potato – 8” wide terracotta pot
Using what is in your kitchen
Growing Salad Greens from Methi, Coriander, Green Moong, Mustard seeds
You can get the following seeds from your Indian kitchen. Others can easily buy these seeds from the spice aisle in any big supermarket (green moong from the lentils aisle)
I prefer not to soak any of the seeds because it is easier to sprinkle these on the soil surface in their dry form.
- Prepare two trays with the soil mix.
- Take a teaspoon of each of the seeds.
- Crush the coriander seeds before sprinkling them.
- Sprinkle each of the seeds around the trays, one after the other.
- Cover this with a thin layer of potting mix, not more than 1/4”.
- Water well and keep in a sunny spot.
- Water lightly once a day or two days, or if you feel the soil surface is dry.
The end result here is a mix of all 4 seeds are scattered across the 2 trays.
Why mix all the seeds in a single tray?
Having a mix of plants in each tray will reduce any chances of a pest attack to a great extent.
Also, each of these have different root systems, differing in their uptake of nutrients, so they grow faster and have a better chance at survival.
Coriander is very slow to germinate, so you will be able to harvest some of the other leaves until then.
There need not be any space between the seeds because we will be harvesting them as soon as they start producing leaves by snipping close to the root. This method of thinning will then allow the slower neighbouring plant to come up next.
Growing Salad Greens – Mint
When you buy mint, reserve some stems with roots attached. Prepare a medium sized pot with the potting mix. Using the back of a pencil, make 4-5 tunnels in the soil and place the mint with its root in each of these tunnels. Cover up the soil and press down well, watering it thoroughly. In 2-3 weeks, the stems will get new leaves and they will propagate to cover the soil surface in the pot.
Growing Salad Greens – Sweet Potato Leaves
In summers or humid conditions, unused sweet potatoes sitting in your pantry will most likely start sprouting.
Cut off cubes of the spud around the sprouting area, allow this to air dry for a day so the cut surfaces don’t have any moisture on them. This is to ensure that it does not catch fungus in the soil.
- Fill an 8” wide pot with the above mentioned potting mix upto 3/4th height.
- Place 4-5 of the sprouting cubes of sweet potato evenly spaced out.
- Cover with soil, pressing down very lightly.
- Water well and keep in a spot that gets sunlight.
- In 2-3 week, you will see tiny leaves peeking out of the soil.
- Water only if the soil on the top feels dry – this depends on the weather conditions where you live.
- You can keep harvesting small leaves, while not cutting them all off at the same time. In 2-3 months, you may even get a few sweet potatoes from the soil.
Growing Salad Greens – Pumpkin leaves
- When you buy a wedge of pumpkin, there are often a handful of seeds attached to it.
- Scrape out seeds, wash them well and spread on a tray of soil.
- You can scatter them close to each other as we are only going to harvest the micro greens from this. You can also use somewhat flat and wide plastic ice cream tubs for this purpose.
Growing Salad Greens using store bought seeds
Spinach, rocket (arugula), Alfalfa
Spinach and rocket seeds are easily available in gardening shops. Alfalfa is available in health food stores. Here are the links to buying these seeds online:
How to grow these salad greens
- Prepare 2 trays as explained for the kitchen seeds.
- Sprinkle 2-3 pinches of each of the seeds on each tray.
- You should have 2 trays, each tray with a sprinkling of spinach, rocket and alfalfa.
- Cover with a thin layer of potting mix.
- Water well.
- Within a week, most of the seeds would have sprouted.
- Keep snipping the leaves as they grow and they will come back again in a few days.
- Snipping very close to the soil surface will result in no more new growth.
- Pulling it out with the root will also be the end of the growing cycle.
If you do try this, share your updates on Instagram / Facebook. Tag me @saffrontrail on Instagram and facebook.com/saffrontrail
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