For people with limited outdoor space, growing vegetables in containers may be the only way to go. Grow your own salad is a great way to start. The nice thing about lettuce is most varieties doesn’t need a lot of space or soil to grow. They grow fairly fast and you can do it inside, on your kitchen counter or on a sunny window ledge.
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One of the simplest ways to start is to cut the ends of your romaine lettuce from the store and set in a cup or container with a little water. Leave it in there for about a week or until you start to see new green growth coming from the cut end, and roots forming at the bottom. Once those roots are about an inch or two long, plant your new lettuce plant into a bowl or small pot filled with potting soil. Keep it watered and in a sunny window and watch your lettuce grow. You can cut and regrow more lettuce several times.
Another option is to get lettuce seedlings at your local home and garden center. Just grab a pot or an old bowl, fill it with good potting soil and plant your lettuce. It won’t take long before it grows enough that you can start to harvest.
Lettuce plants don’t have very deep roots, which is why shallow bowls work perfectly for planting them indoors. And since it won’t get super-hot – even in a sunny window- you don’t need a large amount of soil to retain moisture. In other words, shallow bowls are a great way to grow a large amount of lettuce in little space or soil.
Glass bowls don’t work as well since it’s impossible to add drainage holes in the bottom. Your wooden bowls should work well though as do ceramic planter bowls or even pots you’re no longer using for potted plants.
The basic idea is simple. You get a bowl or pot, fill it with potting soil, and plant your salad and salad fixings. A salad or lettuce bowl can include several different varieties of lettuce and even a few of your favorite herbs.
Salad bowls are also an excellent tool to help teach your children about where our food comes from and how it is grown. Get the little ones involved in planting and caring for the lettuce plants. Not only is it a great learning experience, but it’s also a wonderful way to get them to eat more greens. After all, they’ve grown this lettuce.
To get started with your first salad bowl
Ready to start planting your first salad bowl? You’ll be surprised how easy this will be to put together. There are only a handful of things you need to get started.
- A Container or Bowl
- Seeds or Seedlings
That’s it. Start by looking around the house for a container to plant your lettuce in. This can be a flow pot you no longer use, or even a plastic bowl that you can drill drainage holes in. Don’t use a bowl without holes, because you’ll risk having the soil stay too moist and the roots will end up rotting. Drainage is important.
If you can’t find anything suitable around the house, or you want a pretty container to sit on the kitchen counter, head to your local home improvement store or garden center and get a shallow bowl planter. A shallow bowl with drainage holes and a catch plate works best for this little planting project.
A few classic options
Pick up a bag of good potting soil as well. You won’t need a large bag but look for quality soil that’s suitable for growing vegetable. A potting soil mix with a slow release fertilizer added will give you the best results.
Seeds or Seedlings
You also need to decide if you want to grow your lettuce from seed, or plant seedlings. Seedlings are often the best choice for your first salad bowl. They are easier to grow for a beginner and of course you get to harvest that much sooner.
- Here are some common mistake made while growing seeds indoors and how to avoid them
- 6 tips on successfully starting seeds indoors.
Have a look through your local garden center, or even your farmers market and find a few different varieties of lettuce that you want to grow. Mixing colors makes for a pretty planter and don’t forget that you can add some herbs as well for variety.
Once you get all your shopping goodies home, the fun starts. Fill your bowl with potting soil. Play with your plant seedlings before you take them out of their containers to determine how you want to arrange them in the bowl. With that figured out, it’s time to dig holes and start planting. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. They are the perfect gardening tool. Of course using a small shovel or a large spoon is also an option.
Take the seedlings out of the containers, gently tease the roots apart a little around the edges and plant them. Gently water your planting bowl to allow the soil to settle and to help encourage root growth.
Don’t be alarmed if your seedlings start to droop a little after planting. They will quickly recover and it won’t take long before you can harvest your first salad.
Or buy a grow your own salad kit
More on Grow your own Salad bowl series
3 reasons to grow your salad
Things to grow in your salad bowl