Real Men Sow

5 Techniques for Successful Salad and Lettuce

salad (2)

Salads and lettuces are some of the easiest crops to grow on an allotment, and also one of the freshest tasting. The crunch of a homegrown lettuce genuinely beats the shop bought alternatives hands down.

Here are 5 different techniques I’ve used to successfully grow tasty salad and lettuce crops.

The lettuce is the mainstay of salad growing, and everyone loves a crispy Kos. There a number of ways to grow lettuces, but my favourite is to sow in seed trays and then transplant seedlings into the open soil when they’re about 4 inches high.

When you pull the seedling out of the tray, try to keep as much soil around the roots as you can, and water it in once planted. Push the soil in firmly around the base to help the seedling stand up.

You can also sow directly and thin out. If you do this, replant the thinnings, as most will take giving a much improved yield and then water them in well.

Cut and Come Again Salad
Cut and come again salad leaves are now really popular, and I can definitely see why. As you pick, new leaves come through, meaning they’re a great value for money crop as well as a good use of space.

Sow directly in a block or row, and just let the leaves come up. Pick when they’re small for the sweetest, most delicate leaves. A row of cut and come again will last you a couple of months.

The seeds are small though, so if your soil is hard from the sun, try covering the row with multi-purpose compost. This is a much softer surface for the seeds to poke up through.

Container Growing
You can also try cut and come again varieties in containers. Troughs and window planters make perfect vessels for growing salad leaves, and are an excellent choice if you’re lacking in space.

I like growing some salad in containers in the garden, so we can nip out the back door and get crisp and fresh salad as and when we need it.

Successional Sowing
And remember, don’t stop sowing lettuce and salad! Successional sowings, every 2-3 weeks, will keep you in leaves all through the summer.

Winter Salad
You can even harvest salad leaves in the winter too, and you don’t necessarily need a greenhouse. Peppery Oriental greens, such as Mizuna, Green in Snow and Serifon are incredibly hardy and will provide cut and come again crops when the weather turns.

I sow rows around August time, and in the past it has only been the snow that has killed the crops off. Of course, if you’ve got a greenhouse there is a good chance of feasting on fresh winter salad leaves even when the days are short and the temperatures cold.

Tagged ,

Related Posts

Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!


Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


As Featured In…