Sixteen squares of salad fromseed
Salad and herbs are the most valuablecrops you can grow in your garden. In abed just 120cm square you can sow sixteen30cm-squares of salad and herbs to give youa patchwork of pickings that will last untilwinter. In hot weather it’s better to locateyour four-cornered salad garden somewherethat will give it afternoon shade or add somehoops covered in shade cloth over your bed,which will also keep out birds and cats. Thebiggest mistake that most of us make is tryingto do too much in the garden. By restrictingyourself to a small but intensive salad garden,you’ree loading the odds in favour of yoursuccess. And it’s surprising how much varietyyou can fit in a small space.
Sowing seeds is cheaper than usingseedlings, albeit a little slower. It also givesyou a greater variety of crops to choose from.If you want to grow root vegetables you haveto sow seeds directly in the soil. A packet oflettuce seed will give you a thousand lettucesfor a few dollars. Choose whether you pickyour salad tiny, small or mature, depending onyour patience or taste.
What you’ll need:
» An area of garden or raised bed 120cmsquare with sunshine at least half the day
» A garden fork to aerate the soil
» 20 litres of potting mix
» 16 packets of seed
» Plant labels and permanent marker
» A measuring tape
» Plastic pipe and a shade cloth or mesh
» A watering can or a hose with a spray nozzle
» Liquid fertiliser (homemade or purchasedseaweed tea for example)
Step by step seed sowing
1. Measure an area 1.2m square of garden orraised bed.
2. Pull out any weeds.
3. Aerate the soil by lifting it gently with agarden fork.
4. Level the surface, breaking up any lumps.
5. Spread with a 1–2cm layer of potting mix(about half a 40 litre bag).
6. Mark out sixteen 30cm squares in thepotting mix.
7. Water well.
8. Make small indents (about 5mm deep) inwhich to sow the seeds in a grid pattern. Ineach square sow four, nine or 16 dependingon the plant.
9. Sow two or three seeds in each indent(four or five for chives and spring onions).
10. Label each square after sowing your seeds.
11. Water gently with a watering can with afine rose or hose with a misting nozzle.
12. Protect from the sun and pests with meshor shade cloth.
13. Keep moist (watch out for slugs and snails).
14. Thin germinated seedlings to one plant ineach position (except chives/spring onions).
15. Feed weekly with diluted liquid fertiliser.
16. Start picking your first individual saladleaves after about two months.