Grow Your Own Gourmet Salad Greens

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The past couple of years, round about April, I’ve thrown romaine lettuce seeds into a couple of containers on the back porch. With just a couple of bags of potting soil and a little regular watering, those containers yielded dozens of tasty salads. This year I kicked it up a notch and planted a variety of lettuce varieties. Wouldn’t you know, a salad with five or six types of greens doesn’t just look and sound fancy, it’s delicious, especially when there’s a spicy variety or two in the mix.

There are many types of spicy greens, but so far I’ve only tried two types of mustard and arugula. Growing a delicious salad is possible, even with limited space. All you need is a container or two, some dirt and a variety of seeds.

Two spicy greens to try are mustard and arugula. Mustard grows very quickly (matures in 35 to 45 days) and, like most salad greens, it does just fine in a container. Mustard bolts quickly so you’ll want to either succession plant a bit every couple of weeks or make sure to keep on top of your plants by not letting them flower. A few mustard leaves go a long way in a salad. They are quite spicy and the taste is, well, a lot like the yellow mustard in our refrigerator.

Like mustard, arugula grows very quickly. Again, a little goes a long way. The leaves are quite spicy and peppery. It adds a lot of flavor to salads and takes well to containers. Arugula doesn’t necessarily bolt quickly, so you can have a nice, long harvest.

To go with the spicy greens you could try growing a few different lettuce varieties. I put in Bibb, Romaine, Green Leaf and Red Leaf this year. Not only do we have colorful, diverse salads, by having so many different varieties we only have to pick a little from each kind for a salad. This allows the plants to rebound. They have produced continually throughout the spring/early summer.

Next year I’d like to add nasturtiums and cress. I’ve heard they grow quickly and offer a nice addition to a salad. Greens seeds are inexpensive and, even if all you have is a porch or a deck, you can give them a try in containers. Once you’ve had your own fresh-picked salad you will never buy those packaged salads again!