17 March 2017

Time to Plant the Salad Bowl!

One of my favorite spring activities is to plant the Salad Bowl.  The Salad Bowl is a huge planter that I sow several kinds of lettuce, spinach, kale and swiss chard.  It is time to plant it and I am looking forward to eating fresh greens in a few weeks!

Tip #1  To speed up the process, I plant a few plants as well as seeds.  That way my crop is spread out and I get a longer run of greens.  Last year's crop was wonderful, as you can see in the picture below.

Tip # 2  Use good seeds!  This year we are planting using heirloom seeds that we purchased from the Missouri Botanical Gardens.  They have a wonderful seed selection and I am eager to see if we can tell the difference between the seeds we get at the Dollar Store and the seeds were purchased from MoBot.

Our selection includes:

Viroflay (spinach variety)
Mesclun (a mix of Buttercrunch, Black Seeded Simpson, Green Salad Bowl, Lolla Rossa, Red Oak Leaf and Rouge d'Hiver)
Salad Bowl Blend (says we can continue sowing and get a fall crop!)

Tip #3 We will plant 2 or so weeks before the last frost.  The soil does best when it is above 60 degrees. Sometimes we've guessed wrong about the last frost and still have had a good crop of greens. When someone tells me that they want to start gardening, this is what I tell them to start with! The seeds germinate quickly (usually within 5-10 days) and you can eat the ones that you thin out in a salad!

Here's what I use:

1 large garden pot (ours is about 18 inches in diameter)
filler for the bottom third, we used crushed plastic bottles and rock
good soil for the rest of the pot
seeds of your choice or you can use plants from the nursery

Tip #4  Move your pot where you want it.  Most salad greens like full morning sun and some shade in the afternoon. Place your filler in the pot.  If you want, lay a layer of newspaper on top.  Cover the newspaper with your soil.  Tamper the soil with a lid from a kettle.  Not too hard, but enough to get a firm layer of soil in the pot.  Plant your seeds to the depth recommended on the seed package. Lightly water with a spray bottle. Water with the spray bottle often, if you see the soil getting too dry, spray it down.  When the seedlings pop up, then you can spray it a little less often but still when the soil feels dry.  As the roots are established, you can start using the hose, on a spray setting.

Tip #5 When the little plants are about 4" high, you can start harvesting them, but I generally let mine grow to 6" and then I only take a few leaves at a time.  Once the garden is firmly established, you can take more and more!  I make salads, or when the greens are coming on heavily, I use them in my smoothies.  So good!

Let me know if you make a Salad Bowl Garden!  Can't wait to hear back from you.


  1. That is a neat idea. I always say that I can't have a garden because I have bad soil (I do), but this is definitely something I could do.

  2. What an awesome idea! I love gardening and will have to try this-I am all about easy and convenient gardening!

  3. What a great idea! We planted our first garden last year, and it was a bust. I have a black thumb...but I'm not giving up. I'm gonna give it another go this year!

  4. What a really clever idea in gardening! A salad bowl is easy to keep up and doesnt require a massive green thumb to keep them alive! And how fun to harvest and enjoy for a meal!

  5. I have been wanting to do a little garden. I am so not a green thumb, but I want to try my hand at it.

  6. Oh gosh this is so helpful!! I am doing a "garden" this year. It's on my patio and I've been trying to figure out how to get it started! I didn't know about the rock bottom and I'm so going to find similar seeds!

  7. I love this idea of planting a whole salad bowl! Love your pro tips too, very helpful information.

  8. My mother in law would enjoy this. She got more a green thumb then I do. xx

  9. I love this idea! We are always eating salads and it would be great to have what we needed on our patio! Thanks for the tips!

  10. Such a great idea to have fresh salad greens throughout the growing season. I love spinach and mesclun so I need to grow them too.

  11. This is such a pretty flower arrangement! I love all the green and these tips are perfect.

  12. These tips are really practical and a great way to start eating healthier in the future. I would love to be able to grow some of my own salad ingredients.

  13. Thanks for the great tips! It's almost time for us to start our garden. We are just waiting a few more weeks to be sure that the frost has stopped.

  14. Oh wow you gave such great instructions that I think I can actually try this myself. I would love not to have to buy my salad mixes at the grocery store!!

  15. I would love to have a garden one day - especially to plant greens like these! I admire that you do this so much. I can imagine the joy you feel when you see those little sprouts and then a full fledged garden - how fulfilling! I come from a family of gardeners and have yet to get my own hands in the soil and I'm yearning for the experience so I could learn and teach my own kids. This is awesome!

  16. What a neat idea! I love salads, but have never tried growing lettuce. I've only grown spinach. I would love to have fresh salads from my garden. Do you grow more then one salad bowl, or does one produces enough salads for few times a week?


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