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Grow Your Own Salad Bar

Nothing beats a good salad, especially when it comes fresh from your own garden. Add flavor to your basic home salad bar by growing some less traditional, yet easy to grow, salad greens.

grow your own salad bar

Mesclun Defined

Leafy greens provide more nutritive value than iceberg lettuce. Mesclun is a combination and contrast of flavors that will rival anything you could order in a fine restaurant.

The classic mesclun blend has several flavors that may seem like a mismatch, but they work perfectly together. Use the following recommendations for a simple mix:

  • Bitter — radicchio, curly endive
  • Peppery — watercress, arugula
  • Sharp/spicy — mustard
  • Mild — leaf lettuce, Bibb lettuce

You can also add fresh herbs if you like. Parsley, fennel, chives or basil are great additions.

Planting Salad Greens

Early spring is the time to get your salad greens started. If you don't feel like taking the Continental approach to your home salad bar, stick with the basics. Leaf lettuce and spinach are hard to beat.

Follow the same basic planting procedure for salad greens as you would any other vegetable. Here are a few general tips:

  • Plant before summer heat arrives.
  • Provide good soil, full sun and water.
  • Grow salad greens in raised beds for best results.
  • Plant the seeds carefully and follow the planting depth instructions precisely.
  • Cut salad leaves while they are very young. After about a month you can begin picking. Early harvesting means tender leaves and a bunch of new growth to enjoy again.