Grow your own salad
The freshest way to serve salad is to grow your own. This can be easier than you think, as just a few pots will supply enough greens for a small family.
When you visit the nearest Yates seed stand you’ll find a choice of leafy salad varieties, including the Salad Mix packet and the slightly more exotic Mesclun Mix. As well as traditional lettuce, the latter contains endive, chicory and other salad variations.
Vary the components
Other suggestions for the salad bowl include rocket. Yates now has the richly-flavoured Wild Rocket (or ‘Roquette’ as it’s called in upmarket restaurants) in its range, as well as the large, soft-leafed rocket. Easy-to-grow spring onions add an onion-like piquancy and there’s also the sweetly-flavoured, super-fast baby spinach. Young beetroot leaves make another popular salad ingredient.
Add some herbs
Herbs like basil and parsley can also be added to spice up a salad. They’re particularly good choices because their lush leaves bring a different flavour to a salad blend. And, for some extra colour variety, look for the purple basil that’s recently been added to the Yates seed range.
Other salad vegies
If you have the room – and a bit more patience – you might like to try other salad vegies such as tomatoes and capsicums. While these will grow in pots, they generally (apart from dwarf tomatoes) do better in the ground. But never plant them in the same place in successive years as tomatoes and their relatives can be troubled by a number of soil-borne diseases.
Start with a few pots filled with quality potting mix. Salad greens need plenty of water, so a potting mix like Yates Professional, with added soil wetters and water-storing crystals, will help keep them hydrated. And Yates Tuscan Edge pots, with a self-watering reservoir in the base, are very forgiving if you occasionally forget to water.
Sprinkle a layer of Yates Seed Raising Mix on top of the potting mix to provide the right base to get the seeds going. Then sow seeds according to the instructions on the pack. Don’t bury them too deeply: small seeds are usually sown at, or close to, the surface. Keep the seeds consistently moist while they’re germinating. The easiest way to do this with small seeds like lettuce is to mist spray with a hand atomiser. If you use a hose or watering can, make sure the water flow is gentle – otherwise your seeds will be flooded out of the pot!
For more inspiration on growing your own food in the garden this spring, don’t forget to watch The Party Garden on Friday evenings on The LifeStyle Channel.
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