You know what it’s like when you’re ordering a salad in a restaurant and the waiter is getting incredibly late and all you can do with the hunger in your stomach is joke with your friends and say “I guess the chef is actually planting the vegetables right now and is waiting for them to grow, that is why it’s taking so long”. You wish! Really, you should wish for that because there is nothing tastier and healthier than eating a salad made of freshly harvested vegetables. This is possible without such great effort, not to mention the satisfaction of watching your produce grow.
No matter what your garden space, it’s possible to make your own fresh salads from your very own green fingers. If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a conservatory attached and you invest in a heating system for that, you could start with some early seeds for these plants even in January. But don’t get discouraged even if you live in a flat, you can easily utilise free space on your window sills, still being able to grow the main elements of your salad.
According to most farmers’ statements, it seems that this is the easiest vegetable that you can grow for a salad. It has no problem with the cool UK weather, although it would be safer to grow lettuce indoors and start the seeding in January or February. In 2-3 months you can already start harvesting well-grown lettuce. You’ll need a lot of lettuce in your salad, so don’t forget to put in some more seeds every week afterwards, in order to have salad all the time during spring, summer or autumn.
They really hate the cold UK winters, as they are not frost hardy. So ideally, keep them in a greenhouse, conservatory or inside on window sills, and cover up the pot in order to keep the seeds warm. If you are growing cucumbers in conservatories, start seeding in February. If you are trying this experiment in an outside environment, make sure the weather is getting warmer and the frost is over. Did you know that cucumbers contain 96% water? In order to obtain this truly amazing vegetable, you should water it frequently. And another amazing fact is that cucumbers grow from seeds to sometimes enormous plants in just days. Efficient and refreshing!
Especially if you have a pot on your window sill, it is recommended that you buy seeds for baby vegetables. So cherry tomatoes would be ideal. Growing conditions don’t generally differ among the varieties of tomatoes. Although it may be successful in growing some lettuce and cucumbers outside in cold and windy London, tomatoes are more delicate vegetable. In order to offer them a pleasant growing period, you should provide warm temperatures ranging between 20-30°C (68-86°F). The truth is that a greenhouse or heated conservatory would be ideal for container-grown tomatoes. You can start the seeding in late winter or during spring and you’ll probably have some crops in 3 months.
If you are the lucky owner of an orangery, take a lemon or even an orange if you have more special tastes, and squeeze it over the salad. If you buy a 2-3 years old little orange tree, fill its pot with some slightly acidic soil. Then position your baby tree in the southern part of the orangery in order for it to get the most sunlight possible. Give it water every day and, fingers crossed, in 1 year you won’t have to buy oranges from the market anymore!