• Toni Kenyon

How to grow a salad garden in a tiny space

Have you ever wanted to grow your own healthy food, but you didn’t think you had the time or the space?

Well, guess what? You don’t need much time or space.

Let me show you how in less than ten minutes a day--yes you heard me--less time than it takes to walk the supermarket salad aisle--you can have all the healthy food at your fingertips that you need.

I remember when I was living in a third floor apartment with my husband how much I missed having a large vegetable garden at my disposal. Instead, we had a large deck space facing north. North is the preferred direction to face when growing plants in New Zealand because we’re in the southern hemisphere.

My father made me a couple of small planter boxes and we purchased a half wine barrel--which we later used for a small fruit tree--but that’s another post.

Determined that I wouldn’t miss out on having fresh, home grown lettuce leaves for my evening meal, I set about planting small plug seedlings from the local garden centre.

I also purchased a bag of good container mix (which contains lots of slow release fertilizer) and a bag of water retaining crystals. The crystals were extremely useful, because the deck had a glass front, so the chances of the planter boxes drying out was much higher due to the intensification of the sun’s heat through the glass. Some summer afternoons, the temperature on the deck could get as high as 36 degrees C (that’s 96.8 degrees F). Not the ideal situation for lettuce, because high heat can encourage them to bolt quickly to seed. Constant and intensive picking of outer leaves can slow the bolting process--so pick little and often. I prefer the loose leaf varieties of lettuce for this very reason--heading lettuce are not so good for tiny gardens.

Once I’d placed the various lettuce varieties in the planter boxes in a pretty and appealing pattern, I popped some onion seedlings in between--spring onions are also great in a salad--and then I scattered some radish seeds in the remaining space.

Before we knew it, we had a veritable vegetable patch growing along the front of the deck. It only took a couple of weeks for us to be picking enough salad leaves to make a decent salad to go with our dinner.

I’ve also grown tomato plants, fruit and many herbs on the deck--but I’ll cover that information in another post.

My husband learned how easy and simple it was for us to supplement our meals with food that we’d grown ourselves, fresh from our deck.

I hope that you’ll be inspired to grow some salad greens in your small space. Or if you have, why don’t you share your experiences.

I had a dog, Cinnamon, who loved to dig in the large pots on the deck. This is not conducive to growing fruit and vegetables--as the results here show--but when we eventually moved to a house, she was excellent at digging up difficult weeds!

Do you have any difficult animal stories you want to share?

#Organic #Lettuce #Growingvegetables


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