Planting “Cut and Come again Salad Greens”
Growing your own salad greens is easy, inexpensive, and you can start early in the season. You can sow your seeds outdoors starting now (or as early as April 1st), and can be ready for your first harvest in mid May.
By growing leaf lettuce, and other leafy greens, you can have a salad garden that is “cut and come again”. This means that you can harvest your crop with a pair of scissors and the plant will regenerate to give you a second or even third harvest.
You can also stagger your planting – sowing a succession of seeds a week or so apart – to give you a more steady, continual harvest. To learn more about salad greens, visit the University of Maryland’s extension website. They have two terrific videos that explore the basics of growing salad greens: http://growit.umd.edu/SaladTablesandSaladBoxes/index.cfm
Try some unique seed varieties beyond the lettuces you are used to, and add some real interest to your salads. Try things like: kale, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens, mizuna, arugula, sorrel, chard, broccoli raab, and many more. Many of these seeds come in pre-mixed seed packets, and can sometimes be found under the name mesclun mix.
You can continue planting seeds throughout the season, but salad greens typically do not like the heat and will grow poorly or try to go to seed during the hottest parts of our summer. If you grow your greens in a container, you can try moving it to a shadier, cooler spot in July and August, and then move it back into full sun in the cooler weather of the fall