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Grow your own salad leaf mix

growing salad in boxes

Imagine being able to pick your own fresh salad - fresh, unchlorinated, tasty leaves - within 8 weeks. Without a garden, without masses of space, without great investment.

Salad leaves are one of the simplest things to grow, they are undemanding, expensive to buy and crop for ages - but like many simple things we seem to be put off by how easy it looks, as though there was a catch somewhere.

This is my 4 step process.

1. Find a suitable container/patch of ground.

Your container should be at least 10 cm deep, it should have holes in the base of drainage - things I have used successfully in the past are polystyrene fish boxes, mushroom boxes, crates (line with plastic and make holes through the plastic), compost bags (turn on side, cut the front of the bag completely off and use a skewer to pierce through the compost right through the plastic so there are drainage holes) as well as more conventional decorative pots.

Fill your container with peat free compost and water it well, leaving to drain.

If you have a garden, your ground should be free of weeds and raked so that the soil resembles crumble topping.

2. Choose and sow your seeds.

The fastest and tastiest baby leaves are mibuna, mizuna, rocket, mustards, spinach, and salad bowl type lettuces - these are all plants that are happy for you to pick a few leaves at a time, they will keep growing, giving you a much better harvest than if you were picking the whole plant at once.

Pour a bit of seed into the palm of your hand, each of those seeds is a plant. Each seed will grow into a plant that is eventually 8-10 cm square when fully mature. The most common mistake people make is sowing seeds too generously - because the correct spacing looks really miserly. What then happens is that too many seeds germinate, they get crowded and the plants grow really weakly. It is also a waste of seeds and money.

Instead of scattering the seed, draw lines with your finger 5 cm apart on the surface of the compost/soil. Then carefully place a single seed every 3 cm along these lines. This gives you enough plants to be picking from without them getting crowded.

Carefully cover the seeds with a fine layer of compost/soil.

Keep gently watered.

3. Growing and harvesting.

Salad seeds tend to germinate in 4-10 days. They can be harvested when each plant has 8 leaves (just take 1-2 leaves from each plant at this point, you always want to leave at least 3/4 of the plant to grow on).

Make sure you keep them well watered as salad leaves are mainly water. It is also best to pick at the beginning or end of the day when the leaves are cooler and crisper.

If the lettuce begins to grow a flowering stalk it is finished - the leaves will turn bitter - so remove from your container.

Mibuna, mizuna, rocket and mustard all continue to taste good when in flower, and the flowers themselves are edible too adding a little punch to salads.

4. The main secret to growing salad

Keep sowing every 2-3 weeks - that is it.

Most people get very enthusiastic at the beginning of the season, but then forget to sow any more crops. If you sow a small amount of salad seeds every 2-3 weeks from April - September (September sown crops need some protection in the northern half of the UK) you can have freshly grown salad leaves for most of the year.

When you sow your first crop mark your calendar 2 weeks ahead as a reminder to sow some more.

packets of salad

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Comments: 1 (Add)

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Sarah

I love this Jane. Thank you. When you say ‘every 2 weeks, sow more seeds’ do you mean in a different container, or adding to your current container? Question might sound a little silly, but I don’t have a very green thumb. Keep trying though :)

Snapdragon social

It is my birthday today and I intend to spend most of the day in the garden. 
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There are a couple of orders to send out and some seedlings to drop off, but then it will just be me and this little menace pottering around the vegetable patch and putting seedlings in the ground (and hopefully not digging them up).
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Then I will be away from the main Instagram feed for a couple of weeks. 
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I will still pop up from time to time in the Studio Club stories feed, but otherwise I'll be on a social media break.

📷 @katgoldin 

#momentslikethese
#the_gentle_manifesto
#daysofsmallthings
#natureandnourish
#aseasonalway
#daysofsimpleandslow
#ournaturedays
#aquietmoment
#pocketsofslow
#thesweetlifeunscripted
#folkandstory
#slowliving #mindfulgardening
My elder daughter Zoë asked for a stripy jumper knitted with wool dyed from the garden.
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These are the finished skeins - currently curing in the studio - dyed with sweet cicely, dock, bay, birch and nettle.
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In a month they will be ready to knit with.
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The slowest of slow fashion.

#slowstitching #slowfashion #naturaldyeing #foragedcolour #foragedcolor #naturaldyersofinstagram #sustainablemaking #sustainablecraft #plantdyedyarn #plantdyes
I find that, unless I have a particular time set aside for doing something I often simply don’t get around to it.

Even when that thing takes half an hour, even when I really want to do it. 

So this weekend, in the Studio Club, we set aside some time to start making a balm from daisies. 
I videoed myself as I went along and was there to answer questions. 

It made me realise that it’s actually quite difficult to see from the outside all the things that go on in the Club week to week. 

So I’ve decided to send an extra email every month , just to the people on the waiting list, giving a access to something that is usually members only. 

If you’ve been wondering whether the Studio Club is for you, you can join the waiting list via my profile. 

The next opening is in August. 

#sustainablemaking #slowliving #seasonalhome #daisybalm #herbalife #startwhereyouare #
Kat Goldin came round for a cup of tea and a natter last week - and took this photo of me for the next edition of A Seasonal Way.
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I'm posting it today because it shows off the dress that I am inordinately proud of having knitted! 

The bodice is the Deren cardigan by @jacquelinecieslak and the skirt just flares out from that into a mid calf twirl. 
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My pride is in the keeping going with the knitting . . . and in eventually using up some of the cones of wool silk yarn that I bought from a mill closure in 1984.

📷 @katgoldin 

#derensweater #derenpullover #jacquelineceislak #embodycapsulecollection #memademay2022 #memademay #memademayplus #memade2022 #sustainablefashion #seasonalhome
A week in dyes - recycled cotton threads from the dye pots, sorted, labelled and curing in the Studio.
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From left to right
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Sweet Cicely and iron
Bloody dock
Bay and bloody dock
Bay and iron
Sweet Cicely and bloody dock,
Sweet Cicely

This year I’m exploring layering up colours and creating depth and also trying to work out how the base effects colour. 

#botanicaldye #alchemy #growyourowncolour #gameoftones #plantdyed #naturallydyedwool #plantdyersofinstagram #craftwithconscience
#shadesofnature #extractedfromnature #inspiredbynaturesbeauty
#slowstitching #sustainablemaking #foragedcolour
I picked this Black hero tulip when it fell down in the wind and put it so the evening light could shine through the petals - for unlit it looks a little undefined, a little absent, as many dark flowers do.
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Then as I took this photo it reminded me of the art nouveau drawings of Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh - the willowy bend, the swoop of the curved base, the full head.
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Now I find myself speaking to it as I pass.

#howihueit #simpleandstill #capturequiet #beautyyouseek #calm_collected #aseasonalway #aseasonalshift #cornersofmyworld #slowlived #slowandsimpledays #quietchaotics #tulipblackhero #windowsillwednesday #ihaveathingwithwindows #ofsimplethings #beautyinsimplicity #floralstories #allthingsbotanical #underthefloralspell #slowfloralstyle #petalsandprops #nestandflourish #livethelittlethings #thehappynow #ihavethisthingwithflowers #moodforfloral #cornersofmyhome #aseasonalway #slowlivingforlife #aflowerfilledlife
It is warm enough to have the doors to the dye deck open again - this week there are dock, sweet cicely, bay and nettle in the dye pots, a shuffling around as they steep and simmer.
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Today I shall be writing up my initial results for dyeing with bloody dock (rumex sanguineus) for a Studio Club blog. 

I love having that space to put up progress reports - and the report is  very much in progress as the colours on wool and cotton were radically different - so members can follow along with my experiments.
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Doors close to the Studio Club tomorrow - and the next intake of new members will be in August. If you fancy a summer of seasonal inspiration and slow living then you can find out more and join at www.snapdragonlife.com

📷 @katgoldin 

#mystudio #simpleandstill #capturequiet #beautyyouseek #calm_collected #aseasonalway #aseasonalshift #cornersofmyworld #slowlived #slowandsimpledays #quietchaotics #ofsimplethings #beautyinsimplicity #allthingsbotanical #mindfulsewing #foragedcolour #nestandflourish #livethelittlethings #thehappynow  #plantdyersofinstagram #aseasonalway #slowlivingforlife
I wrote a letter to the new Studio Club members yesterday. 

It was all about Euan’s Granny, and what she said to me when I was a stressed thirty year old. 

It was about what I thought she meant at the time and what I realise she meant now. (The letter actually goes out tomorrow morning so don’t worry if you haven’t got it 😂)

Then I took this photo of tulips at the ends of the vegetable beds and I remembered that at the time I was receiving the grandmotherly advice was also the year that I grew striped tulips for the first time. It was in my back garden in Old Kilpatrick and I took a bunch through for her. 

When we look back there is often such rhythm to our lives. 

#growyourownflowers #slowliving #cornersofmygarden #slowflowers #aseasonalway
snapdragon.life
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About Snapdragon Life

In the Studio Club I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

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