Fresh, crisp, and clean. These words are the essence of March, be it the early-spring weather or the glorious things happening in the garden. It's time to plant some of the season's tastiest items and then take them to the table for everyday enjoyment.
Gourmet lettuce mixes are common in the produce section of the grocery store but often have steep prices. This spring, give your food budget a break, and plant your own blends of burgundy and chartreuse greens. Your homegrown efforts will make colorful, edible container plantings. These cool-weather salad fixings are easy to produce and last until the summer heat sets in.
Busy lifestyles beg for simple success, and growing salad greens fills the bill. Lettuce's adaptability to containers means you can have attractive pots near your kitchen, so harvesting is a convenient, relaxing mealtime routine. Purchase young lettuce transplants at garden centers and nurseries, choosing packs with just one selection or a mix of several types. Look for leaf lettuces with burgundy foliage, rounded and oak-shaped leaves, and brilliant shades of green. A veritable salad bowl assortment awaits you. Here's how to do it.
As the seedlings sprout and grow, the container will become thick with lettuce plants. When they reach 2 inches tall, remove half of them so the remaining ones will have sufficient room to mature. Grasp the tiny plants at their bases, gently pulling them from the soil until half are gone.
Thinning the lettuce also serves another purpose: Gently rinse the freshly pulled greens in cold water, and you'll have the makings of a first salad. Plant a progression of lettuce selections, such as the ones listed in the box above, to keep your salad bowl brimming with delicious greens as the weather warms.
Options abound in the world of salad greens. Here are some others that are easy to grow and do well in the same container with lettuce.