wanted: salad garden ideas
i'm sure the resident experts have suggestions for a salad garden:
-which veggies are the most fool-proof? literally, what veggies can be grown even by idiots like me?
-which veggies grow most rapidly? that way we can eat what we grow sooner.
-which veggies offer the most yield? it'd be nice to get the most for the least effort.
-which veggies that can be grown at a small home garden offer the most nutrition?
thanks in advance and peace to all.
Wow, no replies yet? I love to plant a variety of lettuces...Start'em from seed right in the ground, and snip leaves (not waiting for the whole head to form) to make my own mixed green salads for dinner. Pole beans are also fun and easy, and lend to bunch of different recipes. Tomatoes are a must plant for me, but they do require a bit of extra tending. Cucumbers are easy and fun, and if you train them in a vertical wire fence, easy to deal with. Biggest yield? Depending what zone you live in, zucchini and yellow squash are huge producers, and grow fast, minimal effort, though do take alot of room...Not really a salad item either I guess. Don't forget a few herbs for your salad garden...maybe some oregano (it'll come back next year to) basil (I have best luck with it in containers), chive, parsely. Have fun in your dirt.
I think you are asking the wrong questions.
- a basic herb garden is a great suggestion. Learn what are perennial and what need to be planted fresh each year and which are biennial so you might get an early crop in the second year. You didn't mention your zone so that makes it kind of tough but nice basic mixed lettuce salad is even nicer with fresh herbs.
- zucchini is probably something that grows with the least effort unless it's one of those years when they don't. They also grow rapidly when you least want them too. I think they make a nice addition to a salad. Plus, if they get too big you can turn them into muffins and breads to go with a salad.
- I think everyone should grow tomatoes even if you only have room for a couple of pots. I like several kinds of cherry tomatoes. I kind do with only one standard red and one standard yellow. If you have fresh basil, a basil mayonnaise is wonderful over slices of fresh tomatoes. Don't forget basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
My idea of a salad includes many things served chopped or sliced at room temperature or chilled. It might be lettuce based or maybe chopped veggies mixed with couscous. Your gardening experience will effect you every year. Last year we grew more heirloom peppers but they weren't as prolific as the previous year. Still, a great crop of tastes you just can't get at the supermarket. Last year we found out we loved fresh beets more than we remembered. This year I'll plant more golden beets plus some unusual varieties. I thought broccoli was very rewarding thanks to a variety that puts out a good amount of side shoots. We love broccoli salad and it can handle cold weather.
I suggest reading Square Foot Gardening for idea about how to grow the most amount of food in a small space.
Try some salad mix seed packets. I have 3 kinds going and a row of winter red kale(turns sweet after a frost)a row of butter head lettuce. Radish, plant them then 2 weeks later plant another batch so you have a continues harvest. Sugar snap peas grow very easy directly sowed where you want them. Plant some just to harvest the sprouts also. Snow peas are also easy.
Very small zucchini are nice in a salad as well as the blossoms. Bunching onions if you like green onions are good producers. Burpee has a yellow/orange sweet pepper called "Big Daddy" that is great! Sweet as a bell pepper but is ready to eat much faster than bells. Yard long beans if you have a trellis are nice blanched in a salad.
One salad veg/herb I have great luck with is arugula (also sold as "rocket") - it is spicy with a bit of a peppery taste. When the weather heats up, the leaves get more spicy - and when the plant starts flowering you can leave one to re-seed itself.
With basil, if you keep harvesting it and pinching out any flowering blossoms that start, it will flourish and get bushier and bushier until your first real cool weather.
Zucchini will produce male and female flowers; the male flowers will fall off, and only the female flowers will give you the lovely vegetable. So don't worry too much if your first blossoms don't do what you expect!
I hope these added bits of info are helpful.
I agree about arugula. Also, I want to recommend some of the asian leafy vegetables. Mizuna is easy to grow and delicious. I also had pretty good luck with bok choy, napa cabbage and komatsuna (which is a delicious large leaved mustard), my only probems with these was that the bugs ate them and I was attempting to be organic so didn't want to use pesticides.