Save on Salad – Grow Your Own Greens

As the weather improves why not think about making the most of Mother Nature. Save money on your shopping bill with home grown salad leaves.

Most of the basic salad ingredients are very simple growers so don’t be afraid to get stuck in. 

Lettuce (plant all year)

Think of lettuce as the bulk of your bowl and don’t forget to try less traditional lettuces like Rocket or Bijou. 

  • Fill a seed tray or pot with compost and scatter ¼ tsp. of seeds
  • Cover with a small amount of compost, water and place in a sunny spot
  • Don’t let the plant dry out but water gently
  • You can start cutting the plants back when it reaches around 2-3in tall.

Beetroot (plant March – July, harvest June – October)

Easy to grow, straight into the garden or into a large pot. 

  • Sow seeds in pairs in a row 9 inches apart
  • Water using a fine-head watering can and wait.  Use your finger to test the soil – if it is dry up to the first crease of your finger then you’ll need to water
  • It is better to water well infrequently.

Potatoes (plant March – mid April, harvest June – August)  

  • Only keep the 4 biggest shoots on each potato – remove the rest
  • Plant at least 12in apart
  • When the first shoots reach 6in high almost bury them in soil to encourage the plant to produce more potatoes
  • Harvest in June/July once they begin to flower. 

French Beans (plant April – June, harvest June – October)

Easy to tend as they don’t need support.

  • Start them indoors to avoid problems with pests
  • Add two seeds to a small pot of compost, cover with compost and water
  • Once emerged remove the weakest seedling.  When roots start to emerge from the base of the pot you can plant them in the garden
  • Plant in a hole large enough for the root with the base of the stem at soil level. Press the soil back in around it and water.

Chillies (plant early Jan – May, harvest July onwards)

Perfect for adding a bit of heat to your summer dishes

  • Plant in multi-cell seed tray and lightly cover with compost
  • Water gently, then cover with cling film and place somewhere warm, such as an airing cupboard
  • Between 2-4 weeks when the plant starts growing move to a warm place out of direct sunlight.  Water from below and check daily that the surface is just moist
  • When they sprout a second set of leaves transfer to 7cm pots of moist compost and feed weekly with a liquid tomato feed
  • The gradually move the plants to bigger pots
  • When it is warm enough (usually mid May) you should be able to house the plants outside.

Tomatoes (plant late May, harvest August – October)

Simple to grow and produce generous amounts.

  • Don’t sow too many seeds, just a couple of plants will grow plenty
  • Plant 3 plants in either a grow bag and water, individual pots or directly into soil (keep them 18 inches apart)
  • Tie them to stakes for support
  • Pinch the small side shoots that do not produce any flowers

And what about my garden waste?

Don’t forget that if you decide to take on a garden project you’ll need to dispose of the waste as well and a HIPPOBAG can help.  Ideal for garden waste and soil the bags are a cost effective and hassle free option.  Simply buy a bag, fill it and it’s gone.

SEE MORE: Gardening safety tips from Dr Hilary Jones

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