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Our third Global Gardens Grow Your Own workshop at Global Gardens Project was all about growing salad through the year. It was led by Sophie Bolton, professional salad grower and founder of Cardiff Salad Garden CIC. We covered several topics essential for growing salad through the year: crop planning, seed sowing, planting out and harvesting.

Crop Planning

Sophie explained how first sowings of spring salads can be made indoors in March and planted outside once the risk of frost has passed. They can then be sown and translplanted outside throughout summer until September. From early September onwards, sow and transplant salads under cover for late autumn, early winter and early spring salads. For a continuous supply of salad throughout the year, re-sow every 3-4 weeks and ideally create an indoor or covered area for growing salad in the winter.

Seed Sowing

The optimum temperature for salad to germinate is around 15 degrees C. However, salad can germinate in temperatures as low as 2 degrees C. Above 20 degrees C, germination levels will deteriorate. Bear this in mind when choosing where and when to sow and nurture your salad seedlings!

Sophie encouraged us to sow and grow around 50% more than we need, to take into account potential loss to pests. This isn't as high as the old saying which encourages you to sow four times as much seed as you intend to grow "one for the rook, one for the crow, one to die, and one to grow." But that was a saying applied when broadcasting iseed in the field. When sowing into modules, you can have a bit more precision and hopefully a bit more protection from pests.

We discussed the benefits of using organically produced, open pollinated seeds for healthy greens throughout the year. Open pollinated varieties are often more suited to small-scale and home garden scale growing environments and you can save seed from them. Recommended seed suppliers in the UK include:


Sophie's favourite salads

Sophie highlighted some of her favourite salad varieties:

  1. Loose leaf varieties, especially Oak leaf lettuce and Endive

  2. Claytonia, otherwise known as Winter purslane

  3. Wild and cultivated Rocket

  4. Mustards - including Giant Red, Green in the Snow,

  5. Purple Frills, Golden streaks, Ruby streaks

  6. Baby chard and Spinach

  7. Mitzuna and Mibuna

  8. Herbs including Parsley, Chervil, Mint, Celery Leaf

Planting Out

We then planted out some salads in our new Global Gardens raised beds - including a range of loose leaf lettuce, Mustards and Claytonia. We planted around 15 cm apart in a zig-zag planting format.

Pests, Disease and Protection from the Elements

We discussed different approaches to pest and disease management in the garden once you have planted your salads and greens out. Fleecing or netting salads can reduce damage from birds and provide extra insulation in the early and late seasons. Since the workshop was hosted in late April and there was a risk of some low night time temperatures, we covered the seedlings after planting out. Sophie also recommended planting 'sacrificial' plants at the end of each bed since they may be more likely to be attacked by slugs. At Global Gardens we also put put beer traps if we feel a crop is particularly vulnerable to slug damage.

Harvesting: Cut and Come Again

Most salads re-grow from a growing tip at the heart of the plant. Sophie explained how generally cutting above the growing tip will enable the salad to regrow. This is known as a "cut and come again" approach.

Salad All-year Round

To end the workshop, Sophie shared a top tip about keeping salad all year round. Make sure you always have:

  1. One bed of salad just going to seed or going over.

  2. One bed of salad just planted out.

  3. One bed of salad ready to harvest.

This will keep you well stocked with salad throughout the year! That's one to remember for greens through the year!

With thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales for supporting this workshop. To find out more about forthcoming Grow Your Own workshops, check out our eventbrite page.


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