Grow a spring salad

 Jane Griffiths with a salad from her gardenSpring is here and it’s time to dust off those gardening gloves and stretch winter away by delving into a salad garden!

Nothing says ‘spring!’ as much as a freshly picked salad with baby lettuce, crunchy rocket, crisp radishes and fresh spring onions. If the idea of starting a fully-fledged vegetable garden is too daunting, then start with a simple salad garden. A salad garden is a worthwhile investment and is easy to grow and maintain.

Lettuce and rocket

The most practical way of growing these in a home vegetable garden, is the ‘cut and come again’ method, which provides multiple harvesting from one planting. Seeds are sown quite thickly and young individual leaves are plucked from a selection of plants. Not only are these tastier, each picking encourages the plant to produce more leaves. Mixed lettuce seed packets are ideal.

Lettuce 1Lettuce 3

Broadcast the seeds evenly in a block and just cover them with seedling soil. Every couple of weeks, sow another block of greens to ensure a continual harvest. Start harvesting once they reach about ten to fifteen centimetres. Snip off outer leaves with scissors, leaving the central growing point undamaged.

Rocket 1Rocket 2


Radishes are the easiest and quickest of all vegetables to grow. From sowing to eating can take as little as three weeks. They are easily sown from seed and benefit from being buried slightly below the surface: about 1–1.5 cm deep. This encourages them to grow fatter roots. Thin them out so they have space to grow into a decent size. Keep them well watered and harvest them as soon as they are big enough.

Radish 1Radish 2

Spring onions

One of the best choices from the onion family for a small home vegetable garden is the spring onion. It can be interplanted with many vegetables, is hardy and gives you a fresh supply of onion flavour throughout the year. Spring onion self-seeds very easily and does not become invasive. Direct seed them in amongst your lettuce plants. Thin them out and add the thinnings to salads, leaving the rest with enough space to develop thicker stems.

Spring Onion 1Spring Onion 2

Edible Flowers

Edible flowers“Earth laughs in flower.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

For me, a salad is not a salad unless it is topped with a colourful array of orange, pink, red and purple flowers. Roses, cornflowers, fuchsias, hibiscus and many more are edible. Many herbs’ flowers, such as purple chives, white and yellow rocket, bright red fruit sage and deep blue borage can be munched. These beautiful edible flowers in a vegetable garden also attract beneficial insects. Before you start eating flowers, make sure you have identified them correctly. When eating larger flowers, remove the anthers and pistils because they may be bitter.

Written by Jane Griffiths. Source: Adapted from the book: Jane’s Delicious Garden. Website

Photographs: Jane Griffiths and Keith Knowlton.


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