Salad Leaves

Mar / Apr, May / Jun, Jul / Aug
May / Jun, Jul / Aug, Sep / Oct
Indoors | Outdoors

Why Grow It

Salad leaves are one of the most popular veg to grow in your garden. Leaf greens are always at their tastiest when just harvested from the ground, so you can enjoy salad leaves at their peak if you grow at home rather than buying from a local supermarket. Salad leaves come in a huge variety, from classic rocket to oriental greens, such as mizuna and oriental mustard. They are also some of the easiest veg to grow, so are an ideal veg for children to grow.

  • Salad leaves can be sown outside from April to August and in a polytunnel or glasshouse from January to October.
  • For best results we recommend sowing direct into the soil – they can be sown in modules and transplanted, but this often results in them flowering (bolting).
  • Sow the seed thinly 1cm deep in rows 15cm apart.
  • You will need to sow regularly if you want a continuous supply of salad – every 2 or 3 weeks – as they often bolt after 2 or 3 harvests.
  • If you have decided to transplant, plant every 10cm in rows 15cm apart.
  • Leaf salads grow quickly and can be ready for cutting in as little as three weeks.
  • Don’t allow the soil to dry out as this will encourage bolting.
  • Weed when the plants are small as you don’t want weeds in your cut salads.
  • You can harvest the leaves as soon as they are big enough to eat.
  • Cut with scissors at around 5cm above soil level – they will grow back in as little as a week.
  • Cut until they bolt – they can still be eaten at this stage though they might be a bit tough and strong tasting.
  • Generally, for spring and early summer sowings you get 2 or 3 cuts before they bolt; later summer sowings can last over the winter.
  • Once they have bolted pull them out of the ground.
  • Spring and summer sowings are prone to attack from flea beetles, which leave tiny holes in the leaves. If leaves are kept moist this discourages the beetles. Alternatively you can cover with fleece or insect net.
  • Slugs can be a problem so keep the area clean, and trap or hand pick the slugs.