How to Grow Salad Greens in a Raised Bed
Salads have never interested me. I’m more of a carbs on carbs kind of gal. And then everything changed when I started growing my own greens! I tell ya - home growing these vegetables really gets me. Now I have a collection of salads that I make and crave. Let me tell you, nothing makes me more proud than when company compliments a salad. No one really likes salad, so when they like salad, it’s a big deal.
Fall is the perfect time to grow salad greens and enjoy through the winter. My favorite greens to grow in a raised bed are kale, romaine, butter lettuce, spinach, and arugula. It’s a great variety of nutritious salad greens that are also versatile, plus they’re easy to grow.
Here are some tips for growing salad greens in a raised bed:
Most of these leafy greens can be bought as seedlings from a nursery, but you can also start them from seed inside. I started my lettuce inside this year by planting seeds into a six pack container and setting them on a windowsill that gets about six hours of light.
Before you plant your greens, prepare your soil. My raised beds tend to get slugs, aphids, and white grubs. To deter these and prevent them, I put diatomaceous earth into my soil and let the soil soak that up for a day. For a cheaper DIY option, you can dry and crush egg shells, which will do the same thing. My friend Elen, from Boston Seedlings has a great post about this here.
Once you have your soil ready and your seedlings (whether purchased or grown), place them into your raised bed about six to 12 inches apart on all sides. Space is always good in a garden, but when small space gardening, I like to push it. I space my salad greens about nine inches apart typically.
I also like to throw a little bit of fertilizer in with my plants to help give them a boost. Just about a teaspoon is all you need. Put it in the bottom of the hole you create, which should be about as deep as the roots of your plant.
When planning when to plant your salad greens, I recommend an evening, after any sun exposure or heat has passed. Be sure to water the soil before and after you plant your seedlings, that way they get to soak up the water all night and into the next day.
Now that your salad greens are in the garden, plan on watering about every other day. If you see the lettuce edges start to wilt or flop, they need more water. Skip days when there’s a heavy dew or rain.
For harvesting your salad greens, work from the outside in. If you can get a few outer leaves from each plant, it will continue to produce all season and you can harvest daily. If you cut the entire head of lettuce, that too will regenerate but it will take about ten days to two weeks to get full again.
There you have it! Leafy greens are some of the easiest veggies to grow in a raised bed, and can give you delicious salads over and over again. Now the question becomes, what do we make with them? If you need some inspo, here are my favorite Fall salads.