The best salad is created with a variety of flavours. Spinach, red leaf lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs create endless mixes for your meals and are packed with nutrients.
Here’s what to plant to start your homegrown salad garden.
Kale: High in fibre, iron, vitamin K, antioxidants; need we say anything else about why it is worth using kale in your salads? Kale grows best in well-drained soil enriched with compost. It is a cool-loving crop which means it will grow best during spring and fall.
Harvest when the leaves are about the size of your hand; pick a fistful of leaves. Take notice of the terminal bud (top centre of the plant) as this helps keep the plant productive.
Spinach: Another powerful superfood to add to your mix! The whole spinach plant can be harvested at once, but you can also pick off leaves one layer at a time. Avoid waiting too long until harvesting, as this will create bitterness.
Mesclun Mix: If you are looking to create a salad container, try planting this with kale and arugula. A pleasant mix of Pak Choi, Chinese mustard, spinach, shungiko, curled cress, mizuna and roquette is grown together.
Tomatoes: Big Beef, Cupid, Sweet Million; there are so many tomatoes on the market but what it comes down to is what you like. When it comes to salads, we recommend growing cherry tomatoes, Roma and Early Girl.
If you have a small growing space, you can grow cherry tomatoes in containers and use trellises to shape growth habitat. Tomatoes love sunlight but remember to water regularly for the best yield. Harvest when the tomato is firm and has uniform colour.
Cucumbers: Sunny, well-drained areas are best for cucumbers. As much as cucumbers love the summer heat, they need to be watered deeply and often, so they do not develop a bitter taste. If you want to minimize space, you can also give the vines support, so they grow upwards, not across.
Some of our favourite varieties include Pickling Little Leaf and Picolino which is a miniature version of English cucumbers with a sweet flavour and crisp texture. If you are looking for cucumbers to grow on the balcony or patio, you can grow Fanfare, English and Jackon Classic in containers.
Salads have become part of everyday cuisine and adding herbs is one of the quickest ways of adding flavour to the simplest of salads.
Herbs can be grown in the garden, or containers (inside or outside) as long as they receive a minimum of sunlight for five hours.
Basil: This herb is widely used in pestos and sauces, but you can add it to salads too! Some of our favourite varieties are small leaf basil (can also be planted beside tomatoes for added flavour in the plant), columnar basil, and if you desire a sweeter taste, try the Italian Large Leaf.
Dill: Can be used fresh, or added to salad dressings. If you are looking for a compact variety, Dwarf Fernleaf Dill is ideal.
Chives: Garlic chives will add a flavour combination of chives mixed with garlic, while chives will be full onion flavour.
When you’re ready to start digging, be sure to read our full growing vegetables guide.