Free greens from now until winter and beyond: A timetable of sorts.
I'm a world away from being self sufficient, but I am constantly looking for ways to cut my food budget and increase the nutrient density of our meals. Obviously, like any sane person on this precious planet, I also want to cut out plastic, and I've managed to do this pretty effectively when it comes to grains, meat and fish, by switching over to a bulk store, butcher and fishmonger respectively. This means that a lot of the plastic I'm still getting comes from the bagged salad I'm receiving in my veg box and buying from the supermarket. I thought I would share the plan I'm plotting, to keep my family in greens for the majority of the year, starting right now. Here it is:
Peashoots in a pot: I will be sowing a wide, shallow pot of peas every two weeks indoors, and will keep this going indefinitely, moving the pots outside when the weather is warm enough. These shoots are delicious and even children love them. You can get more detailed instructions on how to sow them in the link above.
Microgreens in a pot: Pretty much the same deal as for pea shoots, I'll be doing a fortnightly sowing of micro greens in two wide, shallow pots or plastic seed trays. Again, click the link in the title for more detailed instructions on how to sow micro greens.
Hearted lettuce: On the advice of Alex Mitchell, I'm going to have my first stab at hearted lettuce with 'Webb's Wonderful' which I'll be sowing individually in jiffy 7's, perhaps in a group of four, and pot on into a 20-30cm pot. They are supposed to heart up and be ready in eight weeks, and each one will yield an entire family salad. We eat two to three family salads a week (well, yes, I eat most of it, so yeah, they're not really 'family salads are they' but still, I reckon I'll want two crunchy lettuces a week to feed my salad addiction). That means sowing four or five seeds every fortnight to keep things ticking over. I've already begun this escapade indoors and then take it outside in May when I know there won't be any more frosts.
April and beyond:
Cut and come again leaves: I'll be sowing a very large wide container on my terrace with Johnson's Ovation mixed leaves, recommended to me by Alex Mitchell. These I'll be thinning to 5cm apart and then picking off single leaves as and when I want salad, and I'll be sowing a new pot's worth every fortnight all the way through to early autumn.
I'm hoping that with these four seed packets I'll be able to stop using bagged salad entirely. I'll be keeping a tally of the cost of seed, compost and time spent also, because it interests me, and might also interest you too. I'll also try and chronicle in all on Instagram stories (because if it's not storied then it hasn't happened right?) and if you have any suggestions for me on this particular thing, then do get in touch - I'd love to know your thoughts.