It always amazes me just how much money I can spend on organic salad at the store. Add in a lunch salad everyday and a green smoothie in the morning and you can watch your food budget soar. Lettuce, arugula, and micro greens can easily be grown at home. These work on a patio or balcony if you don’t have a yard. Even if you do have a yard, try planting some in containers to experiment with.
Growing your own lettuce is easy and inexpensive. All you need is some lettuce seeds, organic potting soil, and a container. Since lettuce doesn’t get huge root balls you can use a shallow container. My favorite is a simple plastic one you can buy at any home improvement store. It’s round, about 6 inches deep and almost looks like a salad bowl by itself.
While seeds may seem expensive, usually a packet of mesclun can plant many containers. Or you can choose to throw in some seeds every couple of days to space out your harvests. Arugula is easy to grow and is good in a salad, pasta sauce, even in soups. Micro greens are still trendy in restaurants, but you can grow these baby greens for a fraction of the cost. All you have to do is pick them while they are still very small. That’s perfect for an impatient gardener. Swiss chard is another green that’s easily grown. It has a long growing season. The small baby leaves are good in salads too.
Having the proper soil is very important. It’s how your little plants get their nutrition. You don’t want to buy top soil because it will not have the nutrients you need. Garden soil is not made to be in containers and tends to dry out faster than potting soil. I love the fact you can get organic potting soil, so you can grow your own organic greens.
If you are in a basement apartment you may think growing veggies is hopeless. But even those of you in windowless homes can purchase an Aerogarden to grow salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs in. If you go to the Aerogarden outlet you can usually pick one up for around fifty dollars. They usually come with an herb kit, but go ahead and splurge on a salad garden kit while you’re at it. It’s super easy to take care of since the light is on a timer, all you have to do is add nutrients and water when it alerts you. It’s the perfect lazy person’s garden – no digging, no dirt, and no mess.
No matter how you decide to grow your salad, make sure to spruce it up so you can tempt all the veggie haters in your household. I toss mine in lemon and olive oil with fresh herbs. Then I serve it on a unique square dinnerware plate and top it with goat cheese and toasted almond slivers. Even my veggie hater asks for seconds!