How to plant salads ? Which varieties ?

It is possible to produce your salad independently so as to meet your needs throughout the year. To do this, it is essential to respect the planting calendar. Growing this essential food yourself is very pleasant because it allows you to vary the pleasures, to meet the tastes of all family members while ensuring their health. Here are some basic tips for successful cultivation as well as a brief overview of the varieties of lettuce to plant month by month.

Salads in the vegetable garden: mistakes to avoid

Here are some blunders that it is better not to commit to limit the work in the garden and produce beautiful salads season after season.

Mistake n°1: tightening your seedlings too much

This error obliges the gardener to the drudgery of thinning which consists of removing the weakest seedlings because they have run out of space to keep only the most vigorous ones.

It is highly preferable to sow clear, that is to say to space out the lettuce seeds sufficiently. To simplify the task and obtain a better seed homogeneity, we start by mixing the seeds with semolina, coffee grounds or quite simply a little sand if we have some on hand. In this way, we are more likely to sow less. Then we use a seeder which facilitates the establishment of seeds.

Mistake n°2: sow seeds early

There is no point in running… Lettuce, for example, tends to spin, that is to say that the stems grow too much. The reason is the lack of brightness. And that’s what happens when you want to sow your salads too early. This leads to loss and often forces you to start sowing again.

Lettuces need to be sown at the right time so that the stalks don’t have to reach for the light by stretching skyward.

Mistake n°3: sow everything on the same day

In this way, there is a strong risk that you will not be able to consume all the fruits of your labor since the salads are finally ready to be harvested at the same time.

In order not to waste time, money or water, experienced gardeners know it well: lettuce sowing should be staggered for about 15 to 18 days. In this way, the harvests will provide for the day-to-day needs of the family.

Mistake n°4: neglecting watering

Lack of water promotes lettuce rise to seeds.

Make sure to water your salads regularly so that the soil always stays fresh. Note that it is also essential to cultivate only the seasonal varieties since they will not be as resistant at another time of the year. And to avoid this early “bolting”, it is just as essential to protect your plants against scorching temperatures.

Mistake #5: Waiting for your salads to be huge to harvest them

Waiting too long to harvest is a rookie mistake that forces you to eat salads that aren’t as good as you thought.

To feast, you have to harvest before the end of the cycle. If it is too late, the lettuce begins to go to seed, its leaves harden and, depending on the variety, can even become bitter.

Grow your salads

The gardener has a wide choice in terms of lettuces to grow in the garden, such as:

  • Chicory,
  • Batavia,
  • Romaine,
  • Chewed up,
  • Radicchio,
  • Oak Leaf
  • Sucrine,
  • curly,
  • Cresson,
  • Endives,
  • Rocket…

To benefit from a good harvest, we plant our lettuces when the weather conditions allow it, taking into account the needs of each variety.

Sow your salads

Lettuce seeds need warmth, soil very loose, without any weeds or roots. It is necessary to sow clearly so that the very fine seeds do not end up in clumps.

Pick up your salads

From autumn we prepare the ground, where we intend to grow lettuces. It is therefore necessary to dig and add ripe manure or one more decomposed compost in order to have a very fertile land when the time comes. It is then necessary to pass the rake to refine the soil which must finally be packed.

After sowing, when seedlings have formed some real leaves, it’s time to move on to transplanting. It is preferable to transplant only the most vigorous young plants which are stockier than the others. They are taken with care.

Here is the planting method to follow, and which is the same for transplanting salads purchased in buckets.

  • Dig a flared hole using a dibble.
  • Install one plant per hole without damaging the roots which are fragile. It is imperative to ensure that the collet don’t be not buried but is located above ground level, which guarantees good crop success.
  • Fill with amended soil in the fall.
  • Tamp.
  • Water copiously using the watering can fitted with its head.

Install immediately after planting protections makeshift (crates, plastic pots as cloches, even mini greenhouses, frames, tunnels if it is still chilly, etc.) to protect the plants from birds but also from direct sunlight. Spread a thin layer of wood ash all around the lettuce square so that snails and slugs (lovers of tender leaves) do not eat the seedlings.

Cultivating varieties for mesclun

Mesclun lovers must cultivate together at least five varieties of vegetable plants which will be ready to harvest at the same time when the young plants have between 3 and 5 leaves. They will then be prepared in a salad. For those who don’t know, mesclun refers to this type of mixture but is in no way the name of a specific variety of salad!

The mesclun consists for example:

  • Spinach,
  • Lettuce,
  • arugula,
  • chicory,
  • nasturtium leaves,
  • Dill sprouts,
  • chard sprouts,
  • From beet sprouts…

Nothing prevents to associate some edible flowers such as nasturtium flowers and chive flowers. Everyone can therefore create their own mesclun to vary the pleasures and enjoy original salads.

For those who really need inspiration, there are packets of mesclun seeds that it is enough to sow by scrupulously respecting the indications carried on the packaging.

Spreading your seedlings and planting lettuces

Every month or so, the gardener has tasks to perform to live off their crops. With regard to his culture of salads, he must note the appointments not to be missed if he wants to eat them throughout the year or almost. Here are some examples.

  • From early February until mid-April : sowing of spring lettuce in a greenhouse then transplanting 30 days later in place, for a harvest taking place between May 15 and June 20.
  • From the beginning of April until the end of May : sowing of summer lettuce which is harvested from mid-June until the first days of September,
  • In July : sowing of autumn lettuce, to be harvested from the beginning of September until the end of October.
  • Between the beginning of July until mid-Augustchicory sowing to be harvested from October.

January is the month that can be used to plan all lettuce plantings over the months because at this time of the beginning of the year, vegetative rest is legion and not very conducive to harvests.

Finally, some care is necessary, such as weaving,regular watering without wetting the leaves, the hoeing between two waterings, even the laying of a mulching to maintain good freshness, which is absolutely necessary in periods of high heat. And as we do for other vegetable garden products, we must respect the sowing and planting periods for each variety of lettuceknowing that there are no less than 275 of them in France alone. This is more than enough to grow even one or two of them each season.

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