Planting a Container Salad: Budget Gardening Tip

If you’re limited on space but still want to grow vegetables for salad, a container garden might be for you. In fact, with some clever planning, you can grow all the makings for a salad in one container.

For best results, plant the container in the spring and by the end of summer, you will have the makings for delicious salads right on your porch.

You will need:
A container. You can use a one-gallon pot, a window box, or several smaller containers if you wish.
Potting soil
Plants or seeds

Some choices for plants or seeds include:
A tomato plant. Choose your tomato plant based on your own preferences and tastes. Plant a Roma tomato plant for sweet tomatoes with little acidity; Roma tomatoes are generally less juicy and have a more “meaty” texture. If you prefer small, bite-sized tomatoes, go with cherry or grape tomatoes. These will also produce many small tomatoes, so you will always have a handful of tomatoes to throw into your salad, rather than one larger tomato that will take longer to ripen. Be sure to add a tomato cage or stakes to support the plant when it grows larger and heavier.
A variety of greens. Choose loose leaf lettuces, radicchio, endive, romaine, or even spinach for a variety of healthy greens. Because each one of the greens will be harvested individually, plant a variety so that you always have a choice when you want to make a salad. Be sure to plant each variety in a group, and label each area with a popsicle stick or other marker to know what is growing where.
Carrots. Carrots can be planted in deep containers.
Onions. Choose from sweet green onions, shallots, chives or even garlic. The onions can also prevent aphids and add an extra flavor to your tomatoes. Plant one or two plants in the container.
Basil. Basil will add a tasty and sweet flavor to your salad and will add flavor to the tomatoes growing in the container.
Parsley. Parsley is an herb that will add a fresh, clean bite to your salad. Use small amounts for maximum impact.
Cucumbers. Plant cucumber plants and let the vines fall down around the container.

To make:
Mix one part each compost and potting soil in container, and plant tomato plant in the center. Arrange other seeds or plants around the tomato plant, leaving some room for growth. Water thoroughly, and place outside in a sunny location.

Be sure to water your pots daily, and twice or more daily on especially hot and sunny days.

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