Salad Garden

In the last article we described how to grow tomatoes, carrots and cucumber. This article will take you through a few more do-it-yourself farming, on growing your own little salad garden.

Salad is often considered as a healthy diet food, but the benefits of eating a salad go well beyond dieting and weight loss. Salads keep you hydrated, add fibre, increase the intake of vitamins and nutrients in your body, reduce calories and improve digestion.

Here are a few important ingredients to making a sumptuous salad.

Onions:

How to Grow:

  • Onions grow to a height of around a feet and a half and require full sun light.
  • Sow onion seeds or the bulbs to a depth of around 3 cm and at a distance of 6 inches. i.e., around 4 onion bulbs can be grown in a square foot.
  • Onions are ready to harvest when the leaves lose their colour, weaken at the top of the bulb and flop over. This happens in around 4 months from planting the seeds or the bulbs.
  • Avoid growing beans, peas & parsley with onions as they affect the plants health and productivity.

Lettuce:
Lettuce is a low calorie food and is a source of vitamin A and folic acid.

How to Grow:

  • Lettuces grow to a height of 25 cm and require adequate water.
  • Plant the seeds at a distance of 15 cm from each other. While sowing, don’t cover the seeds with more than a dusting of soil as they need light to germinate.
  • In around 2 months your lettuce is ready to harvest. As soon as the heart has formed the plant is ready for cutting. Check for firmness by gently pressing down on the top of the heart area with the back of your hand. This is the safest way as squeezing may damage plant tissue.

Beetroot:
Beetroots are a rich source of potent antioxidants, nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. Beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and thus help prevent cardiovascular problems. While the bulb is what we use in salads, the green leafy portion of the beet is also edible. It is most commonly served boiled or steamed, in which case it has a taste and texture similar to spinach.

How to Grow:

  • Beetroot grows to a height of 35 cm and are sown 15 cm apart.
  • Harvesting can begin around nine weeks after sowing the seed. At this stage the bulbs will be about 2.5cm in diameter and they will be at their most tender – important for salads. These first pickings should be evenly applied over the growing area to give the remaining beetroot sufficient room to grow larger.
  • Continue to harvest as required until the beetroot reaches about 8cm in diameter. At this point it is best to harvest all the beetroots and store them. If they are left in the ground much longer, they will become woody and the taste will deteriorate. Another sign that the roots are ready for harvest is when the foliage starts to go limp.

Broccoli:
Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a salad. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fibre. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C.

How to Grow:

  • They grow to a mature height of around 75 cm and in a square foot only one plant can be grown.
  • Extreme cold or heat can cause it to ‘button’ which means the central head doesn’t develop properly and instead develops a small bitter knob; if this happens cut off the deformed central head.
  • Broccoli is ready to harvest in 4 months. Start by cutting the head of the plant with a sharp knife. After you have harvested the main head, you can continue to harvest the side shoots from the broccoli. These will grow like tiny heads to the side of where the main head was.
  • Avoid planting mustards, tomatoes and peppers with broccoli.

Author: Vaibhav Dugar
Me, I am a Green Warrior and yes you are either with me or against me! On paper I’m a telecommunication engineer but professionally, a farmer. Work takes me setting many-a-farms, tilling many-a-lands and playing with soil which I thoroughly enjoy. I love playing football (avidly), going cycling, watching Formula 1 and writing!

If you need company to watch Formula 1, pit stop at Vaibhav.Dugar [at] EkTitli.org

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