52 Week Salad Challenge

52 Week Salad Challenge – Homegrown Food

I am no cook, but I do like some scrambled eggs after a work out. There’s nothing quite like popping down to the coop to gather some freshly laid hen-fruit; you don’t have to spend a penny. Now, with the 52 Week Salad Challenge, I also have the means to indulge in a little side portion of greenery.

© Geoff Wakeling 2012

The amazing thing is though, you don’t even need a garden to grow salads. My current crop is coming from washing up bowl, filled with multi-purpose soil and placed on the windowsill. I’ve sown new seeds every couple of weeks to get a succession of salads. Now that the bigger plants are growing well, you can easily remove several leaves without damaging the plant, and with many more plants coming up, there’ll be salad for weeks to come.

Washing up bowl, soil, salad seeds…it’s all you need

Get yourself a washing up bowl, a few salad seeds and a couple of hens and, hey presto, one free and easy meal!

52 Week Salad Challenge – Speedy Seeds

In my attempt to get in on the 52 Week Salad Challenge, I sowed some ‘Speedy Seeds’ a few weeks ago. The British winter may have arrived with plummeting temperatures and snowy conditions, but that doesn’t mean that growing has to stop. One of the refreshing things about salads is that many varieties can actually be grown when conditions aren’t exactly balmy. And, if you have a windowsill or even a table next to a window, you can germinate and grow some salads throughout the year.

My ‘Speedy Seeds’ can be harvested in just 21 days

Though I didn’t start this challenge at the year’s outset, almost three weeks ago I sowed my first salads. Because of the rapid turnover of these plants there isn’t need for a rich and loamy soil, and they’ll do perfectly well in a washing up bowl of multi purpose compost. You needn’t drill holes in the bottom, just ensure that you give a light water now and then to keep the soil moist. Don’t water too much as, with no drainage, you could end up with a sludgy mess.

Whilst my ‘Speedy Seeds’ are ready to harvest in 21 days, I wouldn’t say they are quite there yet, even though it’ll have been three weeks on Thursday. However, I can certainly thin the crop out a little and use some of the smaller seedlings as a garnish or a quick nibble as they’re quite delectable even at this tender age. I’m also going to sow another row of seeds to ensure that I have succession throughout the year in the hopes of never having to buy salad ever again!

© Geoff Wakeling 2012A few winter salads need very little to get them growing

It’s great to have a little growth around the house, even when there’s still snow on the ground outside. And, try as I might, I just can’t help but have a nibble here and there as I walk by.

The 52 Week Salad Challenge

I’ll admit, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Two weeks of jury service, writing clients coming out of my ears, and my sister about to drop a sprog has found me suddenly near the end of January without really knowing how I got here. Thus…getting to grips with the inspiring new challenges for 2012 has also passed me by, until now that is.

Over at Veg Plotting, the marvellous 52 Week Salad Challenge has started. Want to stop buying plastic wrapped green leaves at your supermarket? Fed up of finding festering packets of forgotten Iceberg and Rocket at the bottom of your fridge? Well, this is certainly the challenge for you.

VP has outlined some inspirational content over at the 52 Week Salad Challenge. Every fourth Friday of the month shall now be known as ‘Salad Days’, when leaves are harvested and VP will update with the progress from her patch,  ideas for new seeds to sow, new recipes to make and general musings to get you going. You can also follow VP on her @Malvernmeet and @VegPlotting twitter handles, and use the #saladchat search.

Getting into the spirit things I’ve started the challenge myself, though a little late! With the first salads sown, and with promise of a harvest within three weeks, I’m champing at the bit to see the first germinations of 2012.

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