Growing Cut-And-Come-Again Salads for Year Round Harvests

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit crap at successional sowing. I get all excited in early spring and sow things with gusto. Then the soil gets really warm, the heavens open and weeds start to thrive and, as a result, I get so distracted I forget to keep sowing. But if you want a continuous harvest of things like salad, carrots and even beans, it’s a good idea to repeat sow every few weeks so you’ve got a continuous supply of plants on the go.

Two of my mesclun boxes; one of which is made from an old desk drawer.

Over the winter I’ve put in several small mixes of ‘speedy seeds‘ and ‘windowsill salads‘. These mixes of crops are also known as Mesclun (I only found that out today!) and the turnaround is quick. In general, most of the seeds start germinating in only a few days, and some leaves are ready to pick as soon as 21 days later. And the great thing is you can keep picking without destroying the plant; simply remove a few of the largest leaves and leave enough foliage behind for continuous growth. However, plants will eventually come to their end and, if you’re trying to start up a new market farm enterprise as I am, you’ll need quite a lot of crop; hence the successional sowing.

To make life easy, I made a little video for the Brimwood Farm YouTube channel which shows the process of sowing.

I’ve let the first three mixes (Italian Mix, Ovation and Micro-greens) get rather large already, but I’ll start harvesting from them straight away. I’ve now sown an additional two rows in each crate; about an inch apart with a thin scattering of seeds. I never actually prick out the seedlings but just let them get on with it instead. These plants have a short lifespan so as long as you’re using a good multi-purpose compost they’ll grow happily. Once the entire crate has been filled and harvested, reuse the compost elsewhere in the garden and sow into fresh, nutrient rich soil. As long as you have a windowsill or frost free place, you can grow around the year.

Sowing is extremely easy

A great little mixed leaves mesclun mix.

The next stage in my efforts is to begin selling these fresh salad leaves as part of the market farming enterprise. That means I need to work out the best storage, pricing and selling strategy. Exciting times!

Do you have luck with successional growing? I’d love to hear from you! Pop a comment below and let me know what you grow.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.