Grow your own salad bowl garden

For many of us, green salads are a dinner-time staple.  There are so many greens that are not available at your local grocery store, so why not expand your salad horizons and try growing your own greens.  A simple way to do this is to grow several different types of greens in a single container, called a salad bowl garden which is a simple beginning to an edible garden.

To get started first select an appropriate growing container.  The best plants to use in a salad bowl garden do not have very deep roots, so a deep container is unnecessary.  Any container that is ~8” deep will work great.  Try a decorative container that will not only be a space to grow your edible plants but also be a beautiful feature on your deck or patio.

Before planting, fill the container with 1-2” rocks or broken clay pot pieces to facilitate drainage.  Then fill the container with your favorite potting soil, preferably an organic one since we will be eating the plants that grow in it.

3 great plants to use in a salad bowl garden are máche, Swiss chard and lettuce.  By using these 3 plants you can maximize the growing capacity of the container. máche is very low growing and will take advantage of growing under the lettuce and kale.  The kale will grow the tallest, which will provide some shade to the lettuce.  This will be beneficial when it comes to the warmer months of the year when lettuce that is not shaded will do poorly.

The next step will be to plant the seeds in your container according to the planting depth instructions on the package.  There is no need to create any type of organization to how you plant the seeds.  In fact it will look much better to have the plants growing randomly in the container.  The final step is to water the soil and keep moist for 10-14 days until the seeds germinate and begin to emerge from the soil.

Harvest the outer leaves of each plant as you need them for your salads and enjoy fresh greens from your salad bowl garden throughout the year.  You might even be inspired to expand your edible garden.

How to Grow Grapes in a Garden

Growing grapes is for everyone. Learn the simple steps and start your orchard today.

There are so many different plants on the planet, and each one of these grows in a separate and unique way.  It is really quite amazing how each plant has its own individual qualities and processes.

Grapes are one of my favorite things to grow; they are delicious and they really spruce up the garden, making it the envious orchard of the neighborhood.  Grapes are part of the genus vitis family.

Genus meaning group (it’s just the biological vernacular) and vitis meaning vine.  So in other words, you have the vine family.

Growing vines is a unique art; it is not like traditional row grown plants like tomatoes and carrots.  It takes a little more attention and finesse, if I do say so myself.

Before you begin the actual growing process, ask yourself, what kind of grapes you want to grow.  Do you want wine grapes, table grapes, or maybe even slipskin grapes.

Check with your local nursery and ask them what their recommendations are for grapes in your climate.  There are some that like it hotter and others that like it colder.

You would do well to find a suitable type of grape for your climate.  Understanding about the plants is the key to good gardening. When growing edibles, you are probably used to using a drip irrigation system. However, with vines, they should be sprayed with water versus being watered at the roots like with Drip Irrigation Systems. Use Orbit Sprinkler parts to water grapes and other types of vines.

Plants of the genus vitis grow with very deep roots. So before you plant grapes, amend your soil so that it is fast draining and loamy soil.

The deeper you till your soil the better your grapes are going to grow.  Plant them in an area full of sun; this is a necessity for tasty grapes.

Plants make sugar through a process called photosynthesis; this means if you do not have lots of sunlight on your plants they are going to have trouble producing sugar.  As you probably already know, sugar give grapes their amazing flavor, and natural sugars are low in calorie and high in anti-oxidants.

With vine plants you will have to do some trellising; basically, just build a framework for the vines to grow on.  This can be on the side of a house or wall, or even a free standing fence.

It is good to have the plants on the south side of the wall to attain maximum sunlight exposure. And  keeping them off the ground is imperative.

If you are trying to grow your grapes without any sort of framework, you will end up with mass amounts of rot and decomposition, before you can even harvest the fruit.  Keep in mind, the bigger you build your trellis the more fruit it will be able to support.

Fruit will not start to sprout until you have vines that are at least a year old; but depending on the climate, your vines should be able to sustain a healthy life as long as you keep them pruned and properly maintained.   When you have fruiting, prune by cutting mid runners; mid runners are the vines that are moving in a direction you do not want them to.