Fresh salads are best made with a variety of textures and tastes. Spinach, red leaf lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs create endless mixes for your meals and are packed with nutrients.
If you have an area that receives a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, chances are you can get growing your own salad garden! These plants will thrive in a garden bed or containers. Now it is time to start digging; read our full growing vegetables guide.
Kale: High in fibre, iron, vitamin K, antioxidants; need we say anything else about why it is worth using kale in your salads? Kale grows best in well-drained soil enriched with compost. It is a cool-loving crop which means it will grow best during spring and fall.
Harvest when the leaves are about the size of your hand; pick a fistful of leaves. Take notice of the terminal bud (top centre of the plant) as this helps keep the plant productive.
If you are looking for an organic option, we carry Scarlet and Starbor kale.
Spinach: Another powerful superfood to add to your mix! The whole spinach plant can be harvested at once, but you can also pick off leaves one layer at a time. Avoid waiting too long until harvesting though, as this will create bitterness. Available in organic varieties.
Mesclun Mix: If you are looking to create a salad container, try planting this with kale and arugula. A pleasant mix of pak-choi, Chinese mustard, spinach, shungiko, curled cress, mizuna and roquette are grown together.
Tomatoes: Big Beef, Cupid, Sweet Milion; there are so many tomatoes on the market but what it comes down to is what you like. When it comes to salads, we recommend growing cherry tomatoes, Roma and Early Girl.
If you are short on space, you can grow cherry tomatoes (such as in containers and use trellises to shape growth habitat), and we have some options such as Heirloom Brandywine and Sweet n Neat that are already in containers. Tomatoes love sunlight but remember to water regularly for the best yield. Harvest when the tomato has uniform colour and feels firm.
Cucumbers: Sunny, well-drained areas are best for cucumbers. As much as cucumbers love the summer heat, they need to be watered deeply and often, so they do not develop a bitter taste. If you want to minimize on space, you can also give the vines support, so they grow upwards, not across.
Some of our favourite varieties include Pickling Little Leaf (top choice for pickling or eating fresh) and the Picolino variety which is a miniature version of English cucumbers with a sweet flavour and crisp texture. If you are looking for cucumbers to grow on the balcony or patio, you can grow Fanfare, English and Jackon Classic in containers.
Do you add herbs to your salad?
Salads have become part of everyday cuisine and adding herbs is one of the quickest ways of adding flavour to the simplest of salads.
Herbs can be grown in the garden, or in containers (inside or outside) as long as they receive a minimum of sunlight for five hours.
Basil: This herb is widely used in pestos and sauces, but you have to try adding this fresh herb to your dishes! Some of our favourite varieties to add to a salad are Small Leaf basil (can also be planted beside tomatoes for added flavour in the plant), Columnar basil, and if you desire a sweeter taste, try the Italian Large Leaf variety.
Dill: Can be used fresh, or added to salad dressings. If you are looking for a compact variety, Dwarf Fernleaf dill will suit your needs.
Chives: This herb is a member of the onion family. There are two distinct varieties; Garlic Chives will add a flavour combination of chives mixed with garlic, versus the classic chive that will be full onion flavour.
Read about our top five herb selections.