Last year was the first year that I tried to grow lettuce in my garden. I was amazed at how fairly simple it was. I loved being able to go out and cut-off some lettuce leaves and make my own fresh salad. I was even lucky enough to have planted some under a cucumber trellis which shaded them enough to extend their season.
I had seen a lettuce salad bowl for sale at one of the nurseries and the idea of being able to grow lettuce in such a small space intrigued me. I was very excited to think that even people without a large gardening area could grow their own salad, too.
While I’ll show you a few pictures of how to make one, I am definitely more of a visual person and wanted to find a video of the steps, as well. As you all may know by now, I’m personally not one to make videos but I did a little digging online and found this great video on How to Make a Lettuce Salad Bowl.
The first thing that you need to do is to find a great bowl that has a hole for drainage such as this one:
I was lucky enough to find a bunch of them for $2.50 on clearance at Menards at the beginning of the year. Otherwise, I’ve seen them range from $5-$10. You can use anything that allows drainage but be very careful not to choose a bowl that will leak anything toxic into your plants.
The next thing that several nurseries recommended was to put in some rocks and/or a piece of screen for drainage. It can help keep your dirt from escaping through that hole but still allow water to seep out:
And of course, you’ll need to add dirt for the plants to grow in. I recommend finding an Organic Potting Soil. I was able to find a giant bag for around $10 that allowed me to make about 5-6 of these. (I made a few as gifts!) But you can find smaller and less expensive bags of potting soil:
Now you’ll have to decide–are you going to grow these from seeds or buy transplants? If you choose seeds, make sure you are choosing seeds for salad mixes and not for lettuce heads, which take up more room. I actually made salad bowls with transplants and seeds so that I could have them growing at various rates throughout the season. You may want to talk with your local nursery about how long your lettuce season is in your area.
The picture above is the one I planted a few weeks ago with seeds. I cannot recommend enough that you plant your seeds in some kind of rows that you’ll remember. The reason for this is that even though you may have this on your deck or patio, grass or weeds and other foreign things can blow into your bowl and start growing. I’d hate for you to eat something you shouldn’t!
This is just one way that you can grow your own produce at home, even if you have limited space available. Most apartments/townhouses/condos etc. will have areas on a deck or even the front steps that will allow enough sunlight to grow one of these.
There are several other things that you can grow in containers and I’ll touch more on them soon! These can also a fun activity to do with kids. Not only will they enjoy watching them grow but they may want to eat more salad if they grow their own, especially if you let them pick off their own salad leaves!
In the end, these don’t end up costing too much to make if you look for deals on the supplies. The great part is that the bowls are reusable so you can continue to use them next year, too! You might find that making one of these might help you save a little money on your grocery budget, especially considering salad mixes are now costing about $3-4, or more, a tub. I hope that you have fun growing your own lettuce if you try this.