One of the new things I tried last year was planting lettuce and other greens in plastic window boxes. I did it because I was doing a seminar on vegetable gardening and I needed something portable to illustrate how easy it was to grow lettuce and other greens. I also wanted to show how decorative these plants can be, and encourage people to plant them in their own gardens. All sorts of greens can be grown in containers, including lettuce, spinach, and arugula, as well as Asian greens like tatsoi, pak choi, and komatsuna.
I filled the containers with potting soil, to which I added a little compost and a dusting of high-nitrogen organic fertilizer. I also gave them an occasional drink of guano tea or fish emulsion fertilizer.
The lettuce grew so well in the window boxes that I decided to do it again this year. In late winter, I have some extra room in the greenhouse, so I can plant the window boxes and keep them in there. In the protected environment of the greenhouse, the plants grow quickly. When space becomes an issue, I will set the planters outside to finish growing.
In the photo above, the center box is planted with arugula and Salad Bowl lettuce, while the box on the right is a mix of red Merlot and green Multy lettuces. For the leftmost box I planted a lettuce mix from Hudson Valley Seed Library, and in the long bottom box I planted some spicy mesclun mix I got from Johnny’s. I should be able to get 2-3 cuttings from the mixes before warm weather gets here.
If you’ve never tried growing salad greens in containers, or if you just don’t have room to plant them in your garden, you might want to try window boxes or other containers. Then you can have Salads To Go too!