National Garden Month

Activities

Window Box Salad Garden

Don't let a lack of garden space keep you from growing and enjoying fresh veggies! With this plan, you can start harvesting fresh, flavorful, nutritious salad ingredients in about a month.

Materals

  • Two planters at least 8 inches deep (such as window boxes), with drainage holes
  • Seeds: radishes, mesclun mix, baby carrots, beets (shredded raw beet is a tasty and colorful salad topping)
  • Soilless potting mix enriched with compost
  • Fertilizer

Steps

  1. Moisten your potting mix. If you wish to use a slow-release fertilizer, add it as recommended by the product label. Fill window boxes, and firm soil gently in place.
  2. Following the directions on the seed packets, sow seeds of radishes and greens in one box, beets and carrots in the other. Radishes are ready to harvest about 28 days after germination; baby greens (lettuce, spinach, mesclun), in 30 days; beets, in 55 days; baby carrots, in 70 days.
  3. Water gently so that you don't wash seeds out of the soil. Keep soil evenly moist, and watch for seeds to germinate.
  4. Seedlings will come up thickly; thin them the first time to stand 1 inch apart. You can either pluck them out individually or use scissors to snip seedlings at the soil surface. (Eat the thinnings of greens and beet tops - your first unofficial harvest!) Thin the carrots and beets again when they've doubled in size; ultimately they should stand 2 to 3 inches apart.
  5. Fertilize every two weeks, unless you used a slow-release fertilizer at planting time. Use a water-soluble formula, such as fish emulsion.
  6. Sow some more. As your harvest of greens and radishes makes room in that container, prepare to grow another round. Work an inch of compost into the empty spots and sow more seed.

Tips

If you have enough space, add containers for other salad favorites, such as tomatoes and cucumbers. (They need larger pots.)

Watch out for pesky squirrels - they like to dig in freshly disturbed soil. If they're a problem, cover your planters with wire mesh or fabric row covers.

For color and spicy flavor, sow a few nasturtium seeds in your containers. The flowers are beautiful, fragrant, and tasty in a salad!

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When You Garden, You Grow!

Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

About National Garden Month

Why Garden?

"For me, gardening was born out of necessity to landscape barren property with few funds. Once I began digging things out of the woods, then transplanting them to the house, I read what I could find online and in books. Each planting brought another opportunity to fill a blank, as well as learn more about the diversity of the plant world. One of the many wonderful things about gardening, is that it is a never-ending source of learning."

-- Karen Manasco, Owner, Wuv'n Acres Gardens

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