Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southwestern Deserts
November, 2009
Regional Report

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Plant a container filled with a colorful mix of salad greens

Grow a Fresh Salad Bowl

Salad greens are a fun and flavorful choice for any gardener, regardless of your experience level. They're easy to grow, even in limited spaces. As long as you have a location that receives six hours of sun daily, sow a mix of varied greens into a big container to create a colorful salad bowl that you can graze from for months.

Mesclun Mix
Seed packets containing a mesclun mix usually include four to eight different types of seeds offering salad greens in a variety of leaf colors, shapes, textures, and flavor intensities. Mixes may contain salad greens and spicy choices such as arugula or radicchio to provide some peppery zip for your taste buds. As the seedlings grow large enough to identify, thin them to the ratio that you want, such as more lettuces than spicy mustard.

Creating a Tasty Bowl

If you can't find a mesclun mix that suits you, mix and match your own recipe from loose leaf lettuces, collard and mustard greens, arugula, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and Asian greens. Create a vibrant tableau with varied leaf colors (green, red, and speckled) and shapes such as oakleaf lettuces or pretty rosettes such as tatsoi, an Asian green. Grow a favorite herb for a flavor-rich tossed salad that needs less salad dressing if you're counting calories! Dill, fennel, and garlic chives offer lots of taste options in the salad bowl or mixed with your favorite dressing.

Succession Sowing
In the low desert, salad greens can be sown successfully from September through February and they'll continue producing until temperatures heat up in late spring. Sow small amounts in successions every few weeks so you'll always have a fresh batch of tasty baby lettuces ready for harvesting.

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