July 25, 2022
Although the soil temperature cools down during winter, there are still plenty of salad greens that grow well and even flourish in these conditions. Additionally, their quick growing habit will provide a daily harvest for healthy and hearty dishes for many months.
Tips for growing winter salad greens
Soil preparation: Many leafy greens are quick growing and prefer a well-drained soil enriched with well composted soil to provide quick leaf growth. Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix provides a complete set of nutrients and fertiliser for fast-growing leafy greens and is suitable to use in pots and in garden beds.
Planting leafy greens: Plant seedlings for faster results and if you have left planting greens until late Autumn. Position leafy greens in a sunny spot and keep soil moist as dry soil or irregular watering will result in bitter tasting leaves.
Fertilising leafy greens: To keep nutrients up to the greens, fertilise with SeaMax Organic Fertiliser every two weeks. This will provide the soil with organic fertiliser and a plant tonic for healthy leaf and root growth.
Harvesting salad greens: Be a daily picker and harvest the more mature leaves starting from the outside. This will leave the inner young leaves to reach maturity. For cabbages, harvest the whole vegetable when the hearts are firm. Use a sharp knife to create a clean cut at the base.
Winter salad green varieties to grow
• Meet the brassicas. All part of the brassica family that love growing in cool soil is kale, Brussel sprouts, rocket and the many different varieties of cabbage such as the popular Cannonball cabbage. Pak choi (Chinese white cabbage), wong bok (Chinese cabbage), tatsoi (Chinese flat cabbage) or the easily distinguishable red cabbage are all popular to grow for Asian style dishes.
• The lettuce family. Enjoying full sun in winter the lettuce family covers a large range of varieties. The most popular being the Iceberg lettuce. Other popular winter growers are romaine (cos lettuce) and red and green coral.
• Micro-greens. In this range are some easy to grow and fast performers. They are ideal to grow and harvest from smaller pots placed on kitchen balconies and windowsills. Most micro greens are common garden greens harvested before they reach maturity. Many micro-greens are ready to harvest at the micro size stage a month after planting. Popular in the micro-green range are rocket, baby beetroot leaves, tatsoi, mizuna, endive, watercress, mustard greens, red Russian kale, chervil, etc.
• Mustard greens. Belonging to the brassica family, mustard greens grow well during the winter months and produce their seed pods as the weather heats up. Mustard seeds are ground into a powder and mixed with salt or pepper and vinegar to make the mustard sauce we enjoy on our salads and steak. Mizuna is commonly used in salads for its mild mustard taste and its feathery leaf shape adds texture to salads.
• Baby spinach and silver beet. Silver beet can be grown in warmer areas of Australia such as tropical and sub-tropical zones during Winter. Silver beet grows ideally in soil with a temperature of 10C to 30C. Although from the same family Baby spinach is more tolerant of the cold and can be planted throughout Winter.
• Nasturtiums. Growing nasturtiums in the garden has many benefits from creating a lush ground cover to an insect deterrent. Nasturtiums flowers are commonly mentioned as an edible food but their leaves can also be harvested to add a peppery taste to salads.