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A Salad Garden To Last All Summer

Forget running to the store every time you feel like having a salad.

The Early Show gardening guru Charlie Dimmock says it's easy to grow all of the ingredients by yourself. All you need is sun, water and a little bit of space.

Salad gardens need constant watering, so Dimmock says, ideally, you should plant when the soil is damp. The key, she says, is to plant symmetrically, and space vegetables so there is room for them to grow

Dimmock planted a salad garden in a small space in her backyard

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The following is Dimmock's explanation of how she did it:

I've got three types of lettuce, and I'm going to plant them alternately so that it looks really pretty. The other thing about lettuce: we used to let them get really really big and then cut the whole thing. These days, what we do is we just keep picking the leaves so they just keep regenerating.

I'm going to break these up. When you buy them at a garden center, you often get four or five plants in a pot. You want to put them about six inches apart.

Now with these lettuces, leave them for about a week so that the roots root in properly, and then you can start picking the leaves. You want to make sure that you leave about three leaves so that you can regenerate the plant back up.

Slugs and snails might be a problem on your lettuce. The best thing to do is to come out at night and pull them off. To be honest I wouldn't want to be using chemicals, because you're going to be eating this as well.

We're going to have some peas here. First of all, I'm going to push in these twiggy branches. You could use bamboo canes, but twigs are better because there are lots of little branches and they climb up on them really quickly. You only need to make them 18 inches high; they don't get much taller than that.

Now, with your peas, when they start fruiting, you must start picking them, because if they totally set seed, then you don't get any more peas.

The following are some ideas and tips to plant your own garden:

Salad garden planted directly into compost bag:

  • You can make a miniature tomato garden with a bag of compost and some tomato plants.
  • Make a frame to disguise plastic with slats of wood (no need to have bottom).
  • Cut holes in bag of light compost to plant tomatoes, but leave plastic on to keep soil moist and weeds away
  • Dress the top with bark to disguise plastic top
  • Plant marigolds to keep away insects that will damage the plants and to add color; a hot-looking garden of bright yellow and red.

Salad garden with tomato in pot
  • You can grow a tomato up to three or four feet tall in a single pot; adds height to balcony garden.
  • Pinch out side leaves to keep tomato growing upright. Make sure it has a cane that is tall enough.
  • Keep watering regularly. If you stop, the skin will get tough. If you water again, the tomatoes will split.
  • Feed with tomato feed

Miniature salad garden disguised as flower garden
  • Contains plants like pansies which are pretty and could decorate a salad or birthday cake, which are edible, though tasteless (meaning they taste of nothing, not that they are vulgar!)
  • Contains flowering chives (taste like onions)
  • Red Salad onions
  • Yellow flowering cucumbers can be grown in pots or as centrepiece in garden. It has ornamental leaves and pretty flowers and lots of cucumbers. New hybrids mean they are self fertilising.
  • Also, both ornamental and tasty bok choi can be grown
  • Lettuce comes in several colors and can be used to structure the look of the garden.
  • Herbs fill out the garden
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