It’s not too late to sow baby spinach and winter salad leaves s to enjoy over the coming months if you’ve got somewhere protected for them to grow.
In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice on how to do just that. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for everything you need to know to sow and grow fresh green leaves right through the winter.
The aim is not to let them mature, but to eat them when they’re young, succulent baby leaves. Varieties to try include spinach, rocket, pak choi, and all sorts of different types of mixed lettuce and salad leaves. You can also harvest these sorts of things as microgreens. Harvest just a few days after germinating by sowing them thickly and shearing off the top couple of inches for a nutritious and delicious addition to salads and sandwiches, as they grow very quickly at this time of year.
What you need to winter sow baby salad leaves:
- Salad seeds – try our friends at Mr Fothergill’s for a great variety of seeds.
- Any container, tray or small pot.
- Multi-purpose compost – you could actually use some compost you’ve used before in summer containers or veggie pots where you’ve been growing potatoes or another veg, as salad leaves only need very low nutrient levels.
How to winter sow baby salad leaves:
- Fill your chosen container with compost about an inch from the top.
- Firm the compost very lightly with a presser, a plant saucer, the bottom of a glass or something similar to get a level flat sowing surface.
- Get your seeds and sprinkle them (also known as broadcast sowing) as evenly as you can over the soil surface.
- Cover the seeds over with more compost. The golden rule is to make the cover the same thickness as the seed. Break up the compost first to make sure there’s no big lumps that might inhibit your seeds’ growth. If the seeds are smaller, then sifting the compost is a good idea to make it finer. Try and get it as even as you can, more or less until the seeds disappear.
- If you’re sowing several varieties, put a label in the pot so that you know which variety is which.
- Water your pot so that the seeds have the moisture they need to germinate.
- Place the pot in an unheated greenhouse, cold frame or on a bright, cool windowsill, nothing too hot otherwise they will grow too tall and leggy.
- Wait 2-3 weeks for them to germinate, harvest and enjoy!
- Succession sow every week or so for fresh greens right the way through winter.
If you enjoyed this blog post and the Pots & Trowels video, be sure to subscribe to Pots & Trowels on YouTube and to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly practical videos all about gardening.