By: Travis Mitchell, Community Food Project Coordinator and Coordinator of Porters Community Farm
Fall is a great time to vegetable garden in Florida, and my personal favorite season. The bugs are starting to disperse, weed pressure is lowering and temperatures are starting to fall.
Baby salad greens are one of my favorite things to grow in my fall/winter garden. They are easy to grow, will produce a lot in a small space, and if you are a big salad eater really save you some money at the grocery store.
The process is simple; first prepare your bed or garden section making sure to work in fertilizers or compost. Next, prepare a seed mix of your favorite lettuces or greens. I use everything I have laying around, a bag of mesculin mix, some red leaf, some oakleaf, some red russian kale, and some arugula.
Then broadcast your seed evenly and relatively thick across your prepared garden bed. I just used my hands but there are a lot of farm tools for broadcasting seed available if you are going planting a lot. To insure you get a real even application you can add some sand to your seed mix to give it a little volume. After broadcasting the seeds, gently work them into the soil by giving them a light brush with your hand or gently scrape the top of soil with rake.
About a month or so later depending on how warm or cold it is (lettuce doesn’t grow much when the temperatures are below 50 degrees) you will have a bed full of yummy little baby greens. You can harvest them as soon as you want but you don’t want them to get taller than about six inches. Harvest with a knife or scissors and cut the leaves about an inch above the ground. The plants will grow back and can be harvested again two to four times until they become bitter.
If you are a visual learner, watch this video explaining the technique.