Simple Steps Towards Frugality and Green Living #1
One of the easiest ways to save a bit of money and reduce your dependence on grocery stores is learning to grow your own salads. Every time you pick your own salad leaves you can save yourself between R10 and R35 depending what you like in your salads.
The great thing about growing your own salads is that it allows you to "test the veggie growing waters" by making just a small garden patch or by growing in containers.
Salads are also able to grow throughout the year in our Mediteranean climate and even in those climates that get cold and frosty, you can grow them under cover - even on a sunny windowsill.
Salads in our home are:
Obviously in our summer we add other things like green beans, corn and tomatoes to the list.
So how do you take this simple step?
Gather your items...you need a patch of ground (1.5 X .5 is perfect) or for those with only container space some nice big pots like wine barrels sawn in half or for those with balcony/sill space a series of smaller pots. Untreated Terracotta is the best.
You will also need good potting soil for those containers or some compost and manure to dig into your soil. You can either grow your salads from seed, which is the cheaper option or you can buy seedling punnets from your nursery. If you want more bang for your buck, then a seed packet will offer much more and one packet of lettuce seeds (buy variegated for color) will last a long time as will chives and radish.
Fill your pots with soil, or dig in your compost and simply sow the seeds in circles or straight lines. Keep the soil moist until germination.
You can then make a decision to thin the seedlings and turf the ones you uproot or you can try to transplant them. If you are going to transplant them once their first true leaves show, its best to do it at twilight so that the transplants do not have to contend with the sun during the day while they reestablish themselves.
When the salads get to the correct leaf size, you can start picking off the outer leaves and the plant will continue to grow from the center.
You also need to think of protecting your seedlings from pests.
Thereafter you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and the fact that there is one less thing for you to buy from the shops....and you can save a little each day!