Vegetables are essential in every diet. They are rich in all sorts of vitamins including A, B, C, B plus, K, etc. which assist in the functioning of most hormonal glands, body protection improvement, and so on. For example, vegetables contain potassium in which help in maintaining and regulating the blood pressure. Therefore, as you can see, they are vital for our bodies.
Most people think eating vegetables is a choice until they find themselves in the hospitals battling diseases like scurvy or goiter. Well, the truth is its compulsory for your existence even if you are an animal. Yes, that is right! all animals need vegetables even lions.
See, antelope eat grass and absorb its nutrients in which later on the antelope is eaten by a lion who is a carnivore feeding on the flesh that has absorbed the nutrients from the grass. Therefore, whether you are vegan or a carnivore, veggies are essential to you. The only difference is that vegans enjoy eating them, unlike carnivores who eat them because it is compulsory.
Now, let us look at the most common type of vegetables that is salad greens. Salad greens are like the vegan’ staple food, are very common deserts, and third-course meals. They contain lettuces of different kinds most notably the iceberg lettuces. Now, in western countries, salad greens are very expensive since most of them are imported. Thus, it to avoid this, it’s best you grow them by yourselves to dodge the cost burden
Salad greens are very easy to grow. All you need is a couple of seeds, water, soil, and fertilizers and you are all set. Now, let us look at how they are grown systematically
1. Prepare your soil
In case it is an on the ground garden, you will need to plow and prepare seedbeds for the garden. The importance of the seedbeds is to create a good drainage system when watering the seeding or during the rainy seasons. Afterward, you will need to create terraces in linear form.
Alternatively, if you are using pots, growing them indoors, or on a normal in fertile soil, you will need to feed the soil first. Lettuces and other green plants need rich fertile soil and so you must feed the soil lot nutrients and if possible add microbial organisms like earthworms to increase the soil fertility
2. Plant the seeds.
Now in a ground garden, the seed is planted in the terraced holes by sowing them. The importance of having terraced holes is to avoid seed congestion and allow each lettuce to grow separately and nicely. The second reason to bring an attractive view of your garden.
In pots, it is easier because there is no need for terracing, thus you only need to plant a couple of seeds per pot. Now in pots, you have the advantage of growing varieties since each plant is planted on its pot
After planting the seeds then you plow back the soil and leave them to germinate. Now, most green salad seeds will take a month to germinate but some can take even less time than this.
For the salad green seeds to grow, they need moisture. Therefore you will be required to water them frequently for up to 3-4 weeks until they germinate. In a terraced land, you can build an irrigation stream like drip irrigation to water the plants directly on their walls. (Not that drip irrigation is more effective and less tiresome than using sprinklers because it covers more areas specifically than sprinklers).
4. Maintaining the heat climate
Salad green seeds best germinate during a temperate climate of 25 degrees. Thus you will need to maintain the heat temperature during the 3 to 4 weeks to allow the salad green to germinate properly.
Now, the pot growers here have an advantage because their plants are movable and thus they can be grown indoors in which is easy to monitor the temperature.
5. Germination stage
This is when the seeds start to grow. In this stage, the seed needs a lot of accelerators in which are light water and nutrients. Thus, the will need frequent watering and lots of light to prevent them from dying. This stage is also the best stage to add fertilizer on your salad green seedlings.
Most people think when the salad green plants start shooting is when they should add fertilizers but they are wrong. Now, the best fertilizer I would recommend you to use is manure but in case it’s absent you can use the manufactured one. (Precaution, use a very small amount of the manufactured fertilizer on a seedling because it’s highly concentrated). When adding your fertilizer, add the fertilizer around the plant and not on top of it.
6. Growth stage
By now, the small lettuces would have already started to grow. Note that this stage is very dangerous for a plant especially if your salad green garden is outdoors. Thus you will be required to spray some pesticides to your salad greens to chase away pests and insects.
7. Harvesting stage
After they are fully grown, your salad greens will be ready for harvesting. Now, green salads need to be either soil attached or placed on a moist cool environment otherwise they will rot. Thus, once harvested you will need to use them instantly or package them and store them in a freezer or a refrigerator.
Some good practices when growing salad greens
1. Crop mixing
Crop mixing gives you the advantage of having several species of salad greens in your garden example Komatsuna, Spinach, Magenta Spreen, Arugula, etc. Not only that, but it also makes your salad green vegetable garden look attractive.
2. Succession planting
This involves planting one crop after another to ensuring continuity in harvesting.
3. Planting companion plants
In case you cannot afford a pesticide, then this should do the trick. Companion plants are plants used to block pests away from eating the main plant’s example strawberries, carrots, etc. They also assist in beautifying the salad green garden
This involves planting fast-growing seeds between slow-growing seeds. This is also good practice in the plantation of salad greens like lettuces and arugula
Therefore, salad greens are very important to your diet and if you dig up some of its cooked recipes, you might end up liking them.