You don’t need to stop growing salad just because it’s winter. In fact, many leafy greens come into their own at a time when not much else is growing. Whether you love to eat crunchy radishes, spicy rocket or colourful cut-and-come-again lettuce leaves, you’ll find plenty of growing tips in this collection of articles, videos and Instagram posts. Here are some expert tips to help you grow and harvest delicious winter salad.
Browse our delicious salad seeds for more inspiration.
Grow cut-and-come-again salad leaves on a sunny windowsill
“With a few small pots of multi-purpose compost, a bright windowsill or cool glasshouse and a little TLC, we can all have a succession of yummy salad leaves to add to our five a day,” enthuses Graham Porter at the Thompson & Morgan blog. For winter growing, he suggests a whirlwind of fun flavours from pea shoots to Chinese cabbage. Use shallow pots to minimise the amount of compost you use, he adds. You won’t need much!
Prevent waste by growing indoor microgreens
Have a go at microgreens, recommends John from Allotment & Gardens. Harvested as seedlings, these tiny nutritious greens don’t require much space beyond a seed tray and a warm windowsill. “They have a surprisingly intense flavour and are usually quite sweet,” he says. It’s a great way to save waste and use up surplus seeds. Start with beet, kale and herbs for a flavoursome winter crop in miniature.
Vary cut-and-come-again salads with unusual flavours and colours
An unheated polytunnel is a great space to have a go at new salad plants over winter. No-Dig expert and seasonal grower Charles Dowding encourages new growers to plant as many different flavours and colours as possible to keep it interesting. You won’t need any dressing! Have a go at growing your own spicy mustards, fragrant chervil and bitter endive after watching Charles’ inspiring video.
Fill empty containers with cold-resistant Daikon radishes
Over at @mygardenofthings, Greg grows Daikon radish in a plastic container in his urban garden. “It survived -6°C (21F) frost and is still crispy and tasty,” he says of his hardy harvest. It’s not just the fantastic cold resistance that makes this interesting vegetable (also known as mooli or Chinese radish) an ideal winter salad crop for this Instagrammer. It’s the generous health benefits too! Read his fascinating post for some of the nutritional facts.
Plant hardy lettuces in your outdoor container garden
Choose your winter lettuce varieties carefully and you’ll be harvesting from late autumn through to spring, says Dan Mowinski at the Thompson & Morgan blog. Dan’s a pro at making the most of a small space! He chooses a fast growing butterhead ‘Tom Thumb’, a flavoursome crisphead variety, and the slower growing ‘Arctic King’ to make good use of his empty containers over the colder months. Because he grows outside, clever homemade cloches speed up winter growth for this ingenious urban gardener.
Sow hardy spinach leaves for a versatile winter crop
Spinach is a prized winter crop in Steve’s Seaside Kitchen Garden & Allotment. As other crops start to slow down in mid-winter, “spinach just keeps going!” he enthuses. He uses the younger leaves in fresh salad throughout the colder months, and interplants his crop with hardy spring onions to maximise the growing space. Watch his full video for more practical growing tips.
Direct sow watercress seeds in late summer
Watercress is ‘salad royalty’ for its mild peppery flavour, says YouTuber Ben Vanheems from GrowVeg.com. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need running water to grow it. Ben grows the coveted hardy leaf successfully in pots of compost throughout the winter months. “All you need to do is make sure the soil is consistently damp”, he says. Watch his excellent video for more advice on how to grow this versatile veg!
Grow winter salad in a polytunnel to protect from slugs
Instagrammer Maryline from @ruralandrustic1 loves having fresh leaves to harvest. Supplementing the winter lettuces which take a bit longer to make a full head, her cut-and-come-again oriental and brassica leaves provide plenty of fresh flavours. Watch out for pests, she says. “The ones I put outside in the veg plot…were all devoured by slugs long ago!” Maryline grows her winter salad in a polytunnel to keep them safe.
Choose easy crops like rocket for a cut-and-come-again winter harvest
Instagrammer Sam at @sams_growing_n_life loves rocket leaves. “One of the best winter hardy salads growing happily in my back garden,” she says of the peppery plants. It’s a leaf that loves the cold weather. Sow your rocket seeds in autumn and keep harvesting as a cut-and-come-again leaf throughout the winter like clever seasonal grower Sam. Follow her on Insta to see the wide variety of winter salad leaves that she grows for her enviable packed lunches!
Wait until September to sow Radicchio seeds
Radicchio is a perfect candidate for the winter garden. “It does better in cooler temps and can end up bitter due to hot weather,” says Karen from @welliesandwaffles. Karen doesn’t sow her radicchio seeds until September, planting out when the weather is nice and cool. Just make sure you cover your plants when there’s a threat of frost, she says. Karen’s garden is full of winter veggie wonders – check out her November spinach which also looks particularly good!
Find everything you need to know about growing salad over at our dedicated hub page. Remember to share your journey with us via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or tag us at #YourTMGarden. We love to see how you grow!
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