How to grow leafy greens from a seed
What are leafy greens?
Rocket salad, spinach, maché. These are just some of the leafy greens can be used in salads, on sandwiches or eaten as they are. They usually grow fast (especially in hydroponic systems such as Botanium) and require less light and nutrients compared to chili or herbs. Harvest a little each time instead of the whole plant and you will have a big plant that will regrow itself quickly!
Choosing a variety
There are several types of salad greens that are more or less suitable to grow in a small container. In this article we will talk about looseleaf salads. Unlike icebergs salads, they don’t form compact ”heads”. They also have a much more delicate, intense taste. You can harvest them leaf by leaf instead of the whole plant and are suitable for small containers.
Arugula: Also know as rocket salad. It has a strong, peppery taste and originates from the Mediterranean.
Tatsoi: This fast-growing plant originates from Japan and has a mild mustard-like taste. Instead of growing tall, it grows a lot of small leaves in a foot-wide rosette.
Maché. Also known as corn salad or lamb’s lettuce. A crisp, dark green salad with a mild, sometimes nutty taste.
How to grow from a seed
Planting the seeds
Plant the seed in the Botanium and make sure it is barely covered by the growing medium. Put around 3 seeds in the middle for tatsoi, and evenly spread 5 seeds for mahcé and arugula.
As with chili, If you have a cold window sill, you can speed up the germination by putting the Botanium at a warmer spot until It sprouts and need light.
Using Botanium nutrients, start off with 3 pipettes for one full water tank. Next time you refill your tank, add 4 pipettes instead.
The first seedlings should appear in about 14 days. Perhaps 75% of the seeds germinate. Since tatsoi grows so wide, it is best to only keep one of the seedlings and discard the rest. This is not needed for arugula and maché.
It might take a few months for this to happen, but as soon as you see buds or flowers appear, tear them off instantly! The salad turns bitter if you allow the flowers to form. As you don’t need any fruits to form, there is no reason to pollinate the plant.
The plants should be ready for harvest already after 30-40 days. Take a few leaves at a time – make sure to always leave the greater part of the plant so it can grow back. Always go for the younger leaves in the middle, they tend to taste the best. When the plant is big and the conditions are right, you can prune it several times per week.
Leafy greens tend to require less light than other edible plants, but they grow leggy if they don’t get enough light. Using a grow lamp is a must If you plan to grow during winter in the north.