Welcome to the Page dedicated to The 52 Week Salad Challenge! It's an exciting project challenging YOU to grow some salad leaves for every week of the year. It started in January 2012 and is continuing into 2013. Last year I provided weekly posts (see the full list below) about how I got on, plus lots of hints, tips, answering your questions and exploring the techniques you can use along the way. I have a lot more posts planned for 2013 :)
You can read my initial announcement plus my kick-off post to familiarise yourself with what the challenge is about. The idea is tailor your challenge to your likes and needs within The 52 Week Salad Challenge framework. I've now added Your Year in Salads, which takes you through growing salad over the year, based on what I and other Salad Challengers learnt during 2012.
So what do I mean by salad? For the purposes of this challenge it's salad leaves, sprouted seeds, edible flowers and anything you can forage to add to the bowl. There are also other seasonal 'supplements' you may have available to add: e.g. beetroot and other root vegetables during the winter; or cucumber, peppers and tomatoes in the summer for instance.
You don't have to replace all of your shop bought salad leaves (though this is the ultimate goal), just produce something for every week of the year. Those of you who are already doing this can use the opportunity to try new varieties or techniques and to extend the range you can grow.
Every fourth Friday of the month is designated as Salad Days where we all gather on Veg Plotting to see how we're getting on. You'll find links to all of these in the list below as and when they've taken place.
We're also gathering informally on Twitter under the #saladchat hashtag. Expect lots of tweeted pics of how people are getting on, plus lots of encouragement and helping each other out. NB If you click on the above link you can catch up on all the latest. You don't even need a Twitter account to read our chat, though you will do if you want to join in.
NB don't worry about missing the start of the Challenge! Why not join us now and extend your challenge into next year? This page is designed to help you start no matter when you join us :)
Part of my challenge for 2012 was to publish a post about salad every Friday. These are listed below together with 2013's posts so far. These are grouped under various headings, so you can find what you need as quickly as possible.
- Your Year in Salads - a guide to the salad growing year, based on what we've learnt in 2012
- January (mid winter) - which also applies to February!
- March (early spring) - one of the main sowing months :)
- March/April - a guest post I wrote for Sarah Raven's blog with a guide to all kinds of salad growing to start at this time of the year
- July (mid summer) - thinking about what needs sowing for late autumn/winter
- August/September (late summer/early autumn) - last chance for sowing salad leaves ready for winter
- A Cheat's Guide to Salad Growing - ideas for what can be done when things don't go to plan
Salad Days (includes Mr Linky to take you through to all the Salad Challengers' posts)
- Issue 1 - January 27th - of sprouted seeds and microgreens
- Issue 2 - February 24th - includes the surprising news that some of our packets of salad leaves could be illegal
- Issue 3 - March 23rd - first salad
- Issue 4 - April 27th - experimental salad (first steps trialling biochar)
- Issue 5 - May 25th - including a look at salads at Chelsea Flower Show
- Issue 6 - June 22nd - salads for damp places
- Issue 7 - July 26th - winning salads (Tatton Park's Olympic themed display)
- Issue 8 - August 24th - of pesky pests and dread diseases
- Issue 9 - September 28th - the fennel from my seedy penpal
- Issue 10 - October 26th - tucking up for winter
- Issue 11 - November 23rd - eat to the beet (using beetroot for salad leaves)
- Issue 12 - December 28th - a winter's airing
- Issue 13 - January 25th - propagated peas (experiments with growing pea shoots)
- Issue 14 - February 22nd - there are more questions... (how experiments often lead to more questions than they answer)
- Issue 15 - March 22nd - mastering lettuce
- Issue 16 - April 26th - windowsill lettuces
- Salads for Awkward Situations #1: Drought
- Salads for Awkward Situations #2: Shade
- Salads for Awkward Situations: Damp (a repeat link to June's Salad Days)
- Edible Flowers For Your Salad
- Tried and Trusted: Lettuce - bloggers and tweeters top recommendations
- Tried and Trusted: Other Leaves - other top leafy recommendations for your salad
- Of Pesky Pests and Dread Diseases - a repeat link to August's Salad Days which has links to what to do if you get any of the common salad leaf pests or diseases
- Red vs Green Lettuce: What Do Slugs and Snails Really Like? A report of a fascinating conversation we've had on why many of our pesky pests seem to prefer green over red lettuce
- Mastering Lettuce - one of my main growing projects of 2013 (a repeat link to March's Salad Days)
- Compost mixes for seed sowing and potting - not a Salad Challenge post per se, but useful
- Let's Eat Shoots AND Leaves! - a guide to sprouting seeds
- Separated at Birth? Sprouted Seeds - comparing light vs dark sprouting
- Forcing the Issue - a little bit about the forcing technique usually used for rhubarb and seakale, but also useful for baby beetroot leaves
- A Closer Look at Microgreens - includes pea shoots as well as microgreens
- Sharing Seeds and Chitting - I've found this useful for pea shoots, peas, parsnips and sweetcorn as well as early potatoes
- How to pick pea shoots - Emma Cooper's guide to how you can keep cropping this useful indoor crop
- We're All Going on a Summer Holiday - a guest post from Cally on what to do about holiday watering
- Collecting seed - pros and cons - Naomi's informative post on how to save lettuce seeds and her thoughts on the process
- Seed Saving at Nursery View - my simple tomato seed saving whilst on holiday, with a link through to Patrick's 'proper' step by step guide to the technique which works for all tomatoes
- Getting to Grips With Biochar - results of my experiments with biochar, which included quite a bit of salad seed sowing and leaf growing
- Of Winter Frosts and Snizzle - how crop protection helps to keep the winter chills at bay
- A Winter's Airing - A repeat link to December's Salad Days with a reminder that crops grown under cover in the winter need airing from time to time to keep mould at bay
- Self-sufficient (ish) - Sally Nex describes a 3 pot technique for the successional growing of mixed salad leaves
- Windowsill lettuces - a repeat link to April 2013's Salad Days where I'm using a Saladgrow to produce indoor grown lettuces
- My Constant Reference Library - the books I've found most useful for the Challenge
- Book Review: 3 For the Salad Challenge - a further 3 books which you may find useful
- British Leafy Salads Association - my post about this and other salad promotional websites
- Random Thoughts and Speculation on Winter Gardening - about winter production possibilities in zone 5b Idaho. Links to lots of further resources for my USA based pals (via Emma Cooper) :)
- Four Season Harvest - Carl Legge's review of a very useful book for both US and UK based growers
- Foraging books, apps and maps - a review by Jane Perrone
- Seed Germination Temperatures - a guide to the minimum temperature requirements of various vegetable seeds
- Seed Viability - 52 Week Salad Challenge's Gwenfar's great post with links to her seed viability charts for vegetables & herbs
- Seedy Penpals - a great scheme started in 2012 by Carl and Mel for blog/twitter pals to exchange seeds, including salads of course ;) The link takes you through to my introductory post. Carl has also set up a great Seedy Penpals Resource list
- Sprouted Seeds Factsheet - my 1 page guide packed with information on which seeds are good for sprouting
- Types of lettuce - The Constant Gardener's handy guide to all things cos and butterhead
- What's the Weather for Salad? - my post about how to calculate when your indoor/outdoor salad growing seasons are. There's also a quick link to finding out your area's frost dates if you're in the UK.
- A Salad by Any Other Name - a guide to the various names given to salad leaves, in the interests of international understanding ;)
- My Bathroom Smells of Pea - quick photo showing my early season pea shoot growing's in full swing :)
- First Salad - a repeat link to March's Salad Days as it shows the first complete salad I've grown this year
- Experimental Salad - a repeat link to April's Salad Days with details of my experiments with biochar seed compost
- Experimental Salad II - a repeat link to July's Guest Post which shows a picture of the seed mat mixed salad leaves I'm trialling (pictured in March). These are doubling up as a biochar experiment too
- Getting to Grips With Biochar - a repeat link to the results of my experiments with biochar, including growing salads. My results differ to those found by most experts and the reasons for this are explored in both the post and the comments
- New Salad Area - a repeat link to the Salad for July post which shows the start of the new salad area I'm developing at the side of the house
- Backdoor Salad - a repeat link to August's Tried and Trusted: Lettuce post which shows the potted salads growing by my back door
- Rich Pickings and Starting Afresh - September's post introducing my new salad growing area as well as considering the proposition of gluts of leaves and how salads started for winter are faring
- The Fennel From My Seedy Penpal - a repeat link to September's Salad Days, showing how my late season's bulb fennel is progressing
- Tucking Up for Winter - a repeat link to October's Salad Days showing winter protection using my cold frame
- Eat to the Beet - a repeat link to November's Salad Days, showing progress with my winter growing of beetroot 'Bull's Blood'
- Of Beetroot, Experiments and Damping Off - report on my first attempts to see if beetroot can be grown like pea shoots as a winter started leaf crop
- Propagated peas - preliminary results from my experiment with growing pea shoots in a propagator
- There Are More Questions - part 2 of my propagator grown pea shoot experiments
- Breaking the Rules: Sprouted Lentils - some surprising results when lentils are left to sprout in the fridge
- Windowsill lettuces - a repeat link to April 2013's Salad Days showing how I'm using a Saladgrow to produce indoor grown lettuces
- Primrose Salad - via my Edible Flowers post
- Make Mine Mint - summarising excellent ideas shared by salad challengers and chatterers, plus some great extras in the comments
- Gooseberry sauce - goes well with oily fish such as mackerel and its accompanying salad
- Salad Glut Busters: Cucumber - lots of ideas for hot and cold dishes
- Last of the Summer Soup - using up the last of the summer's leaves and cucumber
- Raspberry Vinegar - a deliciously fruity alternative to use in salad dressings and more
- Sprouted Lentil and Pea Shoot Salad - suitable for winter windowsill grown produce, also with a summer variation
- The Wonderful World of Tweeted Salads - examples of great salad ideas shared via Twitter
- Universal Pesto - a recipe which works for whatever leaves, nuts and oil you have to hand
Out and About - salads to visit
- Hampton Salad - a look at some of the salad displays at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012
- Tatton Tomatoes - the wonderful display at Tatton Flower Show 2012
- Travellers' Salad: Seattle Farmers' Market - a general look at Farmers' Markets plus the salads I discovered on holiday in 2011
- Travellers' Salad: Places to Visit - some ideas for UK garden visits with good salads on view
- The Ultimate Travellers' Salad - I took our salad on holiday!
- Travellers' Salad: Out on the Streets - examples of salad used in public planting
- VP's VIPs - Charles Dowding - my interview with one of our great salad gurus
- So What Exactly is Salad? - further ponderings on what salad may be in addition to the working definition we have for the purposes of this Challenge - with some great Comments too!
- Supermarket Sweep - a quick look at the bagged salads on offer and a great incentive to start growing your own
- High Tech Salad - a new way of presenting salad at my local supermarket (spring 2012)
- Lettuce is Like... - a great quote I found for Garden Bloggers' Muse Day
- National Tomato Week - what looks like a sadly neglected initiative this year, but a good excuse for us bloggers to celebrate our favourite tomatoes :)
- Pegging Out - a fun way of keeping opened seed packets closed
- To Make a Good Salad - a fantastic Oscar Wilde quote found to celebrate my weekly salad post coinciding with Garden Bloggers' Muse Day
- An update on Grafted Tomatoes - my trip to Suttons to see how this is done commercially which also links to my very popular post introducing the subject
- Mizuna Flowers - a guest post from Marigold about her special discovery
- Salad Humour - a few jokes for 2013's Red Nose Day ;)
The 52 Week Salad Challenge is sponsored by Greenhouse Sensation.
Note to readers: sponsorship goes towards my blogging costs and does not affect my independence.
Note to readers: sponsorship goes towards my blogging costs and does not affect my independence.