52 Week Salad Challenge

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.

Inaugural Posts
What You Can Do and Harvest This Month
  • 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
  • A Year of Salad Flowers - suggestions for year-round floral additions for salads

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
  • Issue 17 - May 24th - off experimenting again (growing oca and yields obtained from different harvesting methods for lettuce)
  • Issue 18 - June 28th - a line-up of some of the different lettuce leaves
  • Issue 19 - July 26th - a look at self-watering containers and an introduction to hydroponics
  • Issue 20 - August 23rd - using seed tapes
  • Issue 21 - September 27th - plant rescue needed (trying out Delfland nurseries' wares)
  • Issue 22 - October 25th - Lattughino verde - a very different leaf shape for a lettuce
  • Issue 23 - November 22nd - Hunkered down for winter
  • Issue 24 - December 27th - Food for Thought - the surprising news that salad growing/foraging can be a political act
  • Issue 25 - January 27th - Roots n Shoots - a fresh look at growing at this time of the year
  • Issue 26 - February 28th - Famine and Feast. Showing how differently pea shoots can grow under the same conditions
  • Issue 27 - March 28th - Easy Art Print Review. I now have salad leaves decorating my kitchen
  • Issue 28 - April 25th - New Perennials, Winter Survivors and Early Flowers
  • Issue 29 - May 23rd - Ground Breaking Food Gardens. My entry in this fab book
  • Issue 30 - June 27th - Intercropping, Limp Lettuce & Nightshade Tomatoes. Some interesting discoveries made this month
  • Issue 31 - July 25th - an eye opening R4 Food Programme about salad leaves reinforces why it's great to do the 52 Week Salad Challenge
  • Issue 32 - August 22nd - a review of the distinctive new tomato variety 'Indigo Rose'.
  • Issue 33 - September 26th - my simple 4-step guide to ensuring you get a great salad every time
  • Issue 34 - October 24th - an autumnal experiment and an update on tomato 'Indigo Rose'
Ad hoc
  • Issue 35 - August 2016 - a fab new salad book, plus crunchy crouton and salad dressing favourites 



- links to further useful info both within and outside the Challenge

My Progress
  • 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
  • New perennials - a repeat link to April 2014's Salad Days where I've added some perennials to my salad growing repertoire
  • Wordless Wednesday: Effortless Patio Salad - my pot grown salad makes a bid for freedom


Out and About - salads to visit

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.

Your essential reads

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Testing Times: Tomatoes

Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

Things in unusual places #26: Rubber Ducks

The Resilient Garden

#mygardenrightnow: heading into summer with the Chelsea Fringe

Merry Christmas!

Introducing the #mygardenrightnow project

That blue flower: A spring spotter's guide