Urban Farming Tip: Plant a Cut-and-Come-Again Salad Mix Windowbox

Do you wish you could grow some of your own food but live in an apartment or other situation where access to a plot of dirt is limited, maybe even nonexistent? Then consider starting a small lettuce garden in a window box! We recommend going for a cut-and-come-again salad mix for optimal variety in taste and a longer harvest season.The cut-and-come-again method is simple: purchase a package of mixed lettuce seeds and sow them into a window box. As the lettuces start to grow, cut the individual leaves for your salads or sandwiches. The plant will continue to grow and produce leaves even after several cuttings, thus assuring a constant supply and avoiding the problem of having all your lettuces come to maturity at once.

Things to Consider:
• Check with your landlord to be sure it's OK for you to have a window box and be sure that your box is securely fastened to your building.
• This method will also work in pots on a porch or terrace.
• Choose a window with lots of sunshine, but be prepared to cover your lettuces as the summer heats up. A window that gets light shade is good for early summer sowing in moderate climates.
• If your box is big enough, make small, successive sowings in two rows so you will have a constant supply. Or, sow one half of the box and then a few weeks later, sow the other half.

Seed Sources:
Renee's Garden has a wide variety of lettuce mixes. I like their Heirloom Cutting Mix (Speckled Troutback, Blush Butter Cos, Red Ruffled Oak, Green Devil's Tongue, and crisp Sucrine) and their Italian Misticanza (chicories and endives, along with red and green Italian lettuces). $2.79 a packet.
• The Cook's Garden carries a Heatwave Blend that will do well in the summer's heat as well as their Cutting Mix. $3.95 a packet

Cut-and-Come-Again Gardening Advice:
Veggie Gardening Tips
Fine Gardening
Gardenfork (video)
Urban Garden Casual

Related: Planning your Vegetable Garden: The Seed Catalog Roundup

(Image: Maria Finn via Apartment Therapy)

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.

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