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How to Grow a Container Salad Garden in Sarasota, FL

Planting salad bowl gardens is the ideal way to enjoy fresh chemical-free plants and veggies in Sarasota, FL. In addition, these types of gardens are perfect for those in Sarasota without yards or with small yard space. Salad bowl gardens can be cultivated in containers or on small sections of land. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Sarasota FL Container Salad Garden
by Brian Patrick Flynn

Knowing what Crops to Plant

In addition to its year-round sunny skies and fresh orange juice, Florida is also known as the “Winter Salad Bowl” of the states. Veggie planting takes place every month in the Sunshine State. Residents in Florida can easily grow cool season crops like broccoli, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, carrots, strawberries, turnips and kohlrabi in November and December. These plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil and add to a culinary delight of healthy living. These winter veggies thrive well in the cooler months due to their temperate origin and innate ability to adapt to the colder temperatures. Veggies like cucumbers, squash tomatoes, and peppers are warm season vegetables, and it’s best to plant these in the summer and spring months.

Gearing Up with Supplies

A container, rich soil with plenty of organic nutrients, and seedlings are just about all you need to cultivate a salad bowl garden. If you’re starting the seeds indoors, you can use fluorescent lights over small containers or flats. Just keep in mind that the bulbs should be no more than two inches above the seedlings, and a timer should be used for 15 hours of lighting. Once the seedlings have their first set of leaves, they can be transplanted to the outdoor garden. If the seedlings are in an area with intense sunlight, shade netting supported by hoops can be used. This knitted net reduces the sunlight by approximately 50 percent.

Lettuce and Basil

For a long season of salad greens, you can plant different varieties of lettuce. Black-Seeded Simpson, Artic King, and Winter Marvel are ideal for winter planting. Heat-tolerant lettuce varieties like Rosalita, Red Butterworth, and Larissa are ideal for warm weather planting. Lettuce can be re-harvested by trimming the entire heads with a scissor. Even though this vegetable has a winter dormancy it quickly thrives when the sunlight returns.

The spring season in Florida is the ideal time to plant basil. This delicious herb thrives well in the humid Florida summer weather. Just be sure to keep it well-irrigated on those hot days. You’ll know that the plant is well-hydrated when its leaves stand erect.

From garden to salad bowl, you can have a year-round delight of nutritious veggies and herbs with Florida’s moderate climate. Get planting and get healthy!

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