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Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

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Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  jillschmill on 3/11/2013, 10:57 am

This will be my 4th year with a SFG, but only my 2nd year trying lettuce, kale, etc. The last couple summers here in STL have been brutal on gardens with heat, so it's hard for me to judge what to expect this year so I'm hoping that those of you who have been growing greens longer might have advice for me.

I noticed last year that I never had enough leaves for even a salad at one time. I just got a couple leaves here, a couple more two days later, etc. Very disappointing. I planted two squares of kale, two of lettuce.

We eat salads almost daily at my house plus I make green juices, so I'd love to get some from my own garden. I'm nervous to use more squares on greens just to have them under-produce again. Does anyone have recommendations for me?? Can anyone share how much yield they get from a square of kale in a good season?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  GaRedClay on 3/11/2013, 11:21 am

I'm new here and really don't know much about the SFG, but I will share how I grow salad. I have a childs plastic sandbox,( a wading pool will do) I put a little water in it, plant the lettuce, carrots, or what ever you want in flower pots. The water will keep it soil moist, and I keep this on my porch, a shady spot will do. If you use celery from the store, save the end, stick it in a pot and it will root and unless you use a lot of celery it will keep you in it.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/11/2013, 11:27 am

I had about 2 squares of kale, 4-5 plants in each. In the heat they needed shade so I used burlap, shown here over a greens box:

They never got really big since I eat them as cut and come again baby greens. I mixed them up with all the other greens I was growing - beet, collards, chard, etc - for my salads, smoothies and stir fries.

If we wanted just kale, I could skip a weekly harvest and let it grow more but I still would have liked more. So this year to avoid having to skip a harvest to get more, I'm planting 6 squares of kale. Actually, I'm increasing ALL my greens plantings AND also plan to over plant them, 16/sq. Then, if I have to thin them, I can eat the pulled ones or transplant them.

Also, maybe the variety you are using doesn't want to grow well in your yard. Wink Maybe mix it up a bit with different kinds to see which works best?

CC
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  quiltbea on 3/11/2013, 12:06 pm

Cape Coddess is right on.

You could also try red malabar spinach for the summer since it likes heat, planted one foot apart. It vines 6-8 feet or more (try one in a tomato cage), and tastes very like spinach. You can pluck off the leaves and eat it fresh or cooked. I'm trying one myself this year.
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/11/2013, 12:32 pm

Quiltbea, thanks for the tip on the Red Malabar Spinach, I need to place another order for a few more seeds, I'll add that in.

I plan to use one of my mini-greenhouse table toppers with shade cloth this summer to grow my greens and also under plant. Since the grocery store it 50 miles away and salads are the main reason I have to give in and go shopping, having my own "fixin's" saves me a LOT of money between fuel (our F250 diesel only gets abut 14 mpg), eating out and impulse spending, LOL!
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  camprn on 3/11/2013, 1:06 pm

I have a few thoughts...
Plant in an area that doesn't get the brutal heat of the day sun. Morning sun is best.

Secondly, make sure watering is consistent.
Thirdly, foliage increases as nitrogen increases. Warning, a little goes a long way, that why for me it's only a sprinkle every few weeks. For all my leafy greens I sprinkle around the root systems a handful of dried blood every few weeks.

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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/11/2013, 4:02 pm

I just placed what should be my last seed order of the season to Baker Creek and bought the red malabar spinach and a New Zealand Spinach that is heat tolerant.

With Camprn's advice, I'm thinking that I try planting my lettuce in some large patio pots that are pretty old and beat but still useful. It would be on the east side of my home where I have a 20 x 40 concrete patio that gets shaded most of the day either by the trees north of it or the house which blocks the afternoon sun.

I was thinking that occasionally hosing the patio down might also cool the area? Has anyone tried that? We're on a good well, so water is plentiful.
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  donnainzone5 on 3/11/2013, 4:22 pm

Based upon my limited experience, New Zealand spinach is quite invasive. Personally, I did not like the taste or texture.
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  happycamper on 3/11/2013, 5:24 pm

Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Arugula and some other greens only need 3-4 hours of sun per day. I plant them behind my tomatoes to provide shade in the summer and in pots so that they can be easily moved to a less sunny area when summer arrives.

To get 3-4 salads per week for my family I plant 4 to 6 squares of lettuce and spinach alone and plant a second crop 3 weeks after the first to make sure I have greens throughout the summer. They require shade during summer, water and good compost in the square before planting.

Taste is a personal preference, I don't care for New Zealand spinach as it is not a true spinach but it does well in the summer. Green Malibar seems to have "thick" leaves and not what I am used to, but it has the taste of spinach and is great when blended (I have never grown Red Malibar). Good Luck!
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  GloriaG on 3/12/2013, 12:52 am

We also eat several salads per week and growing regular spinach, lettuce and arugula is difficult in our hot summers. To overcome this problem, I added a very small 2x2 hydroponic garden inside specifically for lettuce.

In the outside SFG, I found that I can keep the salads greens producing longer in spring if I start them inside then transplant them to a spot in the shade when they're healthy young plants. I also plant more squares than I do in winter when the production is better per plant.

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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  has55 on 3/12/2013, 1:31 am

excellent idea. Thanks for sharing.

has55
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  Pollinator on 3/12/2013, 2:18 am

New Zealand Spinach or Amaranth are heat tolerant. Purslane also comes to mind. Regular spinach and kale grow best here in the winter (coastal SC). These are the only greens I know that work for summer. Personally I like Amaranth better than any other green. It grows wild as a weed, and seed can be saved.
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  landarch on 3/12/2013, 12:38 pm

Like HappyCamper, I do several things with my spring lettuce (bibb, baby romaine, romaine, and buttercrunch): 1) start some lettuce indoors early for transplant, 2) plant multiple squares, 3) stagger direct seeding dates to spread out harvest, 4) sow some squares more dense than 16 per square 5) I leave a bit of room north of my tomato trellises to tuck some lettuce to take advantage of additional summer shade. We can't eat all we pick some days and give extra to friends and neighbors.

Here's a 2x2 box that has an entire seed packet of baby romaine...a neighbor's pine tree shades this box from the intense western setting sun.


Here's that box after some growth...we pick outer leaves as needed then harvest everything when the heat of the summer arrives. I found that planting this dense shaded alot of the inner leaves...staying tender, crisp, and sweet. I planted this box the same way for the fall...and ate lettuce through several frosts. I should use some type of small hoop and cover this year to extend harvest a bit.


garden helper


baby romaine ready for hamburgers, salads, wraps, tacos, sandwiches, etc.




Last edited by landarch on 3/12/2013, 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 3/12/2013, 12:42 pm

I want a garden helper like her Laughing !!!!

Beautiful greens, makes me hungry looking at them!
aj
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/12/2013, 12:48 pm

Oh landarch, that's just adorable! Way too cute for words.

Thanks for posting those photos. I'll put even more lettuce seeds in my squares than I had planned.

CC
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

Post  landarch on 3/12/2013, 12:58 pm

my daughter works cheap...I pay her in radishes. Very Happy
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Re: Disappointed in my yield - not enough for a salad - anyone have suggestions?

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