Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My freebie salad bowl

Oh goody, free seeds attached to the cover of the magazine! In this case it was the mag I work for, but free seeds are free seeds and every time I get some from whatever quarter, I like to have a go at sowing and growing them. In the case of our mag, I do it to make sure they actually work. In the past we've given away stacks of different tomato seeds and they've all been a roaring success, if the letters and photos from readers is any guide, but this time the freebie to lure in magazine buyers was this packet of free seeds which came attached to the September issue.

It's called the 'micro-salad mix' and the idea is
that you sow them thickly and harvest them as
baby greens (which hopefully regrow after you
pick them – well, that's the theory). The seed
packet says it's a mix of Amaranthus mira,
beet 'Detroit', corn salad  and spinach.

So far so good with the first stage. Instead of being careful I
just grabbed a small handful of seed (about one quarter of the
whole packet) and scattered them evenly over the potting
mix, and covered the seed with a light coating of seed-raising
mix. They took about 10 days to sprout, and this is how they
looked after another two to three weeks. The pellets on the
surface are some slow-release fertiliser I added.

Since then I have been harvesting, regrowing, harvesting,
regrowing etc etc, applying some organic liquid plant food
about once a fortnight. This photo was taken last week,
on Wednesday, of me harvesting with scissors, cutting off
enough salad greens for a little salad for lunch that day.

The nice thing about the seed mix is that no matter where or
how you cut, you end up with a 'mixed' green salad.

And here's the same bowl, photo taken from the same angle,
six days later. Now, I'm not sure if the cut-off plants have
regrown, or other plants once suppressed in the thick jungle
of competing greens have finally got their opportunity to grow
and thrive, but whatever the sequence, I'm harvesting a steady

supply of mixed salad greens from this one bowl, and the
plants bounce back from harvesting literally within days.
One big tip: apply lots and lots of water to keep all those
competing plantlets happy – it's a thirsty bowl!

So, our free seeds work very nicely, it seems. I'm so impressed that I'm now going to scrounge the office to see if there are any spare seed packets anywhere, so I can keep the supply up for as long as possible into next year.

One interesting little snippet about free seeds on magazine covers is that we have discovered a perverse way of rating their popularity. The obvious yardstick would be magazine sales (it works!), but we've found another popularity meter: thefts! You would not believe the number of people who contact us to say they bought the magazine but there weren't any free seeds attached, someone must have stolen them and could they have some. I am of course shocked and appalled to think that some of my fellow gardeners would be light-fingered thieves, but apparently it's true! 

Nevertheless, whether you stole your seeds or bought them, I hope they worked just fine for you. I'm planning to be a salad bowl farmer from now on.


Missy Piggy said...

Looks like a great little crop - I'll be sure to buy your mag this month (good marketing)!

Jamie said...

Missy Piggy

Sure, buy our latest issue, but I don't want to mislead you: these seeds came with our September issue, which is no longer on sale!

Jess said...

I'm a subscriber so mine arrived dutifully in the mail - I planted them about 3 weeks ago with some other lettuce seeds mixed in ... they're going really well right now in a self-watering pot!


Dirtgirl said...

Have grown and eaten all my free micro greens! Loved them in sandwiches. When they finally stopped producing I gave the growing tray to my chooks who duly ate every last skerrick of roots and cut off stems!

Lucy said...

Some people spend time going through the catalogues, others, it seems, invest in going along the shelves.