GARDENING: Containing your salad excitement

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LEAVES. Bits of hedge. Fancy salad leaves don’t go down well with my family, but they’re one of the priciest things you buy at the supermarket, when they’re so easy to grow, almost all year round.

If you’re after perfect, full-hearted traditional lettuce, then you’re better off growing them in a raised bed or border, but cut-and-come again seed mixes are perfect for containers, so you don’t even need a garden.

I’ve been the lucky recipient of one of Suttons Stacks of Flavour boxes – a concept where you can create your own growing spaces out of treated wooden boxes – and they can be personalised, as you can see.

Mine’s the Salad Garden box, which consists of a crate tray (53cmx36cmx9cm), an inner liner and four packets of seeds – Salad Californian Mix, Salad Italian Mix, Salad Oriental Mix and Cos Lettuce Dexter.

The personalisation of the crate is free (20 upper or lower case character limit per slat).

The tough boxes are made from 12mm FSC sustainably sourced wood and have a three-year protective treatment.

My package should have cost £35.68, but it’s on offer now for £20.

The crates have one, two or three slats, depending on the type of crop you want to grow, and come complete with seeds, or you can buy the boxes on their own.

Prices range from RRP £35.68 to £51.97, but in the clearance sale are reduced to £20-£38. For more details, log on to www.suttons.co.uk.

Filling in the gaps

AS letttuce and related leaves germinate and mature quickly, they’re ideal for filling any gaps in you veg (or even flower) beds.

Lettuce should be sown every week or fortnight, so you spread your crop during the growing season – no good having 80 ready at once!

Fit in small rows as earlier crops such as potatoes and summer roots are harvested. A note of caution – lettuce is one of the few crops that appreciate a little bit of shade and slightly cooler temperatures on the hottest days.

Germination is inhibited in high temperatures, so be warned.