it’s not rocket science…or is it?

This morning I sat in a coffee shop on Botanic Avenue and tried to work out a plan for growing rocket and other salads. Even using a very rough calculation it would be worth my while to spend a day thinking about this.

I would say on average we spend £1.50 on salad at St George’s Market or the Co-Op. Then most weeks the rocket or oriental salad is half eaten and thrown in the brown bin.

If we take £1.50 x 52 weeks that equals £78 a year on salad.
Which if you earned £7 an hour would be nearly 11hrs of work.

Plus the plastic packaging that is thrown out, and the salad that is thrown out.

But alas, there are a few problems that I need to iron out if I want to grow some salad.

1. Our garden and yard is shade central. It’s a narrow garden, with a high fence, with big trees behind that fence, and facing the wrong way finally finished off by a our house which blocks the sun for most of the day.

Basically there are only a few places that would be sheltered from the wind and sunny.

2 We rent a house that has garden with big shrubs and bushes planted in those parts of the garden you would like to plant beetroot or kale in. As we’re only going to be renting for a few more years at most I don’t think it would be right to ask to dig up the bushes for the sake of a few kale or beetroot.

3 I have little desire for the yearly slug fight. We need to build some type of slug fortress or else the slugs can have my rocket.

4 I am basically full of good intentions, but don’t want to exert maximum effort to obtain results. The salad growing operation needs to be easy.

5 We have a lack of decent soil.

6 I can not get a handle on sowing every few weeks to make sure that there is a constant supply of salad. Usually there is a one morning in April sowing and that is it. So I need to make it easy to get into the pattern of planting.

So basically I have sketched out an idea that I think might work involving a black plastic bin that I have been using for compost and an idea I saw a few years back at Greenbelt. The charity Send-a-Cow had bag garden kits. I was wondering it I could do it with my black plastic bin, provided it is strong enough to hold soil while full of holes. That is a job for tomorrow sorted out then

3 thoughts on “it’s not rocket science…or is it?”

  1. we grew rocket last year in a wee 12 inch across basket, there was some basil and chives in the same pot, but the rocket kind of went crazy and took it over.

    i’m gonna re plant some again this year and try some spinach too

    between the spinach and rocket combined that’s where all our salad money goes in the supermarket.

    i fancy doing the wee tomatoes but i think i’d need some kind of greenhouse for that

    1. I grew basil last year indoors and some tomatoes outdoors in the sheltered part (with special emphasis on the word some).
      But I’m not going to bother with them again unless we ever have a greenhouse because they are too much work and the blight likes them too much.

      You’re right,spinach is another money eater. Chard is good to grow and easy but it doesn’t taste great in salads.
      And Chinese greens like mizuna and mibuna, mustards are good for stir fry stuff and salads as well so I might experiment with them a bit this year.

      Plus herbs.
      This is really but I’ve just come back from church and I kept drifting off and thinking about broad beans.

  2. I have to admit that I never actually knew why it is called rocket. I have since discovered that it is probably from the French word, but for a brief time I thought it was because of the spicy taste. I thought this when we grew some ourselves. It really was extremely more flavoursome, worlds apart from the packets. At first I panicked and thought my taste instincts were kicking in because I had accidentally munched a deadly weed! If you can get even a little to grow then it is worth it. We too need to space the planting out a few weeks to ensure we have some and not too much. It is a great salad to simply groom with scissors every few days until it rockets up (sorry) to flower.

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