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Container Salad Garden

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Planting a container salad garden is a quick and easy addition to your porch or patio that also provides delicious lettuces and greens!

salad garden in galvanized bucket

Salad garden in a galvanized bucket

Salad, the types and varieties are endless. With a large selection of lettuces and greens, paired with an innumerable amount of toppings, every person can have their own preferences for what makes a great salad. My hubs loves a crunchy romaine topped with bacon, cheese, and sunflower seeds. I, on the other hand, love the peppery bite of arugula with chunks of feta, thin-sliced red onion, and fresh tomatoes. (Or strawberry salad, delicious!)

I’m willing to bet you also have your preferences for how a salad is constructed. Luckily, salad greens are some of the easiest things to grow in the garden and in containers. Whether growing from seed or plants from a local store, planting a container salad garden is fun and easy! And for instructions on how to make this particular metal tub planter, see my DIY Self-Watering Planter post.

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How to plant a container salad garden

For those without garden space, or who just want to try their hand at a small salad selection, planting a container salad garden is the perfect solution. And if you’ve struggled a bit with a black thumb in the past, growing a container salad garden can help to ease you into gardening success! Here’s what you’ll need for your container salad garden:

  • Medium to Large Container (I used this fabulous metal tub) If you use a tub or bucket, be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage.
  • Quality Potting Soil (I made my own, and here’s the quick DIY Potting Soil recipe.)
  • Granular Fertilizer (Espoma or an organic fertilizer is my pick.)
  • Seeds or Plants (My favorites: Romaine, Kale, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Mesclun, Spinach, Buttercrunch, and Mizuna greens)                                                                                   container salad garden

Creating a Salad Garden 

  1. Begin by making sure your container has adequate drainage. If you purchased an actual “flower” pot from the store, you should be good to go. If you’re using something that wasn’t intended for plants, you may need to grab a drill and make some drainage holes in the bottom. (For my steel tub, I actually made it into a self-watering planter, which I’ll post about later in the week.) Once you have your container chosen and ready, begin by filling 2/3 of the way up with potting soil.                                                      container salad garden
  2. Place fertilizer in the middle of your container. The amount of fertilizer depends on the size of your container (the fertilizer bag will have proportions). I put fertilizer in the middle, and once filled, will plant my greens along the sides, so the roots aren’t sitting on the fertilizer, but it’s still being released to the plants.                                                                                     container salad garden
  3. Fill your container the rest of the way up with potting soil, covering up your fertilizer.                                                                                                                                                                             container salad garden
  4. Now comes the fun part, planting your salad! For seeds, simply follow the packet instructions for depth and spacing, and for plants, choose the varieties you like best and place them around the container, being aware of where your fertilizer is. Choose plants based on color, too. A variety of colors and heights will make for a beautiful, and tasty, container salad garden! (Here I am using Red Russian Kale, Buttercrunch, Mizuna Greens, and Swiss Chard.) Space your plants out so they have plenty of room to grow. You can always come back and add more later if there is room.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  container salad garden
  5. Water your seeds or plants, being careful to avoid wetting the leaves. Finally, if you’ve used plants, mulch around them, because this helps retain moisture, which is important when planting a container garden. If you have used seeds, you can sow thickly enough that the plants themselves will help to shade the soil and keep in moisture. Now sit back and watch your little babies grow!   

Here is the container salad garden three weeks later! Harvest as the leaves get large enough and be sure to keep your salad well watered, but not swimming. I’d love to know what you choose to grow in your container salad garden!

container salad garden

Here’s a video of how I planted my container salad garden:


Friday 18th of January 2019

Is the PVC tube for watering? Why not just water regularly like you would any pot? Sorry if I missed the answer somewhere.


Saturday 19th of January 2019

Great question! In my post on how to build the DIY Self-Watering Planter, I explain that plants actually prefer to be watered from the bottom, as in nature. This also keeps water off of the leaves, and it lets plants absorb water as needed. Thanks for stopping by!


Friday 18th of January 2019

Do you prepare anything with the pvc pipe( holes or anything) before putting in the container?


Friday 18th of January 2019

Hi Vikki, no. Since the bottom of the container has ridges, I just made sure the pvc pipe wasn't flush with the bottom, so water could flow into the reservoir. I hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by!

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