Colorful Salad Colander

Sow red and green leaf lettuce seeds in a vintage colander for a stunning effect inspired by patchwork. It makes an impressive display at dinner parties where guests can cut their own fresh salad leaves.

TIME IT RIGHT Sow cut-and-come-again lettuce from spring to early fall and also through fall and into winter by using seasonal varieties. You should be cutting the first harvest in 4-5 weeks.

SEED LIST

image76image77Batavia leaf lettuce Red leaf lettuce

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1

Place your colander upside down on some thick cardstock and draw around the rim. Then draw another circle inside the outline, 34-1%in (2-4cm) smaller.

Within the smaller circle, draw your stencil design. Keep it simple; we divided the circle into four quadrants. Cut out your stencil, and keep all the shapes.

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— Project Steps

 

3 Place a hanging-basket liner inside the colander—this will help to keep soil and moisture inside the container. Cut to shape, to just below the rim for a cleaner look.

 

4 Fill the colander with

multipurpose potting mix to just under the level of the liner, then tap the colander down on a hard surface to get rid of any air pockets and to level the surface.

 

3 Water the soil surface well at this stage so as not to disperse the seeds in the design.

 

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Colorful Salad Colander

Care Advice

 

Watering You won’t need to water for a few days to start with since you have watered the soil mix before sowing; it is then best to spray with a mister to stop seeds from dispersing before germination and disrupting the design. Make sure the soil mix doesn’t dry out. Water overhead once seeds have germinated using a watering can with a fine nozzle, but do not overwater since the small seedlings may die off in too much moisture. In very dry summer conditions, place the colander in a container filled with water up to the level of the colander’s base so that it absorbs water from underneath; this method will also stop seeds from dispersing before germination.

 

Thin out after germination by lightly pulling seedlings from the soil mix. This increases air circulation and helps to keep the plants less congested and the design more structured.

 

Feeding Use a light l iquid feed between harvests to encourage more leaves to grow back for cutting.

 

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Colorful Salad Colander

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6

Cover alternate sections of the design with stencils and sow lettuce seeds of one color, then cover the sown areas with stencils and sow the remaining areas with the other lettuce seeds.

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7

Remove stencils and sprinkle a layer of soil mix over all the seeds to cover them lightly, then place in a warm, bright place, or outside in summer. Note that red lettuce seedlings will be green at first and then change to red as the plants mature.

More Salad Planting Ideas

Why not try growing lettuce in other containers? Wicker baskets are great because, like colanders, they allow drainage. Metal adds a vintage look, while for something quirky, cut the base off plastic milk jugs, plant them, and hang on a wall. Lettuces can be decorative; they’re perfect to plant on the edges of beds and with other herbs and ornamental plants in containers.

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image95"As well as lettuce, you can grow plenty of edible flowers that will add a splash of color to your planting and an unusual zing to your salads, such as calendula (top center), nasturtiums, pansies, and primroses.

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