University of Maryland Extension

Salad Tables™

Do you love the idea of eating home-grown salads from April through November? There are  two types of container gardens that will enable you to produce fresh, flavorful greens close to your backdoor without the need to dig in the soil.

Here are the basic steps…

  1. Build a Salad Table™  or a Salad Box™ 
  2. Choose a Site and Growing Media. Place it on a level and convenient spot
  3. Salad Greens. Select the crops you want to grow
  4. Plant, Fertilize, and Water
  5. Remove extra seedlings so that plants are 1-2 inches apart
  6. Harvesting Salad Greens with scissors
  7. The plants will re-grow for a second cutting. Then, just remove the spent plants and sow another crop!

Salad TableThe University of Maryland Salad Table™ is essentially a shallow wooden frame with a large surface area and a mesh bottom that allows water to drain. You can attach legs of any length you desire or set it on saw horses or other supports. It is portable, versatile, easy and inexpensive to build, and terrific for gardeners of all ages, sizes, and abilities. The Salad Table™ can be moved to capture sunlight in spring and fall and avoid the sun and high heat of summer. Best of all, you can garden comfortably at waist level and avoid problems with rabbits and groundhogs.

Salad Box with mature greens

The University of Maryland Salad Box™ is the baby version of the Salad Table™ and works especially well for kids and folks with small spaces.

Other uses: Some Master Gardeners with productive in-ground vegetable gardens use the Salad Table™ to grow fresh greens and herbs close to their back door. They also use the frames to grow transplants for their garden.

Salad Table™ dimensions

  • The table is made up of a frame that is  58 in. long X 33 in. wide X 3 ½ in. high and is divided into three sections. The frame is supported by four legs and stands 36 in. tall from the ground to the top of the frame. Dimensions and leg heights can be easily adjusted to meet individual needs.
  • The frame has 11.1 sq. ft. total surface area for growing salad greens with a volume of   2.8 cu. ft. (21.8 gal.)

Salad Box™ dimensions

  • The box is 21 in. long X 15 in. wide X 3 ½ in. high, has 2.0  sq. ft. of growing area with a volume of 0.5 cu. ft. (3.75 gal.).

What will it cost to build and use a Salad Table™?

About in $35 in materials to construct (using un-treated construction lumber) and about $20 for seeds, fertilizer, and growing medium.

salad table wheels
Salad Table on Wheels for easy placement in sun or shade. Pressure treated 4x4 legs, cross bars for stability in order to add a 4-6" bottomless frame to grow vegetables with deep root systems.

How long will my Salad table™ or Salad Box™ last?

  • spf (spruce, pine, fir) lumber- untreated: about 4-8 years
  • spf (spruce, pine, fir) lumber- painted or stained: about 8-12 years
  • STK (small tight knots) Western cedar lumber: about 12-15 years

How much can I grow?

Typical growth cycles for salad greens are about 8 weeks (from sowing seeds to removing plants). Lettuce, arugula and other greens can be cut twice each growth cycle. Yields ranged from 1-2 lbs. per Salad Table™ per cutting. The store value of this amount of pre-cut, bagged salad greens @$.75/oz., was $24-$48 per table per 8-week growth cycle. It’s possible to plant one Salad Table™ 3 times each year in Maryland producing a store value of $72-$96.


Video: Salad Table Gardening Part 1

Photo Gallery: Salad Table Construction

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