a woman standing next to a salad table planted with lettuces
Updated: March 8, 2024

Steps for growing vegetables in Salad Tables™ or Salad boxes™

  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!  

The 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.
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 an 11.1 sq. ft. total surface area for growing salad greens with a volume of   2.8 cu. ft. (21.8 gals.

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.

a salad box filled with greens ready to harvest

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 gals.). 

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

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

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

salad table with wheels
Salad table with wheels

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.

Still have a question? Contact us at Ask Extension.