Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Gratitude: Salad table

A few months ago, we met some of my husband’s old friends. During the course of our conversation, I found out about her Salad Table – a complete hydroponic solution for would-be home farmers. Intrigued, I ordered one and set it up.

Salad table is up and running

A few weeks later, this is what it looked like. I got my Salad Table at the start of spring, which was perfect tomato growing time, so the top shelf was full of tomatoes. I also had a few different types of chinese vegetables, celery, mint, basil, coriander, and different types of salad leaves. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of growing my own vegetables, knowing I’m feeding my family with sustainable, organic, zero food miles home-grown vegetables.

My Salad Table has contributed to so many different home-cooked dishes. Our celery goes into a variety of soups, salads and stews, and it’s so much better to snip off stalks as required than to buy a gigantic head of celery that we can then never finish before it wilts. Our choi (chinese vegetables) have gone into so many Asian dishes, from kimchi fried rice to steamed spare ribs. Our tomatoes were so prolific that we ended up roasting them up to make two batches of tomato sauce, which was used to top some amazing pasta dishes.

Home grown gigantic pak choy in the Salad Table

I can’t recommend the Salad Table enough. It is such a simple, easy solution for anyone who’s ever dreamed of growing their own vegetables. They have a few different sizes, most are which are flat like a table (hence the name). Due to space constraints, I got the vertical version. They come with little seed growing pods where you start your seeds. The pods look like squares of chocolate, and once large enough to put in the table, you simply break off each square and drop them into one of the holes in the Salad Table. They also come with the nutrient solution to feed your plants, a 60L tank to store the water, and a pump that cycles the water through the table.

I’ve had my Salad Table for about six months now, and here are some lessons I’ve learnt:

  • When growing tomatoes, make sure to only put one seed in each pod. I made the mistake of putting two or three seeds in the one seed pod, and didn’t pinch out the weakest one so my Salad Table became a bit top heavy and overloaded. The roots of the tomato plant are fairly large as well, so they often blocked up the channel, which caused leaking issues.
  • Do not, whatever you do, grow mint in the Salad Table. I put not one but two mint plants in my Salad Table, and the roots went wild. I found mint plants sprouting up all along the channel, and the roots got so big and invasive that it blocked up the whole channel and caused lots of leaks. On the plus side, when I finally culled the mint, I made enough mint tea to last me for a year.
  • When growing choi (Chinese vegetables) or lettuce, plant about 3 seeds in one pod. That will grow into a satisfyingly large bunch.
  • Try not to put your Salad Table somewhere too windy. My balcony is south facing and whenever a strong Southerly wind kicks up, the only thing stopping my vertical Salad Table from tipping over is the large sandbags I’ve got on the bottom. Also, the wind gives the frame such a shaking that all the pipe connections come loose and the thing leaks like a sieve. Luckily, most of the time, the Southerly blows overnight, so I simply switch off the water pump, tighten the connections in the morning, and switch it back on again.
  • Use a timer. You can leave the water running all the time, but I’ve got an automatic timer on mine that has the water running for 2 hours, followed by a break of an hour during the day, and running for 1 hour, followed by a break of 2 hours during the night. Comparing my water usage before and after installing the timer, I’ve definitely saved a lot of water and the plants didn’t suffer from it.

Today, I’m grateful for bumping into old friends and learning about something new. I’m grateful for my Salad Table that’s providing us with fresh vegetables all year round. I’m also grateful that I started this before the world went mad and there are now no more vegetable seeds to be found. Luckily, I still have a bunch of seeds from when I first started my Salad Table adventure.

What are you grateful for?

One comment on “Gratitude: Salad table

  1. Pingback: Gratitude: Our food supply chain | Penne 4 Your Thoughts

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2020 by in Gratitude and tagged , , , , .

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