Salad greens are very easy to start by seed and can be grown indoors near a sunny window or outdoors on a small balcony since they don't require pollination. You can either start seeds in small pots and transfer them to a larger container when they are ready, or just plant them right in to the soil. The latter is the easiest way for small space indoor gardening.
During peak summer months lettuces tend to "bolt" or grow upright and develop a bitter taste and tough texture, so plan a box for spring or early summer, harvest, and then sow new seeds or add new starts to replant for an autumn salad box. Mix varied colors and leaf textures in your boxes for aesthetics. Different greens will also offer a variety of textures and flavors that will make for an interesting salad. Some greens, such as arugula and escarole, tend to be on the bitter side, while those in the mustard family are spicy and others, like red or green leaf, romaine and butter lettuces are sweeter and mild. A little chervil adds a nice hint of anise to your salad. As well, I like to add edible flowers like nasturtium for a spicy flavor, or borage for a sweeter one. (The flowers will need to be outside, since they need pollination, but the greens can be grown indoors.)
Either buy starts from a local nursery, or order your seeds. The starts are bigger, but I like the variety offered by the seed company Botanical Interests. A few other good places to try are Seed Saver's Exchange, Kitchen Garden Seeds, and The Cook's Garden.
What You Need
Landscaper's cloth (optional)
Seeds or Starts
1. Make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom and (if it's indoors) that there is something to catch the water run-off. If the container doesn't have drainage, drill holes in the bottom.
2. If you'd like, layer landscaper's cloth along the bottom so that when the water runs out, not too much soil goes with it.
3. Fill your contain