3. Center window screening on outside bottom of frame. Stretch it tautly over frame (a second set of hands is helpful for this), fold excess screening evenly up sides of frame, and staple it to the frame bottom and sides using a staple gun.
4. Center hardware cloth over the window screening, pull taut, and staple to bottom of frame. Use roofing nails and hammer to nail hardware cloth to bottom of frame for additional support. Use tin snips to cut out each corner of hardware cloth and fold over sides of frame. Secure to sides with staples and roofing nails. Set on sawhorses and prepare for planting.
Planting a salad table
Seeds of a variety of greens, including lettuce, spinach, mustard, cabbage, radishes, beet greens, mizuna, mâche, and cress
Organic time-release fertilizer or cottonseed meal
1. Select a level location to set out salad table. Make sure there is easy access to water so plants can be irrigated regularly. Salad greens grow best in full sun in cooler weather. As weather becomes hot, move to a shadier spot, since too much sunlight will make greens bolt or go to seed.
2. Fill frame with potting mix and create shallow furrows in each compartment about 4 to 5 inches apart. Sow seeds about 1 inch apart and water in well. If plants are too close together, any thinnings can be harvested young and used as baby greens. Most seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 days. Keep soil evenly moist.
3. Harvest as needed. By cutting some greens with scissors, you should be able to get several harvests from one planting before needing to sow fresh seed.
Excerpted from Cultivating Life by Sean Conway (Artisan Books). Copyright 2009.