Salad Tables 2.0

This is a good time of year for cleaning up tools, getting containers ready for starting plants, and maybe even building a Salad Table! The first University of Maryland salad tables were constructed at the Home & Garden Information Center in 2006. The idea for a waist-high raised container garden was based on a row of metal frames on legs I had seen at the edge of a woods at the Accokeek Foundation’s Ecosystem Farm. It was August and the shallow frames were filled with beautiful salad greens. I adapted the design to make it relatively easy and inexpensive to build.

The “University of Maryland Salad Table” carries a State of Maryland trademark for name recognition but was always intended to be an open-source gardening tool. It was popularized in a New York Times article by Anne Raver (a former UME master Gardener!), and by an appearance on the Martha Stewart Show. It has been built and used by gardeners of all ages and circumstances. Videos and building and growing instructions for Salad Tables and Salad Boxes are on the HGIC website.

Check out the many ways that people have adapted the Salad Table to improve performance and meet specific gardening needs. The Salad Table’s mobility and versatility make it a useful DIY climate change adaption tool for small-scale food production.

Arms and wheels

Arms and wheels

Locking casters allow for easy movement to capture more or less sunlight.

 

Salad table with arms

Adding “arms” eliminates the need for front wheels or casters.

 

Kid-sized

Kid sized table

Give youth a green thumb by giving them a table that fits.

Deeper frames

Stacked salad tables

Salad greens and green beans grow well in frames made from 2X4s or 2X6s. Stack them together for container-type tomato cultivars.

 

Cherry tomatoes in salad table

Cascading cherry tomato cultivars grow beautifully in 9-in. deep Salad Tables.

Self-watering

Table with plastic containers

This popular design shared on the Instructables website uses plastic storage containers fitted with overflow pipes.

 

Self-watering container table

Self-watering containers eliminate the need for daily watering during warmer weather.

Season extension

Row cover table

Clear plastic and floating row covers help extend the season and exclude pests. You can easily install 1/2 inch or ¾ inch PVC bows to support covers.

Critter protection

Cage table

Fellow Maryland Grows blogger Erica Smith uses this design to exclude birds, squirrels, and other animals.

Hydroponics

Hydroponic salad table

The University of Minnesota has experimented with multiple hydroponic designs as part of their Hydroponic Salad Table project.

Have you built or been using a unique or improved Salad Table? I’d love to hear about it. Send photos and a description to jont@umd.edu. Thanks!

 

By Jon Traunfeld, Director, Home & Garden Information Center

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: