From farmers' markets and supermarkets to gourmet restaurants and backyard gardens, Leafy Greens (Lettuce, Mustard, Spinach, and Collards) are popular for their various textures, sweet or pungent flavors, beautiful colors, and nutritional value. They're versatile and fast growing, can be harvested at most any stage, are delicious raw or cooked, and in warmer climates can be grown year-round. For flavor, beauty, nutrition, and ease of cultivation, you can't beat the numerous, wonderful varieties of Lettuce and Greens!
Choosing a Variety
There's a world of terrific options when it comes to choosing which types of Lettuce and Greens to grow. These versatile veggies come in all shades of green and red, offer flavors from sweet to pungent, and provide a delightful range of textures, from crunchy to tender and smooth to frilly. And best of all, each one is easy to grow, great for beginning gardeners, and completely scrumptious!
When to Start
Lettuce and Greens are best started outdoors as soon as the soil can be workedin early spring or late summer (for a fall crop). For those living in zones 8 and warmer, sow your seeds in early fall for a winter harvest.
As long as the temperature stays below 80 degrees F, you can keep making successive sowings -- every two weeks is typical -- to extend your harvest. As summer approaches, however, you will want to plant varieties that tolerate heat and resist bolting (producing flowers and seeds too soon).
If you choose to sow your seeds indoors, do so 4 weeks before planting out, at a temperature of 65 to 68 degrees F. Expect germination in 7 to 10 days.
How to Start
Leafy Greens prefer fertile, well-drained soil, so before planting add compost or manure. This will provide important nutrients and improve drainage.
They will produce in light shade but grow the best in areas with full sun exposure.
Seeds should be scattered in a row and covered lightly with soil. Keep the soil moist until they germinate.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
This variety is round-leafed and very dark green, with heads about 8 to 10 inches high. Compact and tightly packed, it's ready to pick nearly two weeks before most others, and then just keeps going! Pick the leaves individually over a long season -- Renegade won't quit on you!
Resistant to Mildew races 1-7, this plant adapts to a great variety of soils and growing conditions. It's a super choice for first-time gardeners and anyone who's had trouble with Spinach in the past.
Great for spring and fall crops, Spinach is a cool-season vegetable. Plant in early spring as soon as the soil is workable, or sow in late summer for a fall crop that will winter over in mild areas and produce new leaves again in spring! Pkt is 400 seeds.
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