Practical Gardening – Grow Your Own Greens

Growing your own greens can cover a multitude – there are, after all, plenty of greens to think about. We all know that eating our greens are good for us so what could be better than growing our own greens? They don’t come much fresher or tastier than straight from the garden to the plate.

There are lots of different types of green to consider but today we’re going to think specifically about salad crops. Now don’t click over, I know what you’re thinking – boring old lettuce. There are actually loads of varieties of green salad crops which can be grown quite easily.

Right, let’s start with lettuce, now what about chard and spinach, some kale and mustard is also nice from the cabbage family and what about growing some of the less well known greens like corn salad, chicory, radicchio or escarole. None of these greens take up too much valuable garden space but they can make a big, tasty difference to a fresh, crunchy summer salad.

download (46)The most popular way of growing lettuce and other greens is using space saving rows which leaves lots of room to try many of the different varieties of greens. Why not splash out on an extra seed packet or two and give them a try – it won’t cost the earth but it could be a very tasty experiment. Try out three or four different types of lettuce and greens so that you can really enjoy a good variety of salads right through the summer.

Top Tip – people who live in hotter climates may find it beneficial to plant things like spinach and lettuce in partial shade – this will help to prevent them from bolting during the hotter months.

It’s always a good idea to start off lettuce and other greens indoors then transplant them for an early spring harvest, you may even live in the right location for a fall crop. Cool-weather greens do need some shade so that’s definitely worth thinking about before you start planting.

download (48)Lettuce and other greens will quite happily mix with other vegetable crops. You could always plant lettuce, onions and carrots in the same row (around 16 inches across) then harvest the lettuce whilst it is still very young leaving plenty of space for the onions and carrots to expand. You can do the same sort of thing with spinach and beets – mixing and matching and making the most of your vegetable garden space available.

One mistake which many newbie vegetable gardeners make is to plant too many vegetables at one time. Think about it, you can’t eat a whole row of lettuces all at once so it makes sense to plant short successive rows to that they don’t all mature and get ready for harvest at once. Think about how many mouths there are to feed in your family and work it out.

Lettuce can also make a rather attractive addition to a floral border, particularly the curly cress. The  bright green foliage can look lovely and provide a great contrast with the flowers – a beautiful edible border – whatever next?

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