Growing Garden Greens

image of lettuce with title of post and logo

Growing greens is a fun and easy experience, whether you’re cultivating them in a garden plot, raised beds, containers, or even indoors. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you grow greens successfully. 

How to grow garden greens

  1. Select Your Location
    Greens generally thrive in full sun to partial shade, so choose a location that receives at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. If you’re growing greens indoors, place them near a sunny window or provide supplemental grow lights.
  2. Prepare the Soil
    Greens prefer well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or aged manure to improve its texture and fertility. 
  3. Choose Your Varieties
    There are countless varieties of greens to choose from, including lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, Bok Choy, and mustard greens. Consider your climate, preferred taste, and desired harvest time when selecting varieties.
  4. Planting Seeds
    Greens can be grown from seeds. Plant seeds directly in the garden soil or in containers according to the recommended spacing on the seed packet.
  5. Watering
    Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water your greens regularly, especially during dry spells or hot weather. Use a watering can or drip irrigation to apply water directly to the soil, avoiding wetting the foliage to reduce the risk of disease.
  6. Mulching
    Mulch the soil surface with organic materials like straw, shredded leaves, or grass clippings to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching also helps prevent soil erosion and compaction. Alternatively, you can use my method of covering the garden with landscape fabric. 
  7. Fertilizing
    Greens are relatively heavy feeders, so fertilize them regularly with a balanced fertilizer or organic compost tea to promote healthy growth and abundant harvests. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for application rates and frequency. If using home compost– add it to the soil around your greens a couple times per season.
  8. Pest and Disease Management
    Monitor your greens regularly for signs of pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and slugs, as well as common diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew. Control pests and diseases promptly using organic methods such as hand-picking or using Neem oil.
  9. Harvesting
    Harvest your greens when they reach the desired size, typically before they bolt or become overly mature. Use clean scissors or garden shears to cut off the leaf tops, and leave about an inch to regrow. Harvest in the morning for the freshest flavor and highest moisture content. Rinse your greens in a salad spinner before eating.
  10. Enjoying
    Incorporate your homegrown greens into salads, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, stir-fries, soups, and other culinary creations. Experiment with different recipes and cooking methods to savor the delicious flavors and nutritional benefits of your harvest.

By following these steps and providing your greens with the proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, nutritious greens to enjoy throughout the growing season. 

Nutrition benefits of garden greens

Greens have fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and many other micronutrients. Including greens in your meals can promote brain health and reduce risks of chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes. 

How to eat greens

Garden greens are incredibly versatile. Here are several ideas to use greens in your cooking:

  • Simple salads
  • Burger toppings
  • Taco toppings
  • Green smoothies
  • Soups
  • Casseroles
  • Omelet add ins
kale salad in black bowl on wood table

Simple Kale Salad

Liz Burkland
Elevate your salad with toasted bread crumbs, almonds, and raisins.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 2

Equipment

  • 1 skillet pan
  • 1 salad bowl
  • 1 chef knife
  • 1 cutting board

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil split into two 1 tbsp servings
  • 1 pinch kosher salt flaky
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins

Instructions
 

  • Toast bread crumbs, slivered almonds, and raisins on preheated pan in 1 T olive oil until bread crumbs are golden brown (about 3 minutes)
  • Strip the kale by holding onto the stem and pulling off the leafy part. Chop kale with chef knife into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add 1 T olive oil to kale and sprinkle on salt. Massage into kale with your hands (this softens the kale- skip massage if using soft greens like spinach, arugula, or spring mix).
  • Drizzle on balsamic vinegar, add bread crumbs, almonds, and raisins. Enjoy!
Keyword garden greens, salad, side dish, vegetables

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