Garden to Table: Winter Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are a category of vegetables that have edible leaves like lettuce, spinach, and kale. You love them in salads and as healthy side dishes.
But did you know that among veggies, leafy greens are able to thrive in shade better than most? Well, it’s true, and the hardier greens – kales and cabbages especially – can grow and retain water very well in partial shade.
The downside of growing leafy greens, or any other veggies for that matter, in full or partial shade, however, is that they can be susceptible to mildew. Planting in a location with morning sun and/or using a fungicide can help eliminate the risk of mildew. (We stock an excellent fungicide… ask us about it!)
Our Winter Favorites
- For salads we recommend growing romaine and buttercrunch lettuce, arugula, and certain varieties of kale, spinach, and strawberry spinach.
- For soups we recommend growing all kinds of kale and cabbage
- For wraps and sandwiches try growing bok choi and your favorite lettuces.
Keys to a Successful Harvest
Picking spinach and kale at the baby stage provides really tender greens, but when you want bigger leaves, make sure you “nip their flowers in the bud”! Yes, that’s where the expression comes from! Pinch off the flowers before they bloom and remove the new tips of the plant in order to keep the plant growing and producing.
Or, allow the plants to form pods and then replant the seeds to keep your garden growing throughout the season.
What about Ornamentals?
We have beautiful kales and cabbages for your flower garden too! These “ornamental” varieties are technically edible but are pretty course and tough so we don’t recommend you put them on the dinner table. Use them to add texture and color to your landscape gardens.
Want to know more about growing vegetables this winter? Just Ask! Come in or click here to “Ask the Gardener.”
PS – we almost always have a very large selection of leafy greens in stock, ready to be planted. Come by now or this weekend to see and go for the greens!