Plant some Leafy Greens
It’s that time of year … the snow is still blanketing the ground and the sky is often grey. So, on a day like today when the sun rises to light up a clear blue sky, I can’t help but start to think about spring. Even though the outdoor growing season is still a ways off, one of the best ways to nourish my craving for getting outside is to do some garden planning.
If we could only grow one category of veggies it would, hands down, be leafy greens. Sure, just picked, sun-ripened, tomatoes are delicious, and growing unique veg like striped eggplant or purple beans is satisfying and fun, but day-in-day-out the workhorses of our homestead annual garden are the myriad leafy greens, from herbs and various lettuces, to broccoli leaves and mustard greens, to kale and Swiss chard.
We’ve all heard that eating more leafy greens is a simple way to improve our health. They are easy to grow, and actually expensive and challenging to buy.
We tend to look for organic greens as traditional leafy greens are listed on the EWGs Dirty Dozen PLUS list because they have been found to be “laced with particularly toxic pesticides”.
I loathe the unavoidable little pieces of slimy lettuce that are invariably tucked in among expensive store-bought organic mixed salad greens, which typically come packaged in a hard plastic container. Purchasing heads of greens, for variety, and to minimize packaging, can be pricey, and typically there are few options. Growing your own greens and being able to pick them fresh for meals eliminates these issues.
Instead of paying $4 for a plastic package of salad greens or a few leaves of organic kale, why not spend that money on some quality seeds, or a couple of nursery-grown plants and grow a bounty of greens all summer long!
Lettuces are simple to grow, prefer cooler weather, or some shade, and need a bit of moisture. They are well-suited to any size of container, including cracks in patio stones or tin cans if that is what you have access to. Herbs like basil and cilantro as well as greens such as Swiss chard and kale are very easy to grow from seed, grow well in containers, and make gorgeous patio accents.
If you have space and are able to plant them in the ground, they will provide you with loads of leaves from one plant, continuing to grow new leaves all summer. We do protect our kale under row cover as we have a LOT of cabbage white moths, whose caterpillars will decimate a kale crop if the gardener isn’t paying close attention.
Last year we tried a new seed-sowing technique called Winter Sowing which is SO EASY and do-able by anyone with access to a tiny bit of outdoor space. We’ll continue to post all our winter sowing adventures as we go along this spring. If you want to check out Winter Sowing, head over to Sheryl Mann’s YouTube channel JuicingGardener where she has loads of great videos -that is where we learned about it and is a great place to get started.
Include some leafy greens in your containers or garden this year! Consider visiting your local garden centre or on-line quality seed company and try growing some greens from seeds this spring. If you do you’ll be able to have a bounty like this straight from the garden at all of your spring and summer meals.