For most leafy greens, September is the perfect time to sow your seeds directly into the soil. These plants thrive in cool environments. With the average growth time of 30-40 days, you can go ahead and imagine yourself serving your impressive homegrown leafy green dish at thanksgiving this year. To get you growing, we’ll help you with what you will need, what you will need to do and when you will need to do it.
When it comes to choosing which leafy green you want to grow you could consider which variety you purchase most often. Or you could explore the many different kinds you can’t find in a grocery store. Maybe the best choice for you depends on what you’re going to make with it. The great thing about leafy greens is that they don’t take up much space in the garden, so you’re free to choose a few different types if your space allows. We have a lot of leafy green varieties at Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre, and we’ve chosen a few favorite varieties for you to explore below.
|ILEMA – Produces heads that are impressively voluminous, with substantial weight, and fast growth. It has a refined flavour and pairs nicely with Fossey. It can be harvested from the baby leaf stage to full sized mature heads, open pollinator.|
|FRECKLES – The mid-sized plant is open with glossy, green leaves flecked with maroon; making it a delightful and colorful addition to salad mixes.|
|HAMPTON – Hampton organic lettuce seeds produce a voluminous oak leaf lettuce with a high leaf count and dark, shiny leaves. Nice flavor, good texture, and easy harvest by hand or machine.|
|RUBY & EMERALD DUET – blended seeds for an emerald-green baby butterhead with softly folded leaf rosettes together with a lovely, deep-red, ruffled, and crispy mini leaf lettuce.|
|KALE BEIRA TROCHUDA – Trochuda Beira Portuguese Kale Seeds produce thick leaves with a flavor somewhere between Scots kale and cabbage. This hybrid version of traditional Portuguese kale has better heat resistance in summer, but is also winter hardy, with a taste that is improved by frost.|
|DWARF GREEN CURLED – Ultra-hardy, a great source of winter ‘greens’. Also known as ‘borecole’. Densely packed, leaves with frilled edges on compact plants. Flavor improves with a touch of frost.|
|RED RUSSIAN – Tender for salads and good for bunching, the red and purple hues turn a rich, dark green color when cooked. It may be richer in vitamins and minerals than other greens and is very disease resistant.|
|IMPROVED SIBERIAN – Heavily frilled, large leaves with long succulent stalks grow out to form stout, heavy-set, dwarf plants only 30-42cm (12-15″) tall. The leaves are bright blue-green ready for use all winter.|
|ARUGULA RUNWAY – Peppery, sharp-flavored arugula (a.k.a. rocket or roquette), provides a wonderful punch of piquant flavor to any green salad or a scrumptious contrast tossed with fresh sliced fruit or served under meat, chicken, or fish just hot off the barbecue.|
|ARUGULA RUSTIC STYLE – Italian heirloom forms rosettes of deeply indented leaves with a piquant, tangy flavor. Great in salads, pizza or pasta. Lasts longer than common arugula. Pretty edible yellow blossoms.|
|HEIRLOOM RUSTIC ARUGULA – Cooks prefer its deeply indented, dark green piquant leaves for savory dishes like pizza or pasta. You’ll find the leaves’ tangy flavor is like regular arugula, but more intensely concentrated.|
|ARUGULA ITALIAN – Peppery flavored, scalloped leaves develop on fast-growing plants. Flavor combines well with lettuce and other salad greens. A favorite for Italian cuisine. Begin harvesting in 35-40 days|
|BLOOMSDALE SAVOY – Large, Deeply Crinkled, Dark Green Leaves. Fresh Flavour, Slow to bolt. Plant early direct (might not germinate if soil too warm). All seed is untreated and naturally grown in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.|
|GANGBUSTER ORGANIC – Fast-growing and weather tolerant new spinach with juicy thick leaves and especially tasty mild sweet flavor. Pick individual leaves or cut whole plants over a long harvest season.|
|SPINACH SPACE – This variety is lovely both cooked and raw, as baby leaf spinach, or full size. It will work in larger containers for early spring and late fall growing.|
|ORIENTAL GIANT – has excellent mild and sweet flavor, rich green color and a succulent crunchy texture. This extremely fast-growing hybrid spinach, bred in Japan, has amazing vigor and quickly produces giant leaves that are at least double to triple the size of other spinach varieties.|
HOW TO PLANT
After you’ve chosen your leafy green seeds, you’re ready to start planting! Whether you’ve decided to plant your seeds in a container or in the ground, it’s best to plant your seeds in a spot with full sun. Use a rich soil with good drainage. In a pot, you’re going to fill at least 6 inches of soil in the bottom of your container. Apply a light amount of water to the base layer of soil to moisten it, and sprinkle your seeds lightly at the top of the soil. Cover with a light amount of soil, and gently tap the surface. To keep your seeds in place, cover your leafy greens with 2-3 inches of mulch. Once you’re finished, you can give those babies a good gulp of water. Your seeds will take 7-14 days to germinate. Water when the top inch of soil dries out, about twice a week.
HOW TO HARVEST
Depending on your seed selection, you can expect to harvest your leafy greens between 30-40 days, some sooner and some later (be sure to check your seed package). Once your leafy green is ready to harvest, you can collect your leafy greens leaf by leaf for smaller portions. Or, if you would like to harvest it all at once, just cut the full head off at the soil level.
You’re now ready to start growing your own leafy greens. With these versatile vegetables you’ll have endless options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Wilted in stir-fries, blended in smoothies, mixed into a big hearty salad, used as a topping, or wrapped around your favorite sandwich, burrito, or burger! Leafy greens are easy, fast growing, low maintenance and high in nutrients! A must have in every garden.