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Growing your own greens is an excellent way to gain great dollar value from your garden.
Expensive produce items like baby greens are a great way to start denting your grocery bill, in fact it’s the #1 crop I recommend to anyone if produce savings is your main motive for gardening!
*Edited* Since writing this post I’ve written a whole book on growing and eating fresh greens year-round!
To gain even further dollar value, you can grow them differently and harvest at multiple stages to increase your harvests.
First of all what are the fresh ‘greens’ that you grow in your garden?
Greens typically mean any ‘leafy’ green that you can eat in a salad or sautéed. Some examples of garden greens are:
- Leaf Lettuce
- Head Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
- Mustards such as mizuna, mibuna, giant red…etc
- Mesclun greens (usually a mix of most of the above in one packet for an array of diversity)
- Miscl – claytonia, mache, orach, even wild weeds like dandelion greens or lambs quarters…
The ‘Different Stages’ of Growth = Potential for Multiple Harvests
Greens grow in multiple stages and can be harvested at all of them for optimal time, dollar and space value, often from a single sowing:
- Micro Greens
- Baby leaf
- Medium- large leaves
- Full sized/heads (Lettuce heads for example).
Tips for Maximizing your Harvest of Fresh Greens
Source: Fix.com Blog
- Grow your greens densely in ‘blocks’ instead of rows to harvest the baby greens. Sow much closer than the seed packet says and thin out your plants by eating the smaller leaves. Because you sow in blocks you get baby greens & medium-sized greens before your larger leaves! (see pic below of Giant Red Mustard Greens)
- You can harvest lots of baby greens before making space for medium or full-sized leaves. Eventually you need to allow space for the full-sized plants (unless you’re happy with baby greens).
- Make sure your soil has good nitrogen levels as it’s important for lots of leafy growth.
- You can grow lots of baby greens in the same beds that you’ll be transplanting larger summer crops into (like tomatoes, peppers). Leave the baby greens growing around the transplants for a month or so to get lots of baby greens before your summer crops need the space (learn more about bumper crops).
- Sow your greens in the spring and again late summer for a fall/winter harvest. Many greens like swiss chard, spinach, arugula and kale handle frosts and can be eaten until the snow comes. BONUS use season extenders to add even more weeks to your green harvest window!
If you follow these tips you’ll get so much more from your harvests of greens! 🙂
Source: Fix.com Blog
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.