It’s not too late to plants some yummy greens this fall!
Fall is rapidly approaching here in Wisconsin, and I’m devastated by the thought that summer is coming to an end. But luckily, my gardening season is far from over; we are starting to sow new crops of my favorite varieties I can grow in colder months, including the three best salad greens to grow in your garden. We’re planning on being able to harvest even into November, which means three more months of fresh greens for garden-to-table recipes!
Whether you have a raised bed, a cold frame, or have never gardened before, I have three greens that always work out for me that you should plant ASAP.
The Three Best Salad Greens to Grow in Your Garden
The top three salad greens to grow in your garden that have rarely failed me, are quite versatile in recipes, and taste especially delicious when they’re fresh-picked are Romaine, Spinach and Arugula. All three salad greens offer a different taste and nutritional properties to keep your salad or meals diverse, so experiment with your garden-to-table recipes to find out how you like to eat each kind of green!
How to Grow the Three Best Salad Greens: Spinach, Arugula, and Romaine
I live in Wisconsin, so these directions are for Zone 5 gardeners. If you live in a drastically different climate from the Midwest, check with your local nursery or follow your Zone’s directions to determine what varieties and planting instructions will thrive in your location.
Locate a pot, window box, container of your choice, or raised bed if you have one available. Make sure there are drainage holes in whatever type of planting situation you choose.
Fill your container with organic compost that is free of synthetic fertilizers. Compost is particularly important when growing healthy, nutrient-dense greens. You can purchase compost by the bag at your local nursery (Purple Cow is my favorite). Typically you can easily find composted manure, mushroom compost or sometimes a combination or organic matter. I have used both varieties depending on availability. Starting your food out with the cleanest ingredients ensures you get the highest quality food. That’s the goal right?
Decide what type of greens you want to try first. You can start with a packet of seeds or seedlings depending on what you can find at your local nursery. I prefer to start greens by seed, however, if you are new try experimenting and want the reliability of a seedling, both are great options.
True Leaf Market is a great option for purchasing high-quality organic seeds if you are a beginner.
Plant your seeds or seedlings. If you are new to planting seeds, check out my Seed Starting 101 blog for exactly how deep to plant your seeds, how much to water, and how to care for your sprouts. Ultimately, you’re aiming to plant your seed at a depth that is 2x the width of the seed. So, not very deep. At all.
As soon as you plant your seed or seedlings, water them. Salad greens love to be moist, but not wet. You will need to check your salad container daily and be diligent about watering when necessary. Lettuce seeds do not like to be dry, especially before they sprout.
Place your planter in a location that receives a minimum of four hours of sunlight. Depending on the variety you will start to have greens ready-to-eat in less than a month.
Salad containers are the gift that keeps giving. You can harvest the tiny greens as micro-greens or let them grow to a more full size for the plant. The seed packet will provide you with some direction on size and days to maturity. You can start to harvest the outside leaves first and enjoy a delicious salad with one of my quick and easy salad dressing recipes!
Growing Your Own Salad Greens Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
A mentor of mine recently pointed out another benefit to growing greens: everything you grow at your home reduces your carbon footprint. I think it is an important reminder to share, because most of us have become detached from where and how our food ends up on our plates.
Track how many plastic containers from greens you recycle in a month. Think about the environmental impact of transporting those greens to your grocery store. When you add it all up, you might be surprised at how much waste you can save by growing food in a culinary garden. Every little choice you can make to live cleaner impacts our planet, and will benefit you, too!
I encourage you to try your hand a growing even a small salad container at your home. Watch and enjoy the miracle of a tiny seed turning into a nourishing meal right before your eyes! Not ready for that kind of commitment? Microgreens are a super-versatile way to get more greens into your life and I have never seen anyone be unsuccessful at growing them. Hamama Greens has the cutest countertop setups, and you can grow these year-round.
Nutritional Benefits of Salad Greens
Salad greens are chock-full of vitamins and minerals!
- Rich in Magnesium
- Vitamins A, C, K
- Rich in Calcium
- Vitamins C, K
- Rich in Phytonutrients
- Rich in Calcium
- Vitamins A, C, K