Learning Download: How to Grow Greens
Greens offer many micronutrients and taste profiles, with tastes ranging from the spicy bite of mustard greens and arugula to the sweet, delicate leaves of a spring mix.
Before Planting: Greens are a cool-weather crop, and are oftentimes easy to start from seed. Plant them outside three weeks before the last frost date. For a fall harvest, begin planting greens seeds mid-summer.
Planting: Plant each seed just under the soil, about ó inch apart. Once seedlings show, thin them to 3 inches apart. Plant new seeds every three weeks for a continuous harvest.
Watering: Greens require 2 inches of water per week.
Fertilizer: Leafy greens need nutrients available in 5-10-10 and 10-10-10 fertilizers, as well as organic options like bone meal, blood meal and dehydrated manure. Following the instructions on the container, spread the fertilizer evenly across the greens. Mix the fertilizer into the top 2 inches of soil prior to planting. Seeds are sensitive to fertilizer, so mixing it with the soil before planting will help prevent any problems.
Days to Maturity: Green are ready to harvest once their leaves reach full size. (See each variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: Greens can be harvested by cutting down the entire plant or picking each leaf individually as they grow. Discard any yellow leaves, and pick the leaves when they are young and tender, as older and larger leaves taste more bitter.
Tips: Keep the area weed free, especially when the greens are young. Use row covers to keep pests away and to grow pristine leaves. Greens can be grown in a container or a pallet garden if a gardener is lacking space.
Learning Download: How to Grow Lettuce
Lettuce is a cool-season crop, and seedlings can tolerate a light frost. Lettuce grows quickly, so stagger the plantings. It is recommended to sow the lettuce seeds directly into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked.
Before Planting: Lettuce is hardy and can be planted as early as the soil can be worked. It is a cool weather crop and grows best at temperatures of 60-65°F. Careful variety selection is important for hot weather plantings. Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh lettuce. Lettuce seed can enter thermal dormancy when exposed to high temperatures. Do not use a heat mat when germinating lettuce seed. Optimum germination results at soil temperatures of 60–65°F.
Planting: For direct seeding, seeds germinate at low soil temperatures (40°F), but poorly above 75°F. Sow seeds 2-3″ apart, rows 12–18″ apart. Cover seed lightly, about 1/8″, and firm soil gently. Thin iceberg and romaine lettuce to one plant every 10–12″, other types 8–10″ for full size heads or 6″ for mini heads. Dry soil must be watered to ensure coolness and moisture, and for uniform germination. For transplanting, sow 2-3 seeds per cell, 1/4″ deep, 3-4 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Do not let soil above 70F while germinating so keep out of sun and a cool, dark location. Harden seedlings by reducing water and temperature for 2–3 days before planting outdoors. Properly hardened transplants can survive temperatures as low as 20°F. Transplant iceberg and romaine lettuce 10–12″ apart, in rows 18″ apart. Other types 8–10″ apart in rows 12–18″ apart for full size heads or 6″ apart for mini heads.
Watering: Water lettuce once to twice per week or every 4 days whenever rainfall is inadequate.
Fertilizer: Lettuce is typically a care-free plant, but you can fertilize the soil with an organic fertilizer one week prior to planting the seeds. Lettuce grows best in soil that is high in humus. Fertilize three weeks after transplanting seedlings with an alfalfa meal or a slow-release fertilizer.
Days to Maturity: Lettuce can be picked whenever real leaves form. Pick when the leaves are younger rather than waiting so the taste doesn’t become bitter. (See each variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: For heads of lettuce, cut the plant at the soil line to harvest it. For leaf lettuces, you can harvest the entire plant or only the outer leaves as needed. Harvest in the morning. Store in cool, dark and high humidity location for up to 2-3 weeks.
Tips: Plant lettuce near taller plants, like tomatoes, so the leaves are in the shade during the hot parts of the day.