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 Sprouts
Sprouting is a technique that uses water to germinate seeds, which are then eaten. Sprouts are a good option to grow for beginners, as they take only a week or two before they are ready to eat.
Before Planting: Sprouts may be grown in a clean, wide-mouth glass canning jar, sprouting tray or a commercial sprouter.
Planting: If sprouting in a glass jar, place the correct amount of seed in the glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth or other porous material, and secure with a rubber band. Fill the jar ½ full with lukewarm water and soak overnight. In the morning, drain off water. The cloth will keep the seeds in the jar. Rinse seeds with lukewarm water again and let drain. Put the container on its side in a dark location that stays about 60–70°F. At least twice each day, rinse with lukewarm water and drain. Continue rinse cycle until harvest.
Watering: Sprouts don’t require soil to grow, just water to germinate and a little bit of time before they are ready to consume.
Fertilizer: Fertilization is not necessary.
Days to Maturity: Since sprouts are ready for consumption in as little as a week to two weeks.
Harvesting: When sprouts have reached the desired length or have their first tiny green leaves, expose them to light for a few hours to color them up. Sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tips: Precautions should be taken when consuming sprouts as they are grown in warm, moist conditions which also is the prime growing environment for bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Sprouts are easily perishable, so refrigerate them and consume as quickly as possible. It is safest to cook the sprouts, as the heat will kill any bacteria growing there, and it is suggested that children, the elderly and anyone who is ill should not consume sprouts.