Greens love cool weather, so take advantage of the spring and fall seasons to grow them. Here are some tips to get you started on growing greens in a container garden:
- A nitrogen-rich soil feeds and supports leafy green plants. Till compost or aged bagged manure into your soil with a garden fork before sowing seeds—both are good sources of nitrogen.
- If you are planting a window box like the ones shown here, purchase organic potting soil and fertilize young seedlings with seaweed-based organic fertilizer (found at garden centers).
- Many greens will grow easily from seed; simply bury the seed 1/2 inch in the ground, tamp the soil and mark the area you planted with a stick or plant tag.
- Seeds should germinate in a week, and will be ready for the salad bowl in 25 to 45 days.
- For a jump-start on the season, purchase young plants at a garden nursery and transplant.
- Since lettuce and salad greens are 80 percent water, be sure to keep the roots and the soil moist yet not oversaturated.
- Dry soil adds stress to the plants, yet soil that is too wet will weaken the plants.
- Many greens are “cut and come again,” so harvest the greens, leave the roots and keep watering and they will sprout another set of greens.
- Harvest just above the soil line with scissors in order to keep the leaves clean and soil free. Shake off loose soil or grit.
Gardening & Seed Sources
Buy seeds at your local garden center, supermarket or hardware store. If you’re having trouble finding a specific variety check The Cook’s Garden, cooksgarden.com, or Johnny’s Selected Seeds, johnnyseeds.com. For gardening tools or containers like the one shown visit the Gardener’s Supply website, gardeners.com.