RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Of course you can buy salad greens like spring mix and mesclun at the grocery store, but if you’re looking to dip your toe—or in this case fingers—into gardening, these spring greens are easy and fun to grow at home. Whether planted in a window box, a patio planter, or by your back door, lettuces are super-gratifying vegetables to grow; they’re ready to harvest just four to six weeks after starting from seeds.
You can buy pre-mixed seed packages of mesclun mix or grow different greens separately to tailor the mix to your own tastes. Planting greens with different characteristics (spicy, mild, brightly colored) will add interest to your salads. For a spicy option, try fast-growing arugula, with its beloved peppery bite. Milder greens include mâche, also known as lamb’s lettuce, along with kale and the Asian greens bok choy and tatsoi. Or add color contrast with red radicchio, or hotter-tasting mustard greens such as mizuna. Or chard, with its brightly hued stems. You get the idea. Your options are many.
Some tips for growing your own greens (check OrganicGardening.com for all sorts of great gardening advice):
• Feed your soil with organic matter, such as compost or liquid fish fertilizer.
• Weed frequently to allow your greens (rather than the weeds) to benefit from the nutrients.
• Water regularly, since greens thrive if soil is kept consistently moist.
• Practice “succession planting,” so you’ll always have greens available. To do this, sow a new row of seeds every two or three weeks.
• Experiment with harvest times; you may prefer the flavor of certain greens when they’re slightly larger.
Published on: April 29, 2010