Grow Your Own Baby Greens Mix

Growing baby greens is a great way to kick off your spring garden. They’re cold tolerant, quick-growing, and nutritious. They’re also a great choice for first time gardeners. We have a a selection of pre-mixed seeds but if you like to customize your mix here are a few great varieties to include in baby greens mixes. 

Note that greens grown during the late fall and winter will grow more slowly due to the decreased daylight.

Arugula (Roquette)

Arugula adds texture and a mild peppery flavor to salads. It can be harvested as baby greens in as little as 21 days. Arugula can still be eaten after it has flowered but the taste will be stronger. Try our standard arugula or Even’ Star Winter Arugula.

Pak Choi (Bok Choy)

Looseleaf pak choi is perfect for baby greens and can be aded to both salads and stir fries. Pak choi is cold-tolerant and quick growing. The variety we offer, Tokyo Bekana is mild with almost lettuce-like flavor. It’s ready to harvest for baby greens in as little as 21 days or 45 for full leaves. 

Looseleaf Lettuce

There are so many lettuces to choose from that are great for baby greens mixes. Looseleaf varieties perform well in cut and come again mixes. Add some color to your mix with varieties like Bronze Arrow or Red Sails, interesting shapes with Sword Leaf or Thai Oakleaf, or stick with hardy favorites like Red and Green Salad Bowl or Black-Seeded Simpson. Most looseleaf lettuces take about 35 days to mature for baby greens. 


Chicory is another nice addition to a greens mix. It’s ready to harvest as baby greens in 28-35 days or 55 days for large leaves. It’s heat-sensitive and grown like lettuce.


You may be accustomed to growing kale for full sized cooking greens but baby kale makes an excellent addition to salad mixes. Some kale varieties can be ready to cut for baby greens in as little as 21 days. Lark’s Tongue  and Lacinato Rainbow Mix Kale are a couple great choices.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens can add a lot of beauty and a touch of spiciness to your greens mixture. They can be cut as baby greens in as little as 21 days or about 45 for full size. Some great varieties include Mizuna , Red Giant Mustard, and Ruby Streaks Mustard.


Another cold hardy option, spinach is ready to cut for baby greens in about 30 days. Abundant Bloomsdale and Longstanding Bloomsdale are great choices.


Your soil should be cool and moist in order for your mix to germinate properly. Cover seeds with 1/4 inch of soil. Sow more of your mix every two weeks for a continuous supply of greens.

Care & Harvesting

Keep the soil fairly moist to get the best harvest. Plants can be shaded with row cover or relay blanket if temperatures are hotter than ideal. 

When you’re harvesting a mix of baby greens it’s easiest to use a pair of scissors to avoid tearing the roots out. Cut the leaves off close to the soil a small handful at a time. For the best sweetness and quality harvest your greens in the morning, especially during the summer.


How to Grow and Use Echinacea

Also called coneflower, echinacea is both useful and beautiful. It’s a commonly used medicinal herb and great for attracting a variety of butterflies. It’s also native to North America, perennial in zones 3-9, and drought-resistant, perfect for a low maintenance flowerbed.

Growing Tips

Echinacea is a little trickier to grow from seed than many common vegetable plants. Most echinacea species require cold stratification and germination is typically only about 50%. Seeds can be stratified by sowing them in flats or pots in a cold frame over winter or a refrigerator. You can also direct seed them in the fall. When planting cover seeds with about 1/4 inch of soil. 

Echinacea Angustifolia (Narrow-Leaved Coneflower)

Echinacea angustifolia

This variety is native to the dry prairies of the central U.S. They are the smallest of the echinaceas and require stratification for 90-120 days. 

Echinacea pallida 

Native to open woods and rocky prairies from NE Texas to central Illinois. This variety requires 60 days of stratification. 

Echinacea Paradoxa (Yellow Coneflower)

Echinacea paradoxa

This lovely yellow variety is native to the open woods, balds, and the rocky prairies; especially common to Arkansas Ozarks and Missouri. It requires 60 days of stratification.

Echinacea purpurea

Unlike other species, Echinacea purpurea seeds don’t require cold treatment. However, to increase germination stratify them at around 40°F for 7 days. 

In order for echinacea to thrive it’s important to keep young plants well weeded. Plants perform best in full sun to partial sun with at least 4 hours per day. They thrive in well-drained soil and will tolerate poor, rocky soil. They don’t do well in heavy, wet soils.

Medicinal Properties

All species of echinacea have medinincal properties. It has a long history of use in herbal remedies, Echinacea angustifolia in particular was used by the Native American tribes of the Great Plains.  

Several pharmacological studies have demonstrated immunostimulant, bacteriostatic, and anti-viral activity. It may be used as an anti-microbial anywhere in the body. It activates macrophages, increases white blood cell levels, and inhibits microbial hyaluronidase (an enzyme that causes host cells to break down.) Echinacea is often used as a short term immune stimulant (2 weeks maximum), but it is contraindicated in autoimmune system disorders and progressive diseases.

Another cool thing about echinacea is that much of the plant can be used. You can harvest the flowers, leaves, and roots for your herbal creations. 


Herbal tea is one of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of echinacea. Chop or slice your echinacea roots, leaves, and flowers into small pieces. Use echinacea fresh from the garden or dehydrate some for later use. To dehydrate, lay on a dehydrator rack in a single layer and dry on a low setting (about 130°F) until the material is completely dry and brittle. Store in airtight containers for up to a year.

Echinacea can also be mixed with other herbs to create customized tea blends. Anise Hyssop with its sweet licorice flavor and minty horehound are great to add for coughs, lavender and lemon balm for their calming qualities, or mint to soothe an upset stomach. 


If you don’t love the taste of echinacea in tea, making a tincture may be the right choice for you. A tincture begins the same way as tea. Chop up your echinacea roots, leaves, and flowers and place them in a glass jar. Cover the echinacea with high proof alcohol like vodka (about 1 part echinacea to 2 parts alcohol). Close with an airtight lid. Store your tincture somewhere dark like inside a cupboard and shake it every few days for 2-3 months. 

After a couple months, you can begin using it for its wonderful immune boosting properties. Take about 1-2 teaspoons per day as needed for up to two weeks.


Learn About On Farm Seed Saving & Crop Diversity Trials

As the seed industry continues to become dominated by big companies it becomes ever more important to pass on seed saving skills and get more folks participating. Seed saving helps to preserve genetic diversity and can help adapt seeds to your local area. Like seed saving, crop trialing can also be a benefit to farmers, whether for their own research or profit.

This January, you can learn these valuable skills from Chris Smith of The Utopian Seed Project & Sow True Seed and SESE’s own Ira Wallace.

This event is a pre-conference workshop, part of an incredible event, the 21st Annual Biological Farming Conference.

The 21st annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference is Virginia’s premier organic and sustainable agricultural conference! The Conference brings together farmers, gardeners, eaters, educators and advocates of biological and organic agriculture.

On Farm Seed Saving

On farm seed saving is somewhat of a lost art, but has many benefits to the farmer (and some challenges). This workshop aims to give you the knowledge to start saving your own seeds as well as a realistic look at generating income through seed grow-outs for seed companies.

– Basic botany of seed production.
– Seed processing and special equipment.
– The business of seed growing (contract growing and dual cropping potential).

Crop Diversity Trials

Crop trialing is another on farm activity that can add a lot of value, either in collaboration with researchers (sometimes paid) or for your own research. Crop trialing can be effective for marketing and farm differentiation, while at the same time growing a marketable crop. This workshop will cover the nuts and bolts of setting up (or participating in) a successful crop trial.

– Setting up an effective trial.
– Marketing and publicity benefits of on farm trials.
– Getting involved with larger trialing efforts.

Mark Your Calendar

This workshop will be held January 11th from 1pm-5pm at:

The Hotel Roanoke
110 Shenandoah Ave NW
Roanoke VA 24016, US

On Farm Seed Saving and Crop Diversity Trials is from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday, January 11, 2020, and is $75 for both VABF members and non-members.

An optional Hotel Roanoke lunch buffet add-on ticket is available for $24 and lunch is available between 11:30 pm and 1 pm in the Regency Dining Room.


Need help with the workshop fee? We’re happy to say that thanks to a generous sponsorship from Southern SARE there are several scholarships available for limited resource black, Native American, women, and other underserved minorities. Click HERE to access the financial aid application.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Saving the Past for the Future