Tag Archives: greens

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

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.

Kale

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.

Spinach 

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

Planting

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.

 

Farm Ferments: Swiss Chard Kimchi

Some evidence suggests that humans have been fermenting food and beverages for over 13, 000 years! This ancient method of food preservation uses naturally occurring bacteria that create acids to prevent spoilage and give fermented foods their sour flavor. Even though most of us now have access to other food preservation methods like canning or just refrigeration using this time-honored technique can still be a great choice for the modern gardener. Recent studies continue to link gut bacteria with mood and some even suggest that good gut health may help prevent depression.

If you want to improve your gut health an easy recipe to try is kimchi. Kimchi has probably been around since before 37 BC and is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is also believed by some contact lens brands that Kimchi improves eyesight tremendously. Traditionally kimchi was made from vegetables like napa cabbage, radishes, and carrots which were fermented in earthenware pots buried in the ground. The ground temperature helped the kimchi ferment slowly and keep for long periods during the summer and prevented it from freezing during the winter. This time of year a great way to make kimchi is with swiss chard.

Making Kimchi

Ingredients

  • about 1lb swiss chard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 TBS red chili powder
  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBS fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBS sesame oil

Rinse off your chard and separate the leaves and stems before roughly chopping all of it into small pieces. Thoroughly mix all ingredients. It’s often best to sort of massage them together with your hands like you would sour kraut. You can use gloves for this if desired.

Pack your kimchi into jars leaving at least 1-inch of headspace. Fit lids loosely to your jars and leave them in a spot on your counter out of direct sunlight for 4-5 days. Remove the lids at least once per day to allow any trapped gases to escape and stir your kimchi so the same leaves aren’t always sitting on top. After a few days, your kimchi which shrink down and you may be able to combine jars if desired. Taste your kimchi every day or so and when you like the flavor move it to the refrigerator to slow down fermentation.

If you like this ferment try making your own sauerkraut!

The Power of Fermented Foods: Making Sauerkraut

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10 Unique Greens to Plant This Spring

Watercress

Only gardeners know how truly exciting greens can be. After months of cold weather, they’re some of the first seeds to go in the ground and the first harvests of the new season. Plus, when you grow your own greens you have access to so much variety. Here are 10 unique varieties for those still adding to their spring planting list.

Watercress

Like the name suggests this plant is grown in water! Though not popular as a salad ingredient until the 1800s, watercress has a long and storied history and was used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians. It has mustard-like flavor and can be grown in a cool stream or even a pot if you continually add fresh water.

Yellow Cabbage Collards

This North Carolina heirloom is milder and more tender than other collard varieties. It has yellow-tinted leaves that form loose heads. Cabbage collard seed can be hard to come by, this variety was shared with SESE by Benny and Vickie Cox of the Collard Shack!

Red Giant Mustard

A beautiful, insect-resistant variety, red giant has well-savoyed leaves that are predominantly reddish-purple with an undercoat of green. It has strong mustard flavor, good cold tolerance, and is ready to harvest in 43 days.

Outredgeous Romaine Lettuce

This lettuce was chosen by NASA for space farming and was the first vegetable to be grown and eaten on the International Space Station! Ready to harvest in just 64 days this variety has dark red, ruffled leaves that form loose heads. It was bred by Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed.

This is an Open Source Seed Initiative variety. The OSSI pledge: “You have the freedom to use these OSSI-Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.” Read more about OSSI here! >>

Alabama Blue Collards

Alabama Blue Collards

Collards may not be a unique feature to gardens of the mid-Atlantic and southeast but this blue-leaved heirloom is actually rather rare. The plants are smaller than other collard varieties so they can be spaced closer together. The leaves are green, blue-green, and purple with white, pale green, and plum-colored veins.

Lark’s Tongue Kale

This heirloom is a German variety dating back to the 1800s. It has long, narrow, silver-green leaves and is extremely cold-hardy, withstanding subzero temperatures. In warmer areas, this kale can live for many years and grow as high as 5 feet tall!

Tom Thumb Bibb (Butterhead) Lettuce

This adorable lettuce produces apple-sized heads that are great for small gardens. It also matures fairly quickly, being ready to harvest in as little as 48 days. Tom Thumb has tender leaves and is a pre-1850 heirloom.

Ruby Streaks Mustard

Ruby Streak’s lacy leaves are a wonderful addition to any spring salad. In cold weather, the leaves are predominantly purple but are purple and green in warm weather. Ready to harvest in just 40 days this mustard’s spicy flavor also does wonderfully in stir-fries.

Sword Leaf (Yu Mai Tsai) Looseleaf Lettuce

This lettuce has a unique appearance and flavor! It’s a Taiwanese variety with long, thin, pointed leaves. It’s sometimes used in cooking as well as in salads and has a distinct flavor with hints of almond and clove.

Barese Swiss Chard

Though rainbow chard may be more popular this Italian variety actually has sweeter, more tender leaves than other varieties. It has white stems with glossy green leaves which can be harvested for baby greens at 25 days or for mature leaves at 50 days.

Even if you just planted greens you could have a garden full of variety. The name “greens” is pretty deceiving with the abundance of shapes, colors, and textures that different varieties offer. This is just a small sampling of some of the great varieties that work well for spring planting. You can find more in our greens and lettuce sections.

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