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Remember that cold, cold December we had? It didn’t matter. My October transplants of kale, cabbage, collards and leeks are great food right now, chocked full of flavor and vitamins. I just harvested a batch for one of my famous greens pies.
But you have to plan ahead, especially for a leek crop. Leek transplants are almost impossible to find in garden centers. I always have to start my own.
Below is a recent photo of next spring’s leek crop growing from seed on my dinning room table.
I’ll transplant these seedlings to the garden in late summer or fall. Next spring–fresh leeks–so much better than those woody things that show up at the grocery store. And much, much cheaper too. Leeks are pricey.
Don’t do seeds? Here’s a short cut. Next New Year look for bundles of “baby leeks” in the produce section of up-scale grocery stores. Take them home, and plant like transplants in your garden. I had leeks galore using this method one year. Give it a try. You’ll be hooked on homegrown leeks like I am…
Since I live in the south, I couldn’t get away being called a decent gardener if I didn’t grow collard greens, right?
But I can’t just stop there…Greens are one of the healthiest vegetables of all. They are packed with nutrition and flavor. Honestly, I haven’t encountered a green I didn’t like…collards, mustard, turnip, swiss chard–both ruby red and rainbow and Kale. Shoot…I even love all kinds of cabbage too. And they are super easy to grow. Here are some easy steps and pic by pic guide to growing greens.
- Buy your seeds. I waited a little late to plant mine because of our extended summer…I just couldn’t garden in 90+ degree temps. So I got mine from a local nursery…you can get them at Lowes or hardware stores too.
- Prep your soil. Till or shovel in 2:1 top soil-compost, plus I add in a slow release fertilizer in the mix. Depending what your subsoil is you should do at least a foot…since i have that glorious/NC clay(insert sarcastic tone)…I had to add quite a bit. probably 3 feet or so.
- Read the seed package directions. I say this because of the 4 different greens I planted, collards, mustard greens, swiss chard and kale, they all had different instructions on seed depth and distance between planting.
- Create your holes...I used a very high tech instrument to make these–a stick I found on the ground. HAHAHAHA.
- Drop in your seeds and cover. The collards and the mustard seeds were very small, so I had a hard time not dropping 2 or 3 per hole. But when the seedlings get between 12-18 inches tall you have to thin. Yep, Chris taught us all about thinning this winter. I tried to deny this step with my tomato seedlings. DON’T SKIP IT. Your plants will thank you for it…and you will be thankful too. Last year I didn’t think at all and just threw some seeds out. I got a low yield…they were delicious and tender…but not much of them cause they were fighting for sun, water, soil and nutrients. If you thin, you will have strong robust plants and maybe some to share…
- Don’t forget to label…I forget and then can’t remember. So label, label, label.
- Finally, water and mulch.
Different greens have different growth rates..of these 4 varieties–I should see something in the next couple of weeks.
Greens can handle our NC frost…I did this last year and come late winter, early spring…tons of greens to eat.
Want something to look forward to? Well, I have to say this Green’s Pie of blog partner Chris’s is one of my favorites, next too simply sauteing with chicken broth, garlic and olive oil. Many more recipes to come for those greens has they grow.
SO…you should grow more greens.