Magazine article Sunset

Greens You'll Love to Grow: Make Healthy Meals Easy with Garden-Fresh Arugula, Chard, Lettuce, and More

Magazine article Sunset

Greens You'll Love to Grow: Make Healthy Meals Easy with Garden-Fresh Arugula, Chard, Lettuce, and More

Article excerpt

PLANT SEEDS or seedlings of greens now, and you'll have the ultimate convenience food later in fall (and through winter in mild climates). Picking just the leaves you need from your own garden really does save trips to the grocery store. And you'll have the freshest greens for dropping into salads, pastas, soups, sandwiches, and snacks.

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Start with small plants from sixpacks to give your plot of greens a jumpstart. Then, for a real bargain and a steady crop, save space around the edges to sow a few rows of seeds. (They sprout in less than a week.) Keep the soil moist, and if necessary, protect from birds and late-summer heat with a light shadecloth (available at home and garden stores).

Choose varieties for flavor as well as color--from green to burgundy and red--mixing and matching them to suit your tastes. For easy tending, plant them in raised beds; we used four 4-foot square beds for the plantings pictured, although one or two beds this size can yield plenty of greens.

Grow greens in loose, well-drained soil. For prolonged harvest, sow seeds at one- to two-week intervals and beets at monthly intervals. (Where summers are short and winters cold, plant outdoors after last frost. …

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