Most greens thrive in cool weather and a light frost tends to improve the flavor. In hot weather, greens will quickly go to seed. New Zealand spinach is the exception, preferring warm soil and lots of sun.
Since they grow quickly, greens need plenty of nitrogen. Chard and parsley are the exceptions. They do well in soil that is not especially rich, probably because their deep roots allow them to seek nourishment in the subsoil.
Compost, animal manure, and turned under green manure plantings of clover or rye will boost the fertility of the soil. It will also hold moisture at root level. For a quick boost during the growing season, try giving your greens an extra dose of manure tea, blood meal, or diluted fish emulsion.
Greens will need at least two inches or rain or water each week.
Quick maturing greens such as spinach and leaf lettuce can be planted between tomato, melon and squash transplants. By the time the spreading vegetable needs the room, the your greens have been harvested. As the larger vegetable grows, the shade will help keep your greens from going to seed.
Grow Super Salad Greens
This 32-page booklet will show you how to grow an abundance of salad greens, even in the smallest area.
- Fitting greens into your garden
- What greens need
- A green-by-green index of planting, growing, harvesting and eating greens
The most troublesome pests are leaf miners. They feed on spinach, chard and mustard. They are hard to control because they feed inside the leaves, not on them. Tear off and destroy affected areas.
Mustard, collards, and kale will be bothered by cabbage worm. Routine sprayings with Bt when the white cabbage moth is spotted will effectively eliminate them.
Aphids can be a problem if they become too numerous. They are small and come in all colors. Crops are damaged when the aphids suck the sap from leaves and stems. In bad cases plants will become stunted. Use natural predators, such as Lacewings, Lady Beetles, and wasps. If the predators need help, spray the plants with Ivory snow diluted in water.