We’re getting our garden ready for winter vegetables. Planning and plotting out what we will grow next season here in zone 10B (San Diego, California) is so much fun. We grow lots of leafy greens because they are so versatile, can be eaten raw or cooked, and are highly nutritious. Many leafy greens grow faster than others, so we always stagger planting in order to have some available sooner.
Fast-Growing Leafy Greens
Fast-growing leafy greens are ready for harvest in seven to eight weeks. These greens include arugula, chicory, lettuce, mesclun mix, spring mix, or lettuce blends – either baby or full-size varieties. Making sure to wet the soil before planting so the seeds don’t wash away, we sow arugula, lettuce and other leafy green vegetable seeds directly into the ground. Not covering lettuce seeds with soil after scattering them is important because lettuce seeds must have light to germinate.
Because they are easy and fast growing, I plant seeds rather than seedlings, and use lots of homemade worm compost. Leafy greens are shallow-rooted plants that do not demand extremely rich soil but do require plenty of sun and a constant supply of water.
Microgreens are another fast-growing green. The bonus with growing them is that a garden is not needed.
Seeds that can be grown as microgreens are
- radish or spicy radish
To grow microgreens, you need a tray with drainage holes, vegetable soil, seeds, and a spray bottle. Here is how to grow them:
- Whenever working with sprouts or microgreens, make sure to wash your hands very well.
- Soak seeds over night.
- Cover the bottom of the tray with an inch or two of moistened potting soil. Flatten with your hands.
- Drain and scatter seeds evenly on top of the soil.
- Spray the tray twice a day to keep the soil moist but not wet.
- Within three to seven days your microgreens will have emerged and soon will be ready for harvest.
Slow-Growing Leafy Greens
We also grow lots of slow-growing leafy greens, including collards, Swiss chard, and spinach. They grow slower than some other leafy greens but are worth the wait.
I cannot encourage you more to consider growing all kinds of vegetables and herbs, especially green leafy greens. With all the uncertainty we’re facing these days, growing food gives you control over some of what you eat. It’s also a chance for families to engage in an activity together.