Introduction

If eating greens was the bane of your childhood, or alternatively, if you always enjoyed them, then we have some news for you: You can grow your own greens that will be better than the grocery store's, and it's nice and easy to do so!

In general, greens are leaves and roots from plants, and used in salad and as cooked vegetables. All of our greens can be grown to full size, and many can be harvested at the baby-leaf stage for inclusion in salad mixes, adding exquisite flavor, color, and texture. If you grow many varieties, you can then create your own custom mixes with arugula, kale, collards, mustard greens, tatsoi, and other Asian greens.

Detailed Care Instructions

COLLARDS are a favorite in both raw and cooked dishes. In the South it is best for fall, winter, and early spring harvests, to avoid the temperature extremes of midsummer — though it will tolerate a measure of heat. Because collards are also very cold tolerant, they perform equally well in the North, where its flavor is enhanced by frost and cold weather.

CULTURE: Collards prefer a fertile, well-drained soil high in organic matter with a pH range mildly acidic to slightly alkaline. Consistent moisture will produce the best quality leaves.

Transplant outdoors 12–18" apart in rows 18–36" apart. Collards prefer cooler growing temperatures, between 55–75°F (13–24°C), optimum being 60–70°F (16–21°C), but will produce good crops under warmer, summer conditions.

FALL CROP: Transplant to the garden in June–July.

WINTER CROP: Successful collards crops can be grown where winters are mild (temperatures rarely below 32°F (0°C)). Transplants can be set out from September to February in these regions.

PESTS AND DISEASE: The best insect control is achieved with the use of fabric row covers applied at planting, to exclude insects from the plants. Prevent diseases with crop rotation and sanitation. Black rot and black leg can be seed-borne.

 

HARVEST: Beginning about 2 months after planting, harvest by clipping individual leaves. Collards are very hardy, and the eating quality will improve into the late fall with light frost. Late summer sown or planted collards can be wintered in cold frames or hoophouses, or in the open in mild regions, to extend the season. Protecting with row covers can extend the harvest period.

KALE is an exceptionally cold-tolerant crop with a sweet flavor enhanced by frost and cold weather. The open-pollinated varieties are excellent for harvesting at either full size or baby-leaf stage, while the frilly hybrids are best for full-size production.

CULTURE: Kale prefers a fertile, well-drained soil high in organic matter with a pH range mildly acidic to slightly alkaline. Consistent moisture will produce the highest-quality leaves.  Transplant outdoors 12–18" apart in rows 18–36" apart. Kale prefers cooler growing temperatures, between 55–75°F (13–24°C), optimum being 60–70°F (16–21°C), but will produce good crops under warmer, summer conditions.

FALL CROP: Transplant to the garden in June–July.

WINTER CROP: Successful kale crops can be grown where winters are mild and temperatures rarely fall below 32°F (0°C). Transplants can be set out from September to February in these regions.

INSECT PESTS: Kale is not as afflicted with pests as are other brassica crops such as cabbage. Apply row covers at the time of planting to exclude pests from the crop. Control cabbage worms and loopers with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

HARVEST: Beginning about 2 months after planting, harvest by clipping individual leaves. Kale is very hardy, and the eating quality will improve into the late fall with light frost. Late-summer sown or planted collards can be wintered in cold frames or hoophouses, or in the open in mild regions, to extend the season. Protecting with row covers can extend the harvest period.

SWISS CHARD is a very versatile, close relative of garden beets. It is easy to grow, and will provide fresh greens all season from one sowing. Chard can be used at baby-leaf or full-size stage, and is also popular in mixed ornamental containers.

Soil pH should mildly acidic. Cool and mild weather is preferred, though chard has some heat tolerance. Seedlings will tolerate light frosts, and mature plants will tolerate moderate frosts. Swiss chard may overwinter in mild areas. Transplant out 4" apart in rows 12–18" apart. Planting too densely can lead to overcrowding and stunted growth. When planting more seeds per inch, be sure to plant rows farther apart.

HARVEST: Bunching: Cut or snap mature leaves individually. New leaves will grow for multiple harvests. Baby Leaf: Harvest with a knife when leaves reach desired size, about 3–6". Cut about an inch above the soil to allow for clean regrowth, making sure to cut above the basal plate. Cut again when leaves reach desired size (5–14 days, depending on variety).

Adapted from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Our Varieties

Greens

Collards - Vates

collards.jpg

Broad disease resistance and stress tolerance.

Plant Attributes

Leaf Size

Suggested Use

Days to Maturity - Baby / Bunching

Disease resistance, small leaves, easy harvest

3'" to 5"

Pickling, Fresh Eating

47

Kale - Black Magic Dino

03531_02_black_magic.jpg

Highly uniform for full-size production.

Plant Attributes

Leaf Size

Suggested Use

Days to Maturity -

Bunching

Heirloom annual brassica

Tall, straight bunches

Cooking and fresh eating

65

Kale - Redbor

02184_02_redbor.jpg

Frilly deep purple-red leaves.

Plant Attributes

Leaf Size

Suggested Use

Days to Maturity - Bunching

Hybrid annual brassica with cold tolerance

/

Garnishing, Eating

55

Kale - Winterbor Curly

00365_01_winterbor.jpg

The ruffled blue-green leaves have an attractive curl.

Plant Attributes

Leaf Size

Suggested Use

Days to Maturity - Bunching

Hybrid annual brassica with cold tolerance

/

Garnishing, Eating

60

Swiss Chard - Rainbow

00703jp_01_brightslightsfield.jpg

Nicely savoyed, green or bronze leaves with stems of many colors including gold, pink, orange, purple, red, and white with bright and pastel variations.

Plant Attributes

Leaf Size

Suggested Use

Days to Maturity - Baby / Bunching

Can be planted year round, but cover when frost is expected.

/

Mild flavor for cooking and fresh eating

28 / 55