You’ve decided you want to start a leafy green garden. Congratulations! Growing your own leafy greens is a great way to get fresh, healthy produce right at your fingertips. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding hobby. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Choose the right location. Leafy greens need full sun, so pick a spot in your yard that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have a sunny spot, you can also grow leafy greens in containers on a sunny deck or patio.
- Prepare the soil. Leafy greens prefer loose, well-drained soil. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, mix in some organic matter such as compost or peat moss to help improve drainage.
- Sow the seeds. Once you’ve chosen your location and prepared the soil, it’s time to sow the seeds. For most leafy greens, you can simply scatter the seeds on the ground and then lightly cover them with soil. Water well and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
- Thin the seedlings. Once the seedlings have sprouted, thin them out so that they are spaced about 8 inches apart. This will give them room to grow and prevent them from competing for resources such as water and nutrients.
- Keep them watered. Leafy greens need consistent moisture to grow well, so water them regularly during dry spells. If possible, set up a drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to the roots of the plants without wetting the leaves (which can encourage fungal diseases).
- Fertilize regularly. Leafy greens are heavy feeders, so they will benefit from regular applications of fertilizer throughout the growing season. A balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is a good choice, or you can use an organic fertilizer such as compost or manure tea. Apply fertilizer according to package directions and be sure not to overdo it – too much fertilizer can burn the plants’ roots.
- Harvest often. The more you harvest your leafy greens, the more they will produce! So make sure to cut them frequently and use them fresh in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes