Try Growing These Great Leafy Greens – 5 Types!
Let’s take a look at some common and not-so-common leafy greens:
Edible leaves from common veggies
Leafy, edible “weeds”
Leafy green herbs
Staple greens are greens that are easy to grow and produce over a long season, perhaps even 2 or 3 seasons, yielding many meals from one planting.
Staple greens are time- and cost-effective, making them a good value for your investment of space, labor, and water.
Staple greens are versatile. Their flavors make them popular for everyday use in a wide range of recipes.
For specific growing instructions, read the seed packet. You will find all the important info in regards to best time to plant, how long you can expect to wait until harvest, whether the plants are winter hardy, and more!
Staple leafy greens to consider besides lettuce
- Swiss chard, a short-lived perennial (meaning you might get 2 or even 3 seasons of harvests)
Swiss chard, spinach, and kale invite repeated harvests from individual plants. Simply cut a few leaves and leave the topmost point of the plant to grow and produce more leaves for you.
Cabbage is a one-time harvest but is a substantial ingredient. A single head of cabbage can be made into an entire quart of sauerkraut or used over the course of multiple meals. Cabbage also stores well in the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag, as do all staple greens, but cabbage has the longest “shelf life” in the fridge.
Try edible leaves from common veggies
Expand your definition of edible greens. Some of the plants you already grow in your garden offer edible leaves. Some, like radish leaves, are best cooked to neutralize their tiny prickles. All should be picked while young and tender and their color a light, vibrant green.
- Radish and beet leaves
- Kohlrabi and broccoli leaves
- Young carrot tops
- Nasturtium leaves
- Pea shoots
Instead of “weeding,” try eating!
Have you stopped to consider that some (not all) of the “weeds” you labor to pull from your garden might actually be edible? Not only edible, but delicious and nutritious! The wild greens listed below are common in many places. It is important to correctly identify any wild plant before eating it.
- Purslane (crisp, succulent texture with bright, lemony taste)
- Dandelion (pick leaves young when mildly bitter)
- Pigweed (neutral taste)
- Plantain (very mild)
Experience international flavors
Seed companies and seed exchanges offer edible leafy greens from around the world. A virtual cornucopia awaits you with a vast array of leaf shapes, colors, and flavors to jazz up your meals.
- Asian cabbages and bok choy (very mild cabbage flavor)
- Mustard (zesty)
- Tong Ho, edible chrysanthemum (both leaves and flowers are edible with a savory flavor)
Leafy green herbs add interest and flavor
If you have a variety of culinary herbs in your yard, garden, or in pots, you are ahead of the curve.
- Borage (cool-tasting leaves plus star-shaped flowers that taste like cucumber)
- Lemon balm (lemony)
- Mints (so many flavors to choose from!)
- Italian parsley (refreshing)
- Fennel (ferny leaves with mild anise flavor)