This is a broad category that includes various items with different culture requirements. Check each variety name for when and how it should be planted. This group of vegetables is often overlooked by many. However, most of the members in this classification have very high levels of nutrients and antioxidants and can do wonders for improving one’s diet. When doing work for a graduate class, I discovered an interesting nutritional fact about Malabar Spinach. 1/4 cup of Malabar Spinach leaves has more Vitamin A than 12 pounds of the genetically modified “Golden Rice” that is being promoted as a savior of eyesight for people in “Third World Countries”. Many greens can be juiced together with different fruits to make very healthy and nutritious smoothies. Experiment to find the combinations that best fit your taste buds. UPDATED FOR 2020
Cool Weather Greens
Ideal for cold frames and season extenders.
Arugula- 40 days- Fast growing, cool season salad green. Distinct, spicy flavor, best used when young and grown in cool weather. Heat and longevity tend to make it taste bitter. Can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked up until mid-August. Approximately 1000 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50
Broadleaf Mache- 55 days- Commonly called Cornsalad. Grows well in cool weather. Long, glossy green leaves, forms bunches, distinct, nutty flavor. Used as a mixed salad green. Plant early or again in mid-August. Does not like the heat. Approximately 1500 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.25
French Sorrel- 50 to 70 days- Tangy, lemon flavored leaves that are a good food for the chickens and rabbits (as well as for humans). Add sparingly as a garnish to salads or to soups due to its strong flavor. Plant early in the Spring and pick the leaves as needed. This winters over here in Iowa for an early spring treat. Approximately 1000 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50
Hon Tsai Tai- 40 days- A quick maturing Chinese green that has purplish stems. It flowers quickly, but the flowers are very tasty. Direct seed as early as possible. Approximately 250 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $2.00
Minutina (Plantago corynopsus)- 50 days- Cold hardy salad plant, does best in cooler weather, small plants with slender, crinkled green leaves. Direct seed early in the garden. Plant in early August for a fall garden. Approximately 800 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50 Certified Organic Seed
Mizuna- 55 days- Very fine, cutleaf foliage; tender, juicy Japanese green. Plants are very vigorous, ornamental and tasty. Can be eaten both raw or lightly steamed. May be direct seeded in early Spring, but I plant it August 1 for a nice Fall crop. Approximately 700 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50 Certified Organic Seed
Rapini- 60 days- Broccoli Raab type Asian cabbage. Best if you live in a mild climate where it can be over wintered and harvested early in the spring. If not possible, plant early in the spring and harvest the small, dime sized side shoots. First buds are the best followed by the secondary shoots. They can be steamed in water or sautéed in a combination of water and olive oil and then dressed in olive oil, lemon and salt. Approximately 850 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50 Certified Organic Seed
Red Orach- 30 days- Beautiful plant, deep purple-red, naturalizes. Needs to be direct seeded in the garden very early or seed will lay dormant until the next season. Best eaten steamed and eaten like spinach. Old vegetable dating back to Roman times. Approximately 250 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $2.00
Red Leaf Mizuna- 55 days- a reddish purple version of the regular Mizuna, approximately 700 seeds per packet. Pkt. $1.75
Vegetable Mallow- 50 days- A tender mallow used as a cooked green leaf vegetable (like spinach). A favorite of Thomas Jefferson. Very nutritious. Early and easy. Looks like an upright weed. Direct seed in the garden from early Spring through mid-Summer. this will naturalize in many circumstances and produce a continuous crop from its own self seeding,.Pkt. $2.00 Certified Organic Seed
Warm Weather Greens
Good for harvest during the Summer heat.
Melo Khiya (Corcorus olitorius)- 80 days- A popular Arabic Summer vegetable green. Quick grower in hot weather. Plants get upwards of 3 feet tall. Young leaves are tender and cooked like spinach. Flavor is best when cooked and not eaten raw. Once plants get more mature the fiber can be turned into jute and used as a fiber plant. Pkt. $2.00 Certified Organic Seed
Shungiku Largeleaf- 80 days- (aka Edible Chrysanthemum) Flowering plant that makes a nice decoration. Also, the leaves have a particular tanginess when sautéed and used in soup and salad. Direct seed in the garden about the time of your last frost. Approximately 1250 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.25 Certified Organic Seed
These are an especially tasty addition to salads. Another great way to extend the fresh season is to take a cheap discount store plastic dishpan filled with soil. Then sprinkle seed on top of the soil thickly and grow in a sunny window for fresh salad fixings in the off season. The greens are especially tender and mild this way.
Fall Greens Mix- A special mix of greens including lettuces, chards, greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, endive that is designed to be planted in the late Summer (early to late August here in Iowa) to be harvested from mid-September until the ground freezes. Packet will plant a 25 foot row. Pkt. $2.25
Spring Greens Mix- A special mix of greens including lettuces, spinach, chard, arugula, mustard, and wrinkled cress that is designed to be planted early in the Spring. It will provide a colorful and tasty salad mix. Harvest when the plants are young and tiny for fresh green salads. Direct seed in the garden early in the Spring. Packet will plant a 25 foot row. Pkt. $2.25
Plant early as soil can be worked and a succession planting in late July. Plant a few seeds per inch about 1/2 inch deep. Thin as needed to 3 to 4 inches between plants. Approximately 1200 seeds/pkt.
Catalogna Long Green - 75 days - Rapid growing dandelion-like leaves. Overwintered in garden produces tastier leaves early the following Spring. Pkt. $1.25
Mixed Radicchio- 80 days- A mix of 3 types that will provide a nice colorful mix of salad greens. Best quality is obtained from forcing the roots. I dig the roots in the Fall, place in tubs of dirt, put in my basement in minimal light and let them form loose heads of tasty greens in the mid-winter. May also be picked directly from the garden in late Fall, but this will result in a stronger flavor. Pkt. $1.50
Palla Rossa - 95 days - Heads have dark green leaves outside and red inside. Not necessary to force. Best planted mid-summer. Pkt. $1.25
Red Treviso - 100 days - Long slender green leaves that turn red in the cool Fall weather. Bitter and non-heading unless trimmed and forced. When properly forced, produces a delicious mid-Winter salad green. Pkt. $1.25
Very frost sensitive. Plant seed when it is hot or transplant then. Gorgeous and tasty plant. Plant seed about 1 inch deep every 6 inches.
Green Malabar- 70 days- Beautiful, deep green with a shiny gloss to the leaves, high in vitamins, vining, tropical like plant that tolerates no frost. Used as a spinach substitute in salads. Cooked leaves and stems are somewhat slimy (like spinach), but very nutritious. Does not tolerate cold conditions at all. Approximately 50 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $2.50 Certified Organic Seed
Red Malabar- 70 days- Wonderfully colorful plant used as a warm weather spinach substitute when spinach tends to bolt. Climbing plants are wine red with thick green leaves. Does not tolerate cold conditions. Approximately 100 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $2.50 Certified Organic Seed
Wrinkled Crinkled Cress- 30 days - Early, vigorous plants producing a spicy flavored addition to salads. Approximately 1000 seeds/pkt. Pkt. $1.50 Certified Organic Seed