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How to Grow Greens

Collard, mustard and turnip greens are all in the same family, but each has its own unique flavor. Grow them all to compare for yourself.

More in Outdoors

collards, mustards and turnips are each unique
  • Time

    Several Months

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Highlights:

Step 1: Purchase Seeds

Collard, mustard and turnip greens are all part of the same family, but each has a different flavor. Most gardeners grow greens from seed sown directly in the garden.

Step 2: Prepare Site

Greens like well-worked soil with lots of organic material. Use a garden fork to work a mixture of humus and composted manure deep into the soil. Add approximately one cup of slow-release fertilizer to cover a 4' x 9' garden bed and work it into the soil.

loosen the soil to make way for greens

Step 3: Plant Seeds

Greens can be sown in the ground as soon as it can be worked in early spring. Plant seeds 1/2" deep and 2" apart in rows spaced at least 18" apart. Cover the seeds with soil and water well. Place row markers to indicate which variety of greens was planted where. Cover the bed with a floating row cover to speed up germination.

plastic garden covers speed up germination process

Step 4: Cultivate Greens

When seedlings sprout, thin plants to one every 8" by cutting them off at ground level with clean shears. As the weather warms and the greens grow larger, remove the row covers. Water plants during extended dry periods to maintain adequate moisture levels. Keep a constant lookout for pests like aphids and cabbage worms, removing and destroying them as quickly as possible.

thin the seedlings using sharp clean scissors

Step 5: Harvest Greens

Greens generally reach maturity in 40 to 70 days. Harvest just the leaves you wish to eat from the outside of the plants. If plants grow so large that they begin to touch, harvest entire heads to make room. Harvest entire plants before the heat of summer decreases the flavor and quality of the leaves.

harvesting greens is simple and easy

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