Cool-Season Veggies Pt. 1: Leafy Greens
We all know that gardening is a welcome distraction from the chaotic world around us, and this has never been more true than now. Aside from growing beautiful flowers and foliage to adorn your landscape, adding edible plants to your garden can be one way to level up your skills and feed your loved ones! In this post, we're going to focus on our favorite leafy green veggies like lettuce, kale, spinach, and arugula.
Cool-season vegetables are called such because they can tolerate the lower temperatures the come with early spring days and nights. For us here in New Jersey, that season is now! Some varieties of lettuce and kale actually taste better after a light frost.
Lettuce, arugula, and spinach are known to "bolt" in warmer temperatures. "Bolting" means the plant is stressed and has gone to flower in order to produce seeds. Bolting affects the overall flavor of the leaves of the plant, as it works to divert energy from growing leaves to producing seeds. To prevent bolting, make sure you plant your veggies early enough in the season to keep the soil nice and cool.
Here at Barlow's we have vegetable seedlings that are healthy, cared for, and ready to be transplanted right into your own garden. For lettuce, plant your looseleaf seedlings 4-8" apart, and crisphead seedlings 12" apart. Kale, spinach, and arugula should also be spaced about 12" apart to leave plenty of room for plants to mature. Be sure to plant in a sunny area that receives *at least* 4-6 hours of sunlight per day.
Help your new leafy greens grow strong all season by giving them a bit of fertilizer. Feed regularly with an organic plant food like Jack's All-Purpose. Make sure plants stay evenly moist! Water them thoroughly when the top layer of soil begins to feel dry.
Leafy veggies can be harvested as soon as the leaves are large enough! Pluck the outer leaves from arugula, spinach, kale, and lettuce to allow the remaining leaves to mature. To harvest head lettuces, make a cut at the base of the plant and remove the head.
To plant your own leafy greens, shop online for curbside pickup or local delivery! You can browse our veggie selection by clicking here.
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