Greens come in different varieties ranging in color, texture, and shape of leaves. These varying types of greens come from different regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Southeastern US. Most greens grow best in moist, rich soil.
To prepare the soil for planting, spread compost over the planting area, about 3” thick. Carefully turn the compost into the ground with a digging fork, loosening the soil. With a few exceptions like molokhia, amaranth, and summer spinach, all other varieties of greens (sold by Sow True Seed) thrive in cooler temperatures and do not grow well in summer.
Aim to start seeds about four weeks before the last frost. Fall plantings can tolerate frost, which actually contributes to a sweeter flavor to the greens. Plant seeds just under the soil, about a half an inch apart. Once the seedlings sprout and grow their first leaves, thin them to about 8-12” apart. Your baby greens are delicious, eat your thinnings!
Keep soil moist as they grow, at least an inch of water per week. Greens can be eaten at any stage, for cut and come again harvesting, pull a few leaves at a time from the outside of your plants and allow the main plants to continue to grow. When the plants are fully mature, you should cut the whole head at the base with a sharp knife. Your spring plantings will likely get bitter and/or bolt in the heat of summer, so harvest before that time and use the garden space for something else.
Molokhia, Corchorus olitorius
Pollination, insect; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, 1/2 mile
For seed production select strong, true-to-type plants. Foliage will lighten or yellow when seeds begin to mature. Harvest the seed by shaking them into a paper bag. Alternatively harvest the entire plant when most seeds are mature. Seeds are easily threshed by hand. Clean by winnowing. Place clean, dry seeds in air-tight container and store in a cool, dry location.