Growing autumn greens is so easy, even George Bush could do it. And as W himself might say, “Now is the idealistic time to plant.”
“Oak Leaf” lettuce and “Red Giant” mustard
Why should you be growing greens?
1. They’re the easiest vegetables to start from seed and germinate quickly. Just follow the directions on the seed packet.
2. If seed-starting isn’t your thing, you can make things even easier by setting out transplants you’ll find now in most nurseries and garden centers.
3. They thrive in the cool, crisp days of autumn and will produce for months. Some especially hardy ones, such as kale and collards, will survive winter cold and keep producing into spring. Frosts increase the leaves’ sugar content, making them even sweeter.
4. There are many fewer pests in fall than in spring and summer, so it’s easy to go organic. Just give your plants full to part sun; moist, well-drained soil; and a drink of liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks and they’ll do fine.
5. They do great in containers as well as in the ground.
6. They’re pretty as well as tasty and come in different colors. Grumpy likes planting red and green lettuce, mustard, and kale in patterns that make him look artsy and sophisticated.
The following varieties aren’t new, but they’re dependable and good. Of course, if you haven’t grown them before, then they’re new to you and therefore very exciting.
Lettuce – ‘Bibb’ (green butterhead type), ‘Oak Leaf’ (green loose-leaf), ‘Red Sails’ (red loose-leaf)
Mustard – ‘Red Giant’ (reddish-purple leaves), ‘Savannah’ (large, deep green leaves)
Kale – ‘Lacinato’ (dark green, curly leaves, very cold-hardy), ‘Redbor’ (crinkly, deep red leaves), ‘Red Russian’ (smooth, gray-green leaves with purple veins, delicious!), ‘Winterbor’ (crinkly, blue-green leaves)
Collards – ‘Champion’ (dark blue-green leaves, very cold-hardy), ‘Georgia Southern’ (deep green leaves, very cold-hardy and productive)