Lettuce and Other Green Leafy Vegetables
Everyone knows that green leafy vegetables give your family huge amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not everyone knows that they are also easy to grow, pick, clean and eat. The great thing is once you pick them they grow back. Romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens, spinach, Swiss chard, endive, kale and collard greens are some options. You can grow them in a patch of dirt or a bag of potting soil that has been cut open or in a pot of dirt.
Buy some seeds at most any store, making sure the package says the seeds are packed for 2015. Plant the seeds at the right depth into the dirt, water regularly and when they are 4 to 6 inches tall, cut them off with a knife at about an inch from the ground. The plant will grow new leaves that you can then cut again.
Wash your leaves with water. Shake them well let them dry on a paper towel or use a salad spinner. Spinach, leaf lettuce, chard endive can all be mixed to make a great raw salad. Kale, greens, endive can all be cooked with a little water or in your favorite recipe.
Kids can help plant, weed, cut and wash these vegetables. What a fun way to help your kids understand how their food is grown and learn a bit of responsibility!
Expert advice on specifically growing, harvesting and any other questions you might have about gardening or growing other foods can be found for free through the Purdue Cooperative Extension office at 260-481-6826. Or visit them online www.ces.purdue.edu Printable information for leafy greens can be found here http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-29.pdf
You can also find many common vegetables that grow well in Indiana at https://www.extension.purdue.edu/gardentips/vegetables/print-friendly/Growing.pdf
As the days get hot, the plants will change taste and become bitter. Just pull out the plant and re-plant new seeds, you will have more greens in a few weeks. Enjoy!
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six