Even though the weather is only now beginning to settle enough to plant vegetable seeds outdoors directly in the garden…
I’ve been harvesting and eating delicious garden fresh kale, collards, cress, and other spring greens for a number of weeks already.
Garden Fresh Spring Greens
That’s just one of the side benefits reaped from planting a fall vegetable garden; many of the winter vegetables will actually survive to provide additional harvests of fresh produce during early spring when nothing else is available to enjoy out of the home garden.
The leafy greens will continue to produce great tasting green vegetables until the end of spring when temperatures warm up and the plants run to seed. At that time the overwintered greens can be removed, freeing up space to plant other summer crops.
Great Choices for Early Spring Harvesting
My spring greens usually consist of various kales, collards, mustards, and spinach. All of these vegetable plants will easily survive the Central Pennsylvania, Zone 6 winters and will produce new growth beginning in early to mid March.
To harvest spring greens simply break off a leaf or two from each plant, being careful to leave the growing tip untouched to continue producing new leaves. You can continue harvesting a new batch of fresh greens every few days until the plants slow their leaf growth and begin seed production.
Enjoying Spring Greens Straight from the Garden
Picked while they young and small, the spring greens are sweeter and tenderer than those huge, mature leaves that are typically sold at the local grocery store. The fresh young greens can be cooked in a matter of minutes and can even be eaten raw as a salad ingredient.
There are varieties of lettuce, such as winter lettuce that can also be planted during the fall to produce extra early spring vegetables. In addition to the spring greens, I’m currently harvesting baby garlics and leeks that were planted in the raised beds last summer and fall.
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