When you think of growing greens in your fall and winter garden, what comes to mind? Kale?
Sure, kale is a classic fall and winter garden staple. And while kale is a killer choice, there are other great—yet often overlooked—greens to grow in your cool-weather garden.
Below are 5 good-for-you greens (that are NOT kale) to plant in your fall and winter garden.
1. Collard Greens
What says Sunday dinner more than a side of collard greens?
Sow your seeds about 80 days before your first frost. Collard greens prefer loamy, easily-drained soils with a pH balance of 6.0 to 6.5. Like all leafy greens, collard greens are nitrogen lovers. Test and amend your soil as needed at least 7 days prior to planting. Collard greens are ready to harvest about 40 – 65 days after sowing.
2. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are another excellent option for fall and winter gardens, since they can tolerate light frosts. Did you grow onions, squash, or sweet corn this summer? Turnips are sometimes known as a “mop up” crop, since they use the soil-borne nitrogen left behind from these previous summer veggies. You can also grow turnips next to radishes. Sow turnips directly into the soil in late summer.
3. Mustard Greens
Mustard is a must, in our humble opinion. Quick and easy to grow, this spicy green is ready to harvest when they’re young and tender, usually 20 – 30 days after sowing. Mustard greens are hardy, able to withstand cold snaps as low as the 20s °F.
This fast-growing, hardy, frost-tolerant plant is another easy addition for your fall vegetable garden. Arugula seeds will germinate within a few days and be ready for harvest as soon as 4 weeks after planting. For ongoing production of arugula throughout fall, continually sow new seeds every 2 – 3 weeks.
Spinach is a fast-growing cool-weather plant that, when grown in the right conditions, can produce quite a yield throughout the fall season. Once large enough to eat, harvest spinach first from the outside leaves before moving inward. Spinach is another green that’s extremely cold-tolerant, able to withstand brief drops in temperatures as low as the teens.
What to do with all those greens?
Fall Greens Recipes
You’ve got the greens—now what to make with all of them?
My personal favorites are collard and turnip greens. I just put ham hock while cooking to enhance the flavor. A side of white beans and cornbread is a real comfort meal, especially as the temperatures begin to drop.
Here are a few other tasty recipes for your harvest of fall and winter greens.
Asian-Inspired Mustard Greens
Give your mustard greens an Asian twist with this side dish.
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (Optional)
- 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
- 6 cups washed and chopped mustard greens
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Japanese rice wine (mirin) vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sake (Optional)
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
Autumn Spinach Salad
The pear and dried cranberries in this salad is the essence of autumn.
6 ounces of fresh baby spinach
1 medium pear, sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Arugula Salad with Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette
The cheese and apple combo are enough to have our mouths watering.
FOR THE SALAD
- 5 ounces arugula or baby arugula
- 1 crisp apple, such as Fuji or Honeycrisp
- 3-1/2 ounces Manchego, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted if desired
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, from 1 shallot
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper