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Growing the best greens for your winter salad

Kale from my garden
Kale from my garden
Copyright Jaipi Sixbear 2014 All rights reserved

Why should you stop gardening when the snow falls? You'll miss the best part. Salad greens love the cold, as long as it's not too cold. Make use of cold frames to produce plenty of salad greens throughout the winter. They'll be the best tasting, crispiest salads you'll ever taste. Here's some tips on growing the very best greens for your winter salads.

Why do greens taste better when grown in cold weather?

I don't know. I just know they do. Greens grown in warm weather tend to go to seed faster. They aren't nearly as crispy. Plus, some greens will take on a kind of spicy flavor when grown in the heat of summer. They sometimes wilt in the afternoon sun, which makes it difficult to include crisp greens in your dinner salad.

Use cold frames or row covers for winter greens.

You may not be able to grow salad greens all winter long in certain climates. Salad greens are not freeze proof. They do need some sun. They also need that crisp air. You can compromise by using cold frames or row covers to protect them from freezing temps. If you can afford it, a heated greenhouse may be an option. Just don't overheat it. Once again, that crispy air is essential for the best tasting salad greens.

Weeds like cold frames too.

In fact, they thrive in them. They grow rapidly under the protection of a cold frame or cover. Why wouldn't they? In fact, they grow like crazy if you don't keep an eye on them, just like they do in summer What don't you have to worry so much about when growing winter greens? Pests that would normally eat away at your crop aren't cold hardy. You should still check for them, but you don't have to be quite as diligent.

What kind of fertilizer do salad greens like?

Non-animal compost works very well for salad greens. You can also water your greens with compost tea once or twice during their lifespan. Apply it around the greens without touching the plants. Take care with animal based fertilizers. If not properly aged, they can carry bacteria. Excess nitrogen can also be an environmental hazard. The run off can leach into the water supply causing algae growth which robs other water life of needed oxygen.

More tips:

*Salad greens do best when given 6-12 inches of space to grow.

*Adequate drainage and water are a must for perfect winter greens.

*Salad greens can be grown hydroponically, just be sure to keep heat low.

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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