Fall is a perfect time to start a greens garden. Where I live (the desert Southwest) it is just starting to cool off enough that I can grow greens outdoors without UV shade cloth covering the garden area. I plant by seed now so that I can start harvesting baby greens by the end of September and full greens all the way through the Fall and Winter.
If you live in a cooler climate, Fall is still a great time to plant a greens garden. Greens don’t like intense sun anyways, so it works out well. For extreme northerly areas, you may want to pick greens that are more frost resistant and you may have to cover up young plants for the first month if there are frost warnings. You may also want to use transplants rather than starting from seed. Many nurseries will have things hardier plants like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower already started for you. These cruciferous veggies make excellent greens for you green smoothies!
I will be starting bok choi, pak choi, turnip greens, kale, collards, arugula, radish (for the greens), carrots (for the greens) along with brocolli, cauliflower, swiss chard and spinach. Here are some of the health benefits of just 2 of these greens, and these are all good reasons to grow your own greens:
Spinach: This dark leafy green (and others like it, including kale, swiss chard and collards) contains lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidant carotenoids that may help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also a source of calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. Since pesticides are commonly used on conventionally grown varieties, growing your own is the best alternative. Otherwise, be sure to buy organic spinach.
Cabbage: Cabbage is very inexpensive and and easy to grow, yet is highly nutritious. One of the cruciferous vegetables (which also incudes brocolli leaves, cabbage leaves and kohlrabi leaves) contains nutrients called indoles, which may protect against both breast and prostate cancer. It also provides significant amounts of fiber and vitamin C.
I grow greens year ’round, and you can too. It just takes a little planning and minimal effort (as far as gardening goes). But the payoff is an abundant supply of healthy, tasty, nutritous fresh organic greens every day for use in your green smoothies!