Farm, Garden and The Land > Gardening and Agriculture

Leafy Green Inconsistency


Hello Everyone,

Quick Disclaimer: This is the first year I've really engaged in horticulture and gardening in general so I recognize that there may be a number of mistakes here but I'm hoping to get some general best practices.

Because of my hardiness zone (6A Ohio), I decided to get a head start on growing this year by investing in a Biodome to start seeds in:

I took a shotgun approach and planted all manner of vegetables and herbs, approximately 30 varieties in all. For the most part it went fairly well, what didn't go well at all was the spinach and Swiss chard. I was surprised because the Bok Choy I planted is by far my best performing vegetable, all 4 pods made it and they are the strongest plants of the bunch. I only ended up with 1 pod of each of the spinach and chard and they look horrible out in the raised beds right now. I even tired to go a second round on the spinach in the pods and now I can't even seem to get those seeds to germinate.

I'm a bit disappointed because I'd really like to nail the green leafy vegetable stock to provide a base for healthy salads in the summer. I'm wonder if those pods simply aren't an effective strategy for this class of vegetable or if I failed in some other area. Any tips or tricks you can provide would be wonderful!

As always, thanks TSP community!

I don't know how your weather is in your area, but in MD, it's HOT.  Spinach is a cold weather crop so should be grown early in the Spring.  When it gets hot, the plants will often bolt.  Seeds not sprouted often won't sprout.  You can try for spinach again in the Fall.  Look it up, but I think that you plant a fall planting 4-6 weeks prior to your first frost date.

You'll need to search out Summer greens to get them for salads.  One of the seed companies I used to buy from has a "Summer Mesculin" mix with various types of heat hardy greens.  I seem to recall that they were more bitter than other lettuce mixes.

What else did you plant?

Thank you very much for the response! I think you are absolutely correct, I believe I may have waited to long to plant. Cleveland has really tricky weather and so planting before Mothers day is a risky proposition, but it seems as though it may simply be to warm for my spinach, broccoli, and other cool weather vegetables.

I have absolutely started to witness some of my plants bolting extremely early, so you are right on that front as well. In addition I've seen quite a bit of yellowing around the leaves, especially on the Broccoli and Cauliflower. I did some further research and realized that I'm also watering wayyyyyyyyyyy to much. I'm embarrassed to say that after I installed my drip irrigation system, I didn't do nearly enough research on the amount of water required. I was watering twice a day, in 10 minute increments, in an 8X4 bed, with a planting mix (probably closest to Loam). In other words, I was delivering a weeks worth of water in a day, 7 days a week.

I have made an egregious amount of mistakes at this point but I'm glad I did. I suppose you have to go through a first year gardening at least once and I've learned an awful lot in this brief period. I'm about to move to my summer vegetables (Squash, Beans, etc.) so we'll see if I can do a little better on this round and also try again in the fall for some of the cooler vegetables.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!

Good on you doing all this! The best way to learn is to try. I have had good luck this year with my salad greens, although I didn't plant any spinach at all. I have Bibb lettuce and a mesclun mix (as mentioned by fritz). Some of the mesclun mix has begun to bolt, but some of the plants are still doing OK. I hope to get a couple more cuttings before it becomes too warm for them. I cut from all the plants (selecting a few of the larger leaves) every couple of days and it has seemed to work well.

My radishes are bolting now, too. That last planting germinated, but they aren't doing well, as it has gotten too hot.

Good luck with your summer veges... did you direct plant them? My squash (summer and zucchini) are getting ready to really start producing. I have many small (3" or so) all over both types of squash plants. I'm also getting small cucumbers and butternuts growing well. Pumpkins and Hopi Pale Grey are looking good, too.

We already pulled out the red potatoes and they are very good. We'll have to do more next summer. I've got sweet potato slips that have just recently been planted and are doing well, so I hope we see a decent crop. My broccoli is doing fairly well, but I'm afraid I may have to harvest them before the heads are very big because of the warm weather. The cabbage is looking good, but I'm afraid it could also bolt, as I really didn't plant them soon enough. I do have rutabagas and kale that are still doing ok as it gets warmer, but I'm also focusing more on the warm weather plants -- tomatoes, peppers, green beans, etc. We've had a couple of meals with our own green beans already, but they are still just getting started.

I've ordered a "Marvel of Four Seasons" lettuce that I plan to try out for a fall planting... has very reasonable seed packets.


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