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8 Tasty Greens to Plant in Your Spring Garden

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It’s time to start thinking about those first tasty greens to grow in your early spring garden! It might not seem like it – but the weather will be warming up soon and you’ll want to get your spring garden plants going. So, get your plan, and get ready! Here are some of our favorite greens!

Tasty Greens Make the Perfect Spring Garden Plants featured image

Tasty Greens Make the Perfect Spring Garden Plants

Greens are low in calories nutritional powerhouses as they are high in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium. They can be eaten raw or cooked and show up in every cuisine.  

Tasty Greens Make the Perfect Spring Garden Plants

Greens grow well in cool weather and in dappled shade once it begins to warm up.  They grow fast and are perfect for a quick salad, stir fry or addition to stews and soups.  They have a flavor of their own but easily absorb and blend well with other flavors and foods.

Arugula

The deep blue green leaves of Arugula, or Eruca vesicaria, has a spicy bite to it and we enjoy it in a simple salad.  You may know it as rocket, ruchetta, or rucola.  Like most greens it is frost tolerant and can be eaten in only 40 days which makes it one of my favorite spring garden plants. 

  • Botanical Name: Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
  • Days to Maturity: 20–28 days
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Native: Africa, Asia, Europe; exact native range obscure
  • Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annual
  • Variety Information: Soft, green leaves are slightly lobed as a baby green, with hints of red in the veins. Flavor can be described as peppery.
  • Attributes: Good for Containers

Buy Arugula seeds from Botanical Interests or Amazon.

Tasty Greens Make the Perfect Spring Garden Plants feature

Bok Choy

Bok choy, or Brassica rapa, is also known as pak choi. I think it is the cutest of all greens.  This mild-tasting crunchy plant is frequently used in stir-fries.  We prefer to make kimchi every late fall/early winter which is a spicy, fermented Korean side dish with our bok choy.   

  • Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea subsp. chinensis
  • Days to Maturity: 35–60 Days
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Native: Eurasia
  • Hardiness: Frost-tolerant biennial usually grown as an annual
  • Plant Dimensions: Up to 20″ tall, 12″ wide
  • Variety Information: Smooth, dark green leafy blades in a cluster, with white, crisp stems.
  • Variety Information: Very attractive, spoon-shaped, dark green, thick leaves arranged in a rosette form. Soft texture.
  • Attributes: Good for Containers

Buy Bok Choy Seeds at Botanical Interests or Amazon.

Corn Salad

Corn salad, or Valerianella locusta, is a small, nutty green that does well in cool weather. I first became of aware of it in Germany, where it’s called Feld Salat.

It’s known by a variety of other names too, including mâche or lambs lettuce.  It’s delicious as lettuce on its own, or as a spinach alternative, and to make sa’ag, a deliciously creamy, Indian side dish.

If you also grow corn, toss some corn salad seeds amongst the corn rows. It will add an extra layer of shade to your corn roots and you’ll grow more to harvest in the same gardening space.

  • Botanical Name: Valerianella locusta
  • Days to Maturity: 60 days
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Native: North America
  • Hardiness: Short lived perennial in USDA zones 4–7. Grown as annual in mild climates.
  • Plant Dimensions: 6″ tall and up to 8″ diameter
  • Variety Information: Dark green, spoon-shaped, soft leaves in a loose rosette.

Buy seeds from Botanical Interests or Amazon.


Sorrel – Early Spring Garden Plant

Common Sorrel, or Rumex acetosa, grows from early spring until late fall and returns year after year. It has slender green leaves have a refreshing, slightly sour lemon flavor that is delicious in a sauce for fish. We like to add a few to our waters while working on fence lines when it’s getting late and we need a cool pick me up.

  • Botanical Name: Rumex acetosa
  • Days to Maturity: 60 days
  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • Native: Morocco, Europe, Asia, and Australia
  • Hardiness: Hardy perennial in USDA zones 3–7
  • Plant Dimensions: 18″–24″ tall and wide
  • Variety Information: Green, crinkled, arrow-shaped leaves with lemony spinach flavor
  • Attributes: Good for Containers

Buy on Botanical Interests or Amazon.

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Slow bolt lettuce, summer seeded

Lettuce

Lettuce, or Lactuca sativa, is easy to grow from seed and fast to reach maturity, usually 45 to 60 days after planting. It comes in head and leaf forms. Nearly every type of lettuce is known for its cold tolerance.

Tasty Greens Make the Perfect Spring Garden Plants
Fall self-seeded Rouge de Hiver Lettuce

There are so many ways to use the different types of lettuce but I think our favorite way is in wraps and salads.  Rouge de Hiver is one of my favorites lettuce plants with its beautiful red and deep green leaves. Slow Bolt Lettuce is also great for people in warmer climates.

Mizuna

Green Mizuna, or Brassica rapa var japonica, is a delicious, delicate spring garden plant with green fringed edges. It tolerates most weather and is ready to eat 20 to 40 days after planting.  I love to pair it with a sweet and sour type vinaigrette, violet flowers, feta cheese and thinly slivered almonds. 

  • Botanical Name: Brassica rapa subsp. nipposinica
  • Days to Maturity: 30–50 days
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Native: Probably Eurasia
  • Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annual
  • Plant Dimensions: Will grow 12″ tall and wide, though typically harvested when smaller

You can buy Mizuna Seeds at Botanical Interests or Amazon.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens, or Brassica juncea, do very well with some frost, but bolts very quickly come late spring. We prefer to eat the outer leaves when they are small and delicate as the sharp bite often does well with a creamy or nutty based dressing. 

Warning, mustard greens can become invasive so be sure to remove them before they bolt or collect their seed to make your own mustard for sandwiches. I think they may be the hardest working spring garden plant since they provide spring greens and summer condiments.

  • Botanical Name: Brassica assorted species (hybrid)
  • Days to Maturity: 25–30 days
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Native: Widespread; probably Eurasia
  • Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annuals
  • Variety Information: Various leaf shapes, from serrated to rounded, with a mix of green and red tender leaves.

Buy Mustard Green Seeds at Botanical Interests or Amazon.

Tatsoi

Tatsoi, or Brassica rapa rosularis, grows through cold temperatures and light snow and also tolerates hot weather. That means it is a plant that is available year round and has a tendency to be invasive. Its has a mild peppery taste like most greens but I prefer to eat it stir fried with fried tofu or ginger beef. 

  • Botanical Name: Brassica rapa subsp. narinosa
  • Days to Maturity: 45 days
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Native: Eurasia
  • Hardiness: Frost-tolerant biennial usually grown as an annual
  • Plant Dimensions: 4″–6″ tall, 6″–8″ wide. More spacing between plants produces wider rosettes/plants.
  • Variety Information: Very attractive, spoon-shaped, dark green, thick leaves arranged in a rosette form. Soft texture.
  • Attributes: Good for Containers

Buy Tatsoi Seeds at Botanical Interests or Amazon.

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We are huge fans of greens and enjoy them in a lot of recipes.  The majority of the ways we eat our winter greens are following Korean, Chinese or Indian based recipes.

How do you eat your greens?  What plants are you excited to grow in your spring garden?

 Be sure to pick up my printable garden plan, and get ready! All my subscribers can download it for free. Here are some of our favorite greens!

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About Michelle

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.

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