If you love growing greens here is some guides to help you grow them almost all year long. Actually you can grow them indoors under lights in small pots or trays and cut them as baby leaves for salads or sautes year round!

Arugula (Roquette)

Euruca sativa    How to Grow::   Grows best when grown Sept. –  April, , Arugula is a cool-weather crop that requires loose, rich, moist soil. Sow seeds in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked, with successive sowings 3-4 weeks apart. Sow 1/4 in. deep, 1 in. apart, in rows 8-12 in. apart, thinning to 4-6 in. apart.

Chinese Cabbage

Brassica rapa    How to Grow:   In Florida plant out October – January.  Does not grow well in heat, will rot or bolt to seed.  Start indoors 5 weeks before planting out.  Steady moisture and rich fertile soil is a must.  Very cold hardy.

Seed Savers: Crosses with Chinese mustard, broccoli raab, turnips, and some rapeseed (canola). Isolate by a minimum of 600 ft. to 1/8 mile for home use, or by 1/4 to 1/2 mile for pure seed.


Brassica oleracea var. acephala    How to Grow: Kale and collards are members of the cabbage family, and have similar cultural requirements (See Cabbage section). They are both forms of non-heading cabbage and are among the earliest forms of cultivated cabbage. Both are exceptionally high in iron and in vitamins A and C. Collards are more heat-tolerant than cabbage and are usually winter-hardy from Virginia southward. Kale is best grown as a spring, fall, or winter vegetable. The taste of both kale and collards is sweetened and enhanced by frosts and cool temperatures. Kale and collards are best cooked, but young greens grown in cool weather are good in salads.

Harvest: Clip individual leaves before they are 12 in. long. Old leaves become tough and stringy.

Diseases and Pests: Cabbage worms can be controlled with bT. Pick harlequin bugs off spring-sown crops or start new crops in late summer.


Brassica oleracea var. acephala and Brassica napus      How to Grow: Kale is an easy-to-grow, nutritious brassica (cabbage-family) leafy green rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron and magnesium. This frost-hardy traditional crop can, with protection, provide winter greens even in the north. Flavor is best and disease problems are few when grown in cool weather. Plant in early spring for early greens, or in late summer for fall & winter harvest. Flavor of summer-sown kale improves after the first fall frost. Kale prefers full sun and fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Germination: 6-10 days. For spring sowings, start indoors 4 weeks before planting  or direct sow Sept. – Feb..  Sow 1/4″ deep. Thin to 8-12″ apart in rows 16-30″ part. Use thick mulch & irrigate to maintain moisture during hot weather.

Pests: Kale has fewer pests than other brassicas. Use floating row cover to reduce insect damage to young plants. Practice a four-year rotation for all brassica crops to reduce disease and pests.

Harvest: Collect young leaves anytime. Clip oldest leaves when less than 12″ long for tender leaves and best flavor.

Swiss Chard

Beta vulgaris var. cicla

This a great spinach substitute since it grows great almost all year in Florida.  Plant in part shade and mulch in warmer months. Leaf stems are edible as well as leaves. A few plants of Swiss chard will provide a large supply of greens throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Can withstand light frosts; mulching around plants may help plants overwinter in areas with mild winters. Planted from early to late spring, or again in the fall.

How to Grow: Start indoors 5 weeks before planting out in Sept. – March. or sow seeds 1/2 to 3/4 in. deep and thin to 12-16 in. apart.  

Harvest: Clip off leaves near the base of the plant.

Cooking: Excellent when stir-fried, or used in creamed soups or quiche. Freezes well.