Seasonal Availability Is Bittersweet

By Loren Skoug | December 17, 2021
Image by Vaivirga
by Loren Skoug
December 17, 2021

I don’t have many regrets, but I definitely started growing leafy greens way too late in my gardening game. The sheer scope and versatility of leaf vegetables make them a must for even the pickiest growers. From sweet and succulent to bitter and spicy, there is a variety for every palate.

Jumping In

About three years ago, I jumped into the world of leafy greens with some spinach and lettuce. I’m not a picky eater, but I never enjoyed spinach. Unless I was making smoothies or juice, I avoided its watery flavor. That was before I tasted home grown spinach. 

I had just created a new raised bed and needed something to fill it with, so I decided to try something new. Spring was just around the corner when I sowed my first spinach and by May I had more leaves than I could consume. By then I was not only hooked to the succulent sweet leaves, but itching to plant more greens.  

Spinach thrives in the home garden, putting store bought leaves to shame. Not only could I harvest the leaves at any size (the store bought ones around here are always small), but the sugar levels of my own were insane! The young leaves are tender and great for salads, but by growing them at home I was able to let some get much larger. The larger leaves are excellent for wraps, and hold up better when cooked. 

Seasonal Availability Is Bittersweet 

As they grow and age, spinach leaves naturally yellow, which actually makes them sweeter. Near the end of spring I was eating leaves that tasted more like candy than greens and, with just a few plants, I was able to provide four people with all the spinach they could eat. It was a glorious new discovery that, in some way, made me feel like a fool. I’d gardened for years before I decided to grow spinach, but discovery is a pivotal part of the hobby.

Around June, my lovely plants began their flowering cycle. Warmer weather and longer days cause many leaf vegetables to bolt, so my spinach plants started putting energy into producing longer stems and flowers. I saved one plant for seed and the rest were recycled in the compost: a chore that’s as bittersweet as those lovely leaves were.

Since that spring I’ve grown many different leafy plants. There have been successes and failures, new favorites and flops, but the intrigue of new flavors and experiences makes growing greens a joy.

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