How to Grow Baby Greens | Guide to Growing Baby Greens

How to Grow Baby Greens | Guide to Growing Baby Greens  



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Baby greens are young greens enjoyed for their juicy, flavorful texture. Typically they are harvested around a month after germination. Thanks to their small size and relatively minimal soil, space, and light requirements, baby greens can be grown in a wide range of conditions and are well-suited for container and indoor gardening.


Seeds or Seedlings

7-14 days at 50-70 F

5 years

Well-drained, moderately rich

Full Sun, Part Shade

1/4" or less

3-6" apart


Growing Guide

As baby greens do not refer to a single variety or species, sowing and growing guidelines will vary slightly. Plants intended as baby greens are started in the same manner as those cultivated for 'adult' greens, though you will not need as much space between plants if growing exclusively for baby greens. A growing medium that is well-drained and rich in organic matter should provide a good base for most greens.


When selecting a site for your baby greens, note that many lettuces and other greens are sensitive to excessive heat and sunlight. If growing such greens during summer, you will want to ensure that plants receive partial shade. Growing in an eastward facing location that primarily receives ample, though less intense, morning light is another option.


When sowing, many types of seeds grown for baby greens are smaller, light dependant germinators and should only be covered with a light dusting of soil. Keep seeds warm and well-moistened while awaiting germination. Avoid using a garden hose, or similar watering technique that can displace seeds.


For a steady supply of greens, sow seeds every two weeks or so throughout the growing season.

Once seeds begin to germinate, moderate watering, but do not allow plants to dry out.


While most greens will grow better with full sun, many cannot tolerate intense summer rays. Shade cloth, eastward (instead of southward) exposure, or dappled sunlight can help to avoid the potential wilting or bolting that can occur.


Greens need good amounts of water, and do not tolerate drought well. Keep soil moist, but not so soggy as to promote root rot.


After harvesting baby greens, it is a good idea to fertilize plants with an all-purpose fertilizer such as fish emulsion to help promote new growth. As always, avoid applying fertilizer directly to plant or leaves.


Harvesting Guide
Most baby green varieties can be harvested once they are about 3-4" tall. Using a scissors or garden snip, take greens down to about an inch above the ground. Plants will begin to grow once again, and repeated harvests are possible from a single sowing. After harvesting, fertilizing the soil with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer, such as organic fish emulsion, can help to promote faster growth and subsequent harvests. Plant should be ready to harvest again within a few weeks. Ideally, greens should be collected early in the day, before the onset of midday sun, to prevent wilting.

Baby greens are typically enjoyed as a quick, convenient, and flavorful addition to your salad bowl. They are typically cultivated 2-4 times, and not allowed to go to seed.


Seeds can be saved from any type of baby green, if the plant is allowed to bolt to seed. The seed pods can typically be allowed to dry out on the plant. Rubbing separates the plumes and chaff from the seeds. When completely dry, shake the flower stems in the bag. Rub the seed heads between your hands to release more seeds. Put the seed through a fine mesh sieve that allows the seeds through but retains the chaff and plumes; this will give relatively clean seed. Winnowing is difficult because seeds and chaff are about the same size and weight. For extra cleaning use reverse screening, with a smaller mesh that retains the seed but lets small pieces or chaff and plume through. The dust produced during cleaning causes irritation to the lungs and eyes. If cleaning large amounts use a mask and goggles or clean outdoors.


For seed saving suggestions on specific varieties, visit our other growing guides.


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