Fall is usually a great time to plant a variety of greens here in central Mississippi. The last few months have been exceptionally hot and arid – challenging conditions for fall greens to say the least – but I decided to attempt a fall planting anyway with hopes of eating great fall salads and providing materials to make some healthy green smoothies. Now, two and a half weeks after we planted, we enjoyed our first salad with dinner. It was basically baby spinach, with smaller amounts of baby collards and mustard greens, tiny kale & rape (sprouts really) and a touch of lettuce. It was delicious.
From left to right we have in row 1, cilantro, mustard greens & collard greens. Row 2 is completely filled with spinach. Row 3 is lettuce, claytonia and arugula. Row 4 is a broadcast planting of purple kale. Row 5 and 6 are broadcast plantings of rape. and Row 7 is turnip greens. Mache (corn salad) and a couple of other lettuce types will go into the end of row 3 after the soil temperature cools down a bit more.
The area is 2500 square feet which is much larger than we really need. However, this mass planting allows us to harvest the greens by cutting strips perpendicular to the rows with shears. Those strips are allowed to regrow while alternating strips are harvested. Currently we’ve got a bad infestation of what look like spotted cucumber beetles. Hopefully, they’ll leave some greens for us to eat!
UPDATE: On Nov. 28 a rain event broke the drought and left us with about 3.5″ of rain along with some pretty severe wind conditions. About a week later we had a similar event. Then on December 17 we got another couple of inches and severe straight line winds. Quite scary. In all, over 8 inches of rain in 2 weeks after one of the driest fall seasons I’ve ever seen in the Delta. When it rains, it pours!
UPDATE: Here we have harvested spinach, lettuce, cilantro, kale & collards the day after Christmas. We’re having record warm weather here with temps in the high 70’s. There have been 2 brief cold snaps this season but it seems to be turning out to be another non-winter here in central Mississippi. Maybe it’ll cool off soon.