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In The Garden

How to Plant and Grow Spring Greens

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Many gardeners grow vegetables for the outstanding flavor and freshness of homegrown produce, while others may want to reduce the family food budget or escape from the high-speed, high-tech rigors of everyday life. Still others might be in search of a healthier diet for themselves or their families; when it comes to health and nutrition, leafy greens are a literal green light.

Before donning garden gloves and putting seeds in the soil, give careful thought to what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to go about it (not to mention how much time and money you have to invest in a vegetable garden). You have a helping hand, however, as Extension Area Agent Bill Lord shares his secrets for planting and growing a healthy crop of greens, like lettuce, beets and spinach, in your home garden.

When should I plant crops in my garden?

Whether you’re just going with greens or growing a veritable food crop cornucopia, the timing of your plantings will vary depending on where you live in North Carolina. Refer to these planting calendars from our NC State Extension horticulture specialists for annual vegetables, fruits and herbs in each region:

N.C. planting regions map_NC State Extension
As a general rule of thumb, for the coastal plain, where it warms up sooner and stays warm longer, you can begin two weeks earlier during the spring and continue two weeks later into the fall. For the mountains and foothills, where winter lasts longer and comes earlier, it’s safer to begin two weeks later during the spring and quit planting two weeks earlier in the fall.

Another great resource to have handy is this N.C. Fresh Produce Seasonal Availability Calendar from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

N.C. Extension Gardener Handbook cover image

Dig into more resources in the Vegetable Gardening chapter of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook.

A Gardener’s Best Friend
Developed especially for Extension Master Gardener volunteers and home gardening enthusiasts, the new N.C. Extension Gardener Handbook is an award-winning resource for research-based gardening and landscaping information. If you live and grow in North Carolina or the Southeast, this is your must-have gardener’s guide.

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