There are many cool season lettuce and mustard vegetable seeds to grow in early spring. Leafy greens, harvested small, are easy to grow in container gardens.
These cool season vegetable greens are edible leaves able to be harvested during early stages of growth. Small edible leafy greens are called microgreens and baby greens, also able to be grown indoors near a sunny window.
Microgreens are small seedlings, approximately one to two inches tall. Gardeners should harvest after the first true leaves have formed.
Baby greens are small leafy greens, more mature than microgreens. Cut-and-come-again varieties are common examples and can be repeatedly harvested at immature stages.
Types of Baby Lettuce
The botanical name for lettuce is Lacfuca sativa. Examples of baby lettuces include:
L. ‘Little Gem Pearl’ is a romaine lettuce also called cos. This is an heirloom variety that grows 5 – 7 inches tall. A popular variety in Britain, it is sweet tasting and crunchy. Thompson & Morgan Seedmen, Incorporated offers this variety.
L. ‘Amish Deer Tongue’ is an heirloom variety dating back to 1840. The thick compact plant is heat tolerant, not as quickly to bolt. Harvest early for baby greens.
L. ‘Asian Baby Leaf’ by Renee’s Garden is a gourmet mesclun salad mix containing mizuna, komatsuna, and Chinese cabbage.
L. ‘Mini Greens’ seeds produce single mini iceberg heads. It is crunchy but with less outer leaf waste. This is not a leafy greens plant, however it is easily able to grow in containers and makes perfect one-person meals. These seeds are from Thompson & Morgan Seedmen, Incorporated.
Botanically known as Brassica juncea, mustard greens are large leaved plants when full-grown but can be harvested earlier. Mustard greens mixed with garden flowers make an interesting display in small raised bed or container gardens. Mustard vegetable seed ideas include:
- B.‘Red Giant’ has reddish bronze with reddish purple vein colored leaves. The plant grows 18 inches tall but small leaves can be harvested in three weeks.
- B.‘Ruby Streaks’ is a sweet tasting finely dissected leaf when young, with a dark green and reddish maroon coloring. The baby greens will remind gardeners of the feathery leaves of mizuna and can be used in oriental cooking.
More Ideas Growing Vegetables
Leafy greens can be planted in shallow containers. There should be a depth of, at least, four to six inches. Sow the seeds in a soiless mix and follow seed package directions.
A small wooden crate such as clementine oranges are purchased in, is one unusual container idea. The crate already has several holes in the bottom. Place the orange netting at the bottom of the crate to help hold the soil. This is a temporary way to grow short rooted vegetables but works, none-the-less.
The saucer of a large pot is an unconventional idea. Drill several drainage holes in the bottom or layer the bottom with gravel or small stones, then add soil.
These are temporary containers for growing baby or microgreens vegetable seeds. There are more ideas for growing new and unusual vegetables being made available this year, many suitable for growing in containers outside or indoors.
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