The world of vegetables is very vast. There are different types of vegetables that we can grow, each with its own conditions and care. Among the simplest plants to grow that we can have in our garden are leafy vegetables. But, what are they exactly? What care do they need?
In this article, we will answer these questions and we’ll talk about some of the most common leafy vegetables. I’m sure you all know them! So if you want to introduce these vegetables to your garden, I recommend that you keep reading.
What are leafy vegetables?
Before we talk about some examples of leafy vegetables, let’s first explain what exactly these vegetables are. These are all those vegetables whose edible parts are the leaves, Of course, whether it is petiole or limbo. Within this group, some of the best known and most consumed can be highlighted: chard, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, endive, etc. Generally, these vegetables tend to come from a temperate, rather cold climate.
As you can imagine, These types of vegetables have great nutritional value. thanks to the fact that they are very rich in vitamins A and C, in complex B, E and C and also in minerals such as iron or calcium. In addition, they provide very few calories, which makes them a very healthy food and ideal for diets.
Leafy Vegetables: Conditions for Growing Them
When it comes to growing this type of vegetable, there are certain conditions that we must take into account for leafy vegetables to come out well. First there is the question of water, which is undoubtedly the most important factor. They are usually watered daily and the water used for this must be clean and plentiful.
The soil is also fundamental for the proper development of this type of plant. The most recommended thing is that it is soft and contains large amount of organic matter. In general, it is advisable to add between three and five kilos of manure for each square meter of cultivated land. Good soil drainage should not be lacking either, to avoid puddles when watering.
In addition, it is important to take into account the planting time. In the case of leafy vegetables, these can be grown throughout the year, provided we have the appropriate facilities. They are generally easier to grow in the open field from fall to spring. During this time, these vegetables of the best quality are usually obtained. In exchange, in summer they should be covered with partial shade using black netting or coconut leaves. It should be noted that some varieties are more suitable for this time of year.
Leafy vegetables: crop maintenance
If we plan to grow leafy vegetables, we need to know what care they require. To start, It is very important to water them every day. But beware, it is not good for them to become waterlogged. It is best to irrigate first thing in the morning or late afternoon. During the hottest hours, it should be avoided due to water evaporation.
We also need to remove weeds so that our crop can grow comfortably. Moreover, it is of vital importance uproot all diseased plants to control diseases and pests. Of course, some vegetables may be more prone to certain pathologies than others. However, in the case of leafy vegetables, the most common diseases are those caused by fungi. As for pests, the most common are:
Leafy Vegetables: Harvest
Leafy vegetables can usually be harvested two to three months after sowing. It is best to do this task early in the morning, when it is even colder and more humid. Keep in mind that each type of vegetable has a way of harvesting, we will give some examples:
- Salad: The root is pulled out and then washed. Dry leaves should also be removed.
- Cauliflower and cabbage: The base of the head is cut off and the outermost leaves are removed.
- Chard: The already developed lower leaves are torn off.
- Oregano and parsley: The leaves are cut at a height of three to five centimeters from the ground. This way the plant can grow back and we can continue to harvest later.
Once we have harvested the leafy vegetables, there are a number of aspects that we must take into account. In the case of those with loose leaves, such as Swiss chard, parsley and oregano, among others, the best thing to do is to form bundles. We must also bear in mind that harvested vegetables should not be exposed to the sun and sprayed to keep them moist, This way they will be better preserved. In addition, to avoid damage, it is better not to crowd a large volume of plants.
Next, we’ll talk a bit about the most common leafy vegetables in supermarkets and in our kitchens. If you don’t know which varieties to grow, you can always seek advice from the nursery or specialty store where you are going to buy them.
First, we have Swiss chard. It is a biennial vegetable that does not develop fruits or edible roots. It has large, oval leaves that have very marked veins that emerge approximately from the middle of the stem. This vegetable is usually harvested when it reaches a weight between 750 grams and one kilo. As for its color, it is usually yellow, light green or dark green.
How to Grow Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is undoubtedly one of the healthiest vegetables we can eat, so it’s no wonder it’s so popular. They have a wide variety of nutritional and medicinal properties. If you want to know more about this topic, you can give it here.
We continue with basil, an aromatic plant grown for its leaves. These have a unique scent and are widely used in cooking. Generally, it goes very well with tomato sauce, pizza, tomato with mozzarella, salads, etc. It is a delight that cannot be missing in our garden! Besides, With proper care, we can enjoy it all year round.
How to have a year-round basil crop
The leaves of this vegetable are green and have a somewhat silky texture. They can have a width between two and six centimeters and a length between four and ten centimeters. Just by touching it, its characteristic smell will remain on our fingers.
We continue with another of the most popular leafy vegetables: spinach. Popeye is not the only one who loves this vegetable, it can be found in many homes and it is not surprising, because Besides being very tasty, it is very healthy in appropriate amounts. It contains a high level of vitamins and minerals beneficial to our health.
Spinach: characteristics, care and uses
Spinach is an annual plant that grown for its large edible leaves dark green. Its root is little branched and develops superficially in a radicular way. As for the stem, it is erect and generally has a length of between thirty centimeters and one meter. Also, there are flowers on it. If we want to have this vegetable in our garden, we must first know how to grow spinach.
This list cannot miss lettuce, one of the leafy vegetables par excellence. Also in this case it is an annual plant, which means that it can be grown throughout the year. Although it looks like the leaves come straight from the root, each of them has a small piece of stem hardly noticeable. These usually have a cylindrical shape and are highly branched from the base of the plant. In general, the leaves are different shades of green, depending on the variety of lettuce, but there are also purple ones.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
There are different types of lettuce, each with its properties. Some of the most famous are:
Having lettuce in our garden never hurts, because a healthy diet includes salads first and foremost. Besides, They are simple vegetables to grow. but first we must learn how to plant lettuce and harvest it.
Another of the most well-known leafy vegetables is parsley. Under the right conditions, this vegetable can be grown throughout the year. It is easy to maintain and with proper maintenance it will eventually grow back and we can use it to enrich our dishes. Moreover, it is not only used for cooking, but also for making infusions.
It should be noted that this plant is very rich at the nutritional level, as it contains vitamins, minerals, folic acid and potassium. Apart from this, It also has some medicinal properties. like the following:
- Prevention of anemia
Well, it looks like we now have a better idea of what leafy vegetables are and how to grow them. You’ve probably experienced some of them before, either in your garden or in pots. Who hasn’t one day started growing aromatic plants like basil or parsley?