Stay Healthy---Plant Some Greens

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Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) if you have any questions or comments.
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These days we probably all need to get outside more. Planting early greens is a great activity, and very rewarding. The plants we are offering now have all been selected for their ability to tolerate cool weather. We all know that we can still experience temperatures in the low 20’s, so here is what I do. After April 1st, I keep an eye on the weather forecast. When we are expecting a week or so of moderate temperatures, (that is, night temperatures above freezing), I go ahead and plant. That will give the plants a chance to get established so they can better handle future cold snaps that are inevitable. If the cold snaps are extreme, or if there's high wind, I cover the plants with “frost cloth,” which we have in our stores. Most years, I start to harvest within ten days of planting. I harvest the outer leaves so that the plant continues to produce new leaves for many weeks. Use a knife, don’t tear them off. If you want to harvest the entire head, you’ll have to wait several weeks. I think it’s best to grow as many different types as possible. You want greens to be available continuously, and they all grow at different rates. If you grow a broad variety, you should always have plenty.

This year we have 41 kinds of cold hardy greens. Of those, 22 are lettuce, and of those 22, nine are leaf lettuces. Leaf lettuce is the most nutritious kind of lettuce, especially the dark leaved types. But the romaine lettuces (seven kinds) are the most popular. Here is a link to our complete selection. When you visit our stores, ask for Greens to Grow.” Of course, delivery can be arranged if you are unable to visit us, and we also offer curbside pickup.

After lettuce, there are other worthy greens. Spinach, kale, and mustard should be included in your garden. In the salads I make, I always try to include a small amount of each of these three. They enhance the flavor range. It’s important to pick them at the right stage of their growth, especially kale and spinach. These should be harvested when their leaves are about half their mature size, and eaten promptly after picking. That’s when their flavor is best. Later harvests will have stronger flavor, tending towards bitterness. Some people like that, but most do not. These greens, and the lettuces, can also be harvested as “baby greens.” That is, when they are about two inches tall. However, baby greens have less nutritional value than mature greens. The mustard greens (we have six kinds) you can allow to get large without compromising the quality and flavor. At least, that’s my experience so far.

Rounding out our greens offerings are arugula, Swiss chard, and endive. A couple weeks ago, before all the restaurants were shut down, I was served a salad, the greens of which were entirely arugula. Usually, arugula is part of a greens mix. I was surprised how good it was, given its sometimes pungent flavor. I suspect it has something to do with the time it is picked. In this case it was in a Caprese salad, so the other ingredients may have tempered the flavor. Swiss chard is especially valuable because it does really well in the warm months when most of the lettuces fade. Also, the variety we offer adds a bright spot of color to the garden. Endive is the least understood of the greens, and many gardeners don’t even know what it tastes like. It, too, has a sharper flavor, but it’s a nice accent for the other greens, in flavor and color.

Also worth noting are some herbs that will tolerate the cool weather. Thyme, mint, rosemary, and oregano are all ready now. Chives and parsley will be ready soon. You can also plant onion sets, but that is a topic for another blog.

Most people probably think they're doing the right thing when they are grocery shopping in the vegetable area, rather than the chip aisle or the pizza aisle. They are right, but few realize how much more nutritious vegetables are when they are home grown. Depending on the variety, vegetables lose a significant amount of their nutritional value from the time they are harvested to the time they arrive at the grocery store and finally to your table. Lucky for us, there is a solution—-grow your own vegetables. You can start right now with greens.

Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) with your questions and comments


Click on the links below to view the 2019 Tomatomania results


By Category



March 2020 - Stay Healthy---Plant Some Greens
January 2020 - Winter Planning, Winter Reading


September 2019 - Planting Fall Greens---what's your excuse?
September 2019 - 2019 Tomatomania Review
August 2019 - The Hypochondriacal Garden
July 2019 - Tomatoes 2019---A New Record!
June 2019 - Tomatoes---Early Summer Progress Report
June 2019 - Dwarf Tomatoes---The Next Big Thing
May 2019 - The Urge to Plant is Getting Stronger
April 2019 - Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Greens
April 2019 - Jefferson's Tomatoes & Tomato Nutrition
March 2019 - The Year of the Potato
March 2019 - Tomatoes---America's Favorite Vegetable
February 2019 - The Greens are Coming
January 2019 - Long, Chilly Nights Make Me Think of Tomatoes


June 2018 - Learn the Rules Before You Break Them
May 2018 - To Plant or Not to Plant
March 2018 - Brrr...Can You Plant this Early?
February 2018 - February's Climatological Shift


October 2017 - Remember: Every Tomato Variety is Someone's Favorite
August 2017 - A Tomato Miracle
July 2017 - Our Big Garden & Some Unpleasant News
June 2017 - Mid-June Tomato Report
June 2017 - Tomatoes----The Acid Test
April 2017 - It's Time to Plant Onions
April 2017 - Raspberries: It's time for annual pruning
March 2017 - Warning! Internet Garden Danger!
March 2017 - Tomato Talk---Shorter Varieties are Trending
March 2017 - It's Only the Start of March, but...
February 2017 - Tasty Greens and Winter Tomatoes
February 2017 - Green is Right Around the Corner


October 2016 - Autumn Greens, Eggplant and more
September 2016 - The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is...
September 2016 - Pity the Hornworm? Maybe not.
August 2016 - It's true!---Sometimes tomato beauty is only skin deep!
July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening
July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns
June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!
June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!
May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!
May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!
April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens! 
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!


November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)
October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!
September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!
September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!
September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!
August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!
August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes
July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden
July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato
July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?
July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!
June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...
June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion
June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!
May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!
May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic
May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!
May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe
April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video
April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden
April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?
April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting
March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!
March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!
February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!
February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015





September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!
September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative
August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe
August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins
July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet
July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing
June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns
May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment
May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?
May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014
April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?
March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now
February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!
October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables
September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog
September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results
September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 BlogVideo and T-Shirt
August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet
July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash
July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe
June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow


September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant
May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 - Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature 
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2011 -Tomatomania Review  
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
July 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement


September 2010 - Tomatomania Review  
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color 
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes 
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review  
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience 
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General