Cool Season Leafy Greens

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Becky Staneruck

Spring and fall are excellent for growing cool season leafy greens in the PNW.  These include lettuce, kale, spinach and Swiss chard, among others.  All of these crops prefer rich well drained soil.  Prepare the bed by mixing in compost and a complete slow release veggie fertilizer prior to planting / seeding.


Whether chopped into a salad, munched straight from the garden, or used in creative hors devours, lettuce is a versatile cool season crop high in Vitamin A.

  • Performs best in temperatures between 45 and 65 °F.
  • Sow seeds and plant starts to stagger and extend the harvest
  • Look for bolt resistant / heat tolerant varieties for a summer harvest.
  • Harvest outer leaves first to extend harvest
  • Protect from frost


Super food rich in powerful antioxidants with proven cancer fighting properties and loads of Vitamins A, C and K.  Try blending it up in a fruit smoothie for those picky eaters!

  • Kale is frost tolerant (many varieties are sweetest after a light frost) and will keep growing even in temperatures down to 20 °F!  Some varieties will readily over-winter.
  • Harvest older leaves first to extend harvest
  • Plant fall crops in August.



Spinach is not only packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it’s also the highest protein vegetable (think Popeye!).  Its benefits include, but are not limited to, reducing cholesterol, protecting eyesight and fighting cancer!

  • Very cold tolerant, seeds and starts can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in spring.
  • Harvest outer leaves first to extend harvest
  • Fall crops should be planted in mid-August.


Swiss Chard

Chard is a versatile crop that does well in both cool and warm seasons.  High in vitamins A and C and antioxidants, this member of the beet family is excellent both cooked or chopped into fresh salads.

  • Second only to spinach as the world’s healthiest vegetable!
  • Begin harvesting when 8” tall.  Cut older leaves at the base with a sharp knife.
  • Protect from frost

Lisa Rapalus/Shorty’s Buyer

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