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Holiday Greens


By Nancy Brannon

When folks talk about Holiday Greens, they usually mean wreaths and other natural “greenery” used to decorate the household. But in the mid-south, growing edible greens is part and parcel of Southern culture, as well as some delicious eating!

The usually warm fall growing season has been a boon to many folks’ greens patches. But preparing the soil and getting them started is difficult in the drought-stricken land.

Trying to disc my garden in early fall was a tough chore that even the tractor couldn’t handle very well. We managed to disturb only about a ¼ inch of soil, not nearly enough to make a good greens bed.

But to the rescue comes – composted horse manure! We have several nice stashes of the rich dark material, so enter the front-end loader to bring many scoops of composted horse manure to our pitifully disked plot.

We laid it down thick and spread it smoothly. Then, with grandson Ethan helping, we made the rows and put in the seed, covering the seed only slightly with a thin layer of earth. We planted tender greens, curly mustard, kale, spinach, and radishes. Then we set up the waterer. Just a few times watering until the rains came was sufficient, as the composted manure does not dry out as quickly as the hard packed soil.

Once the plants were up and growing, we mulched the space between rows with old hay. That held down the “weeds,” like henbit, and gave a nice place to walk between rows to pick the edible leaves.

We’ve been enjoying fresh greens from the garden throughout November and expect we’ll continue eating them through most of the winter months. A few frosts haven’t fazed them! They’re still growing and we’re still pickin’!

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