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hot weather greens

Everett - UT
52 years ago

I just want people to know that I experimented with a salad mix of baby collards, baby chard (bright lights), baby kale (red russian), and beet greens (red ace)in my very hot summer climate here, and the mix is getting rave reviews. Just some new ideas for salad mix ingredients, especially somewhere hot. Some of my customers mix it with some store-bought romaine, but lots of others like it just as it is. And a nice thing is that those greens will continue to produce in the cool weather ahead, in fall, so I'll add it to my other lettuce-based mix.

Comments (108)

  • marylandmojo
    19 years ago

    TDAY---I can't give you any recommendation for New Zealand Spinach. It has no taste--none. I don't like it, and never had a customer like it. I don't know what merit it has, other than it does grow through the hottest weather. I eat any garden vegetable known to man, but must pass on NZS. I mentioned this very fact on another thread, where someone said it tasted like spinach. To me, it bears no resemblance to the taste of spinach. Another said it tasted allright mixed with chard and coooked. It's pretty blah by itself. I would consider someone who liked it the eternal optomist.

  • TDAY
    19 years ago

    Thanks for the reply marylandmojo. I believe your
    assessment of the taste is correct,very little.
    Oh well,you never know till you try.

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  • gponder
    19 years ago

    Forget shade cloth!! I live in Southern Oregon, where temps in the 90s to low 100s are not unusual. This summer has been especially hot! I have read all of the descriptions on "non-bolting...bolt resistant....not bitter" lettuces. None have proven to be salvagable in the summer heat until I found Jericho Romaine from Seeds of Change. I planted this lettuce in full sun, and again the temps have been in the high 90s to 100s...this lettuce is crisp and sweet!! Try it, you won't be dissapointed. At market I make my customers taste it. One taste and it's sold. Happy growing.

  • SolaFide
    19 years ago

    Tetragonia and New zealand spinach are th same. Plant it 6wks before lastfrost in unheated coldframe=min.30 degrees. Takes 8 wks to germ and 75 to produce

  • everettFL
    19 years ago

    Wow this thread has a life of its own! Nice feeling for moi.Let's see... my tables just don't want to last more than one season, and look pretty saggy by Sept. This is in Florida, and we've had 2 pretty wet summers, and such a long growing season that the decomposers have plenty of time to get the bales. One big comment from this year: I don't recommend using straw bales, because so much of the bale is air that when the straws get wet enough & soften, a bale can deflate like an air mattress. Best to use so far is coastal grass hay (that's a low-nitrogen hay in the southeast. As far as I know it is low-ranked for feed value but it's all people seem to be able to grow well). Also, I now build the haybale tables on top of a wooden frame, because it is the bottom bales holding so much weight that tended to collapse first. But when a table is no longer useable because of shape (or height) you just break it down and you have 50 bales of incredible mulch/ soil amendment.

    I only wind up using NZ Spinach sparingly and opportunistically in my mix. Even when trying to cultivate it in large quantities, it is tedious to harvest, even when grown on a table. Taste? Well, my wife certainly doesn't like it and most people probably wouldn't. It does add an interesting crisp texture. I think it is the astringency of it that reminds me more of spinach or chard (which family it is in?) than the taste.

    For gponder in Oregon: imagine growing an entire salad mix of greens that don't need shadecloth in the summer! I used to grow this mix in southern Utah, much like eastern Oregon's climate? I continue to stump people here about how I can grow "lettuce" in the summer... the secret is that it isn't lettuce! And they should stop calling it that! :) It's all asian greens now, or you could call it a mixture of mild mustard greens. Mizuna, mibuna, tatsoi, yukina, kommatsuna (mustard spinach), tokyo bekana, red giant. I try to keep baby kales and collards in there too. The only tricky time is wetting them down in the heat to germinate the seeds, but after 2-3 initial waterings (I do have great humidity here) it's only 1-2 waterings a week for a month and then they are ready.

    I'm shifting over to using the tables for plants that I pick leaf-by-leaf (kales, collards, chards, beet greens) but growing the mustards on the ground so I can produce & harvest in greater quantities. A new ground bed is planted every week, and harvest follows 3-4 weeks later, 20 lb from a 50 foot bed, in 2 hours' time. Probably the way most other salad growers do their salad mix.

  • Cindi_KS
    18 years ago

    Thank you Everett and others, for all the great progress reports. Can you help me duplicate your success? I'm in Kansas, where the climate is more like your former garden in Utah. I would like to grow greens at least 9 months of the year using the straw bales. (Or would hay be better?) The idea of building tables with the bales gives me great hope as I just found out my career as a gardener will end if I have to bend and lift--plus I would think you could rototill the decomposed bales into poor ground to create new beds instantly! What are your suggestions for the best mixes for hot weather and then for a cooler season? I do not have high humidity here and will have to rig up either sprinklers or soaker hoses. Do any of your market customers ask for baby corn, or is that a fad that has passed? And, one last question...have you tried worm compost mixed in with the mushroom compost?

    Cindi, in Kansas, under 8" of snow

  • kengena
    18 years ago

    Just wanted to bump this thread up, because even though I am not a market gardener, I found it very helpful. With hot weather soon to be upon us, hopefully it will be helpful to other salad growers as well!

  • Ron_and_Patty
    18 years ago

    Just found this thread, and wondering how things are going for Everett and the rest of the contributors to this inspiring post...

  • sandhill_farms
    18 years ago

    Hey Everette in Utah,

    I tried to send you an email regarding hot weather growing and it was returned. Would you be so kind to send me your email address so I can correspond. My address is:


  • adrianag
    18 years ago

    How did you make out with Ivan, please let us know. It was pretty interesting here in Birmingham but we got through without any damage, not even to my greenhouse.

  • Kamine
    18 years ago

    I really like this thread. How would you decide what kinds to plant if you were to start over again?

  • new2gardenfl
    17 years ago

    Helpful Hint:

    A makeshift salad spinner (for home use) is a plastic grocery bag and a clean dish towel. Put the greens in the towel and then place in the plastic grocery bag and whoorl the bag around for a few good spins.

  • kevinw1
    17 years ago

    A mesh laundry bag whirled around the head also makes a good spinner, but outdoors since the water will fly out!

    Any of the "whirl around the head" methods will wreck your shoulders if used regularly. We put 4 mesh laundry bags in the clothes washer and spin on the gentle cycle for the shortest possible time. Works great.

    We also tried *washing" in the washer but that was a very bad idea. Even on the most gentle possible cycle the whole batch of baby lettuce came out crushed.


  • tbronson
    17 years ago

    Salad spinning/greens drying:

    * Started -- very briefly -- with the spinning mesh bag around outdoors method. Kinda labor-intensive ;) if you have a lot to do.

    * An old top-loading washer turned up and (dunno where I read the tip), tried it and it works GREAT. Do a mesh laundry bag at a time (planning to try two), run for 20-30 seconds (guessing, definitely well under a minute).

    (I want to remove the agitator to make more room, not sure if that will throw the balance off, and it doesn't seem easy to remove though I haven't really looked into it closely, so far just tried to twist.)

    * Saw the Johnny's Seed 5 gal spinner but seems small, and is expensive at $200.

  • jayreynolds
    17 years ago

    As hot weather is nearly here, I thought I'd bring this up again. I'd especially like to hear how the haytables mentioned last year(see earlier postings) have worked out for people.

  • everettFL
    17 years ago

    I've been so busy making my farm work I've tuned out any of my web time! I've got 5 years under my belt now of growing greens through the summer and I feel I've peaked at a level of what I can do working by myself & would need to figure out how to hire help if I did more. I do 30-40 lb salad and 20-25 lb arugula a week, though I'm nosediving right now because of the weeds... September-early December will bring the next surge of greens.

    After 3 seasons of haybale tables, I did decide to convert my planning to the ground... I can handle the harvesting, the bales rotted too fast for me here, and the expense of rebuilding new ones got too hard to ante up for. But it was part of my start-up at this new farm site... I did indeed make some fantastic beds out of the old hay bale areas, and have greatly enjoyed having the mulch for other areas. Although for me June-August now I'm wondering if a few tables would carry me through my worst weed season. I can verify that the greens grow fine all through the heat and humidity (with occasional disease/ spotting problems in prolonged wet weather). I now grow spinach-mustard, red giant mustard, red russian kale, tokyo bekana, mizuna, radish greens, and turnip tops for my mix. If some one takes this recipe and runs with it, more power to you! I'm maxed out on what I can do, and my market is still very strong. Not to let the cat out of the bag about the arugula, either, but regular arugula grows great for me through the summer without any shade cloth, etc.

  • tomatobob_va7
    17 years ago

    Thanks, Everett for the original post and all the information. This year IÂm using hay bales and planting your recommended seed mix for stir-fry.
    I have a 25-foot row of bales. I was lucky to curb-shop a few shipping crates (32"x4Â) made of 1"x 4" boards and I knocked out the backs of these to make frames to fit on top of the hay bales. I used black mulching cloth cut in 6" strips to form a skirt, which I stapled to the base of the boards to prevent soil loss. I put the row up on pallets, which I placed on top of black plastic
    I put in a mix of compost, Pro-mix and potting soil about 4" deep. I think the soil was too deep and too heavy for the first planting of mixed lettuce I tried. So when the lettuce was gone, I shoveled out half of the soil and put in the stir-fry seed mix. I dribbled in lines of seeds about 3" apart and just watered them in. Even so, I needed to pinch-thin some parts of the rows. I use aerated compost tea on the bed once every 1-2 weeks, and it has just started producing like mad. I cut 4 8-oz bags this morning and could have cut more. The temperature this week in Virginia is in the 90s, and my bales get 10 hours of sun.
    I like the ease of no-stoop harvest and the relatively weed-free crop. I am having mushrooms pop up from the hay beneath. They last only a few hours and then wither, but I donÂt want to have that in my customers bags, so IÂm careful to pull out the stems as fast as they come up. I will continue to use this method, but I need to find some cheaper hay. Bandits around here want $6 per bale!
    Thanks again for getting me started on this method.

  • rita2004
    17 years ago

    Wow To this thread. I read the whole thing probaly twice over and I really want to try this. I grow hydroponic lettuce in south texas and it is really hot here. I have cut off my hydroponic lettuce and cleaned the whole thing out and waiting for cooler weather to get here. I guess that would be october for me and my lettuce customers are screaming for lettuce. I want to know how much of each seed do you mix together to get the right mix? Also do you just hand water the table or do you have drip irrigation on it? Does the mix take alot of water and how often? I am definitely going to try this system because I figure if Everett has been doing it for five years now, it must work. Could you Everett or someone else that has taken his idea have any great advice, I could sure use it. I have a huge trailer of mushroom compost sitting in my back yard and acess to plenty of old coastal hay, so all I need to do is get out there and put it all together. Tips appreciated.


  • aka_peggy
    16 years ago

    I thought I should bump this up as it's been so useful for many people. Everett, if you see this, I can't tell you how many times I've linked this thread. Great information going on 6 years now!

  • bindersbee
    16 years ago

    I just got linked to this thread and I feel like I'm drinking out of a firehose! I live in Utah and am thrilled by the prospect of being able to grow greens through the summer. What a great resource. Thanks!

    Anyone have success with the Batavia lettuces? I know they probably won't take the heat of mid-summer but will they last longer in the spring and can they be started earlier for a fall crop?

  • organic_nut
    16 years ago

    I wish he had mentioned the Batavia Lettuce names. I am doing some Nevada Lettuce and I think that qualifies as a Batavia.

    This has been a great thread and I hope it keeps going. Anyone and everyone who wants to share on doing cut and come again greens should please post whatever they want.

    Hats off to everett. a great guy and a great grower.

  • stan_gardener
    16 years ago

    if you like the nevada try sierra. johnys markets it as magenta. i use every thing and any thing (except cilantro)in salad and dont understand every bodys problem with lettuce. i would still make salad with out lettuce but with red and green salad bowl, magenta and jericho during summer its not necessary.

  • organic_nut
    16 years ago

    yes I was thinking of getting sierra. good you recommend it. I did not know it was the same as magenta. is it identically the same or just similar but different technically.

    Jericho is another one I just have to get. that one should be great in the heat.

    thanks for the help.

  • stan_gardener
    16 years ago

    without looking it up i think the magenta is more resistant to tip burn. technially sierra and magenta are probably differant. jericho is a romaine type lettuce. ive never done as well with romaine types so if your the same be forwarned.

  • organic_nut
    16 years ago

    Johnny's seed catalog says that Magenta is an improved Sierra. I believe that Magenta was developed by Johnny's. so naturally they are selling it.

    My romaines are not doing so well this year. what kind of lettuce does best for you.

  • organic_nut
    16 years ago

    getting hit real hard by groundhog. any advice

  • cenanoca9
    15 years ago

    Just had to bump this for the warm zone folks who need to begin planting this stuff soon. Fabulous thread.

  • aka_peggy
    15 years ago

    LOL, I came over here to do the same thing. This is an awesome thread and I hate to see it disappear into cyber-space.

    BTW, a couple of folks here mentioned Jericho lettuce. I grew it last summer for the 1st time and I can't say enough about it. This is an excellent tasting romaine type that holds up incredibly well in the summer heat. It never got bitter and was the last to bolt. I got my seeds from John Scheepers, Kitchen Garden Seed. Collect the seeds and you'll never have to buy them again.

    Happy spring! (almost)

  • ruthieg__tx
    15 years ago

    Does anyone have pictures of their hay bale tables that you could post...I would so love to see what it looks like...I came in search of just hot season green info and now I am so curious...

  • ole_dawg
    15 years ago

    Bump it again as this is such great information

  • chickenista
    15 years ago

    What a great thread! I have a long list of stuff to try this year!

  • rita_from_mo
    14 years ago

    Another bump up...Oh I know its cold out side and the only greens I see are at the store.But Its never to early to start planning and ordering seeds or finding seeds threw trades.I am so greatful for all the wisdom shared here.
    I would love to hear more from everyone who loves greens as much as I do ...

  • herself
    14 years ago

    This is a wonderful thread. I'll be re-reading this over & over!

  • negirl
    14 years ago

    Just found this, great stuff! What do any of you do about little green caterpillars? I can't imagine any of those brassicas growing here in summer without getting eaten off before they had a chance to start. I have been growing malabar for two years. I have a few dedicated customers, but a lot of people don't like the texture. However, I plant once and harvest until frost. Any tips on amaramth greens? I like them but don't have great luck growing. I would like to bunch them.

  • dogsmiles
    14 years ago

    My lettuce has mostly bit the dust. I have a few to cut for my own dinner table that are planted under zuchini and pepper plants! I am SO thrilled with this post. Time to order seeds and see what mixes work for me here in Eastern VA. Thanks to everyone for the postings.

    What do you all do for watering set ups for your summer salad beds? I'm assuming they take just as much as the spring beds take to stay sweet and crisp? Any advise is appreciated - I'm tired of draining the rainbarrels and hand watering:)

  • gardendawgie
    12 years ago

    Bump. I was doing a search of Arugula and ran into this thread. Terrific. I am all excited about this year and hope to try different ideas from this thread.

    I would like to see a picture of those hay bale tables.

  • jillzee
    12 years ago

    Thank you for bumping this, gardendawgie!

    This thread has so much wonderful information - I'm going to have to read it again once I get home from work so I can actually pay more attention to what I'm reading.

    Thanks for making such a wonderful thread, Everett! Started 10 years ago, and still going strong!


  • t-bird
    12 years ago

    wow - 10 years!

    Any updates, Everett?

  • marthacr
    11 years ago

    just found this thread, bumping again! Could be what I'm looking for as "braising greens."

  • dhijana
    10 years ago

    I am a market gardener as well, specializing in what we call our super salad mix. We have built three 16 ft. long lettuce tables from all recycled materials, using old plywood for the sides (covered with old polyethylene plastic of course), old polycarbonate pieces from a roof damaged by hail for the base layed on top of wooden supports, and up on 6 4x4 legs. The cost was minimal- a few screws, and a bit of lumber only (for us) the rest we had on hand. The bonus is the structure is nearly permanent- we anticipate many years of service. We had tried the straw bale thing and failed miserably. Our table is at our ideal working height, away from the Bermuda grass and kind to our elderly backs. We put about 12 inches of wood chips, (free from tree men nearby), and 6 inches of soil that we make with compost, chicken manure, vermiculite, and various organic additives. Our lettuces grow beautifully and we have placed the tables in shadier parts of our half acre urban homestead so we can grow year around. We protect the crops from those cabbage moth larvae (the little green worms) by putting window screen material stapled to lathe wood pieces over the PVC pipe arches we installed. This doubles as shade cloth and keeps the moth out when she wants to lay eggs.

  • rustico_2009
    10 years ago


  • randy41_1
    10 years ago

    for summer lettuce/salad mix we made a growing bed that gets late afternoon shade. we transplant head lettuce and direct seed the lettuce for salad mix with a 4 row pinpoint seeder. we are having problems with flea beetles on the other salad mix ingredients so the mix for now is mostly small lettuce leaves. the head lettuce bolted but has remained sweet so we pull off the big leaves and wash them and bag them.
    demand for this during the summer way outstrips supply and we have no trouble selling out the quantity we have been bringing to the market. next summer we will grow much more.
    we charge $8/lb for the mix and the larger lettuce leaves.
    we could probably get more $ but we want these lettuce customers to be loyal when the lettuce glut hits the market and consistent price should help with that. lettuce glut is in april, may, and october, november. every vendor has it then. so easy to grow.

  • little_minnie
    10 years ago

    Great thread to bump!

  • little_minnie
    10 years ago

    Where did this come from again? Anyway I really got my mind on summer greens next season! I would like to do a mix of greens in one area and try to keep baby lettuce going in another area. Both will have shade. What things besides kale, chard, beet greens do ok in heat. Which of the Asian mustard greens are heat tolerant and mild for raw use as baby leaves?

  • Mary4b
    9 years ago

    I know this is an old thread, but hopefully someone can help me.

    I just bought the 3 recommended greens for this mix: Russian Red Baby Kale, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and Red Ace beet greens.

    I bought these in beautiful 6-pack cells, packed tight with the greens.

    My question is this...they are practically already tall enough to harvest, but I don't have them in the ground yet.

    Should I plant them and let them grow and harvest as soon as I see them starting to grow (which I assume would mean that the roots have taken hold?)

    To harvest, do I just pick the leave individually, or do I shear them off the whole plant and then wait for it to reproduce new leaves?

    Thank you!

  • myfamilysfarm
    9 years ago

    I would plant them, get them established before cutting too much. You could cut some, but not all.

    Yes, you should see them grow when established.

  • doginthegarden
    9 years ago

    What a helpful thread! I'm a home gardener in a hot dry climate with an interest in (mostly) greens. Mustards and arugula survive the heat and pests the best, have not cracked the nut yet on lettuces in summertime. I have some tree collards that are surviving but not easily. Thought I'd comment so it bumps this back up on the list - 13 years after original post!

  • little_minnie
    9 years ago

    Here is a pic of my summer greens. It is a mix of kale, chard, beet tops, mizuna, tatsoi, komatsuna, spigariello and tyfon, but I have not seen the last two. The tatsoi is bolting but is remaining good to eat. I think I would leave out komatsuna next time as it is too prickly and too large. I would focus on chard, mizuna and kale and plan to pull the tatsoi later.

  • jimmygfarm
    9 years ago

    Great thread

  • aptz
    8 years ago

    I believe Colorado State extension did a test for lettuce bolting a few years ago and found that batavian type lettuces were hands down the best type of lettuce to handle summer heat.