Fun Greens for Small Spaces

Emily Murphy

Red and green leaf lettuce will always have a place at the table. So too will traditional romaine, but have you tried oak leaf lettuce, ‘Roxy’ or ‘Freckles’? Or maybe arugula or Mizuna greens? There is an endless number of varieties missing from your local market that you can easily grow at home — right out your door and loaded with nutrition and flavor.

What I love about growing greens is that most don’t need much room to thrive. In fact, if you’re looking for veggies to grow with high returns greens are a sure bet. Grow them in the smallest of spaces, a wine box, basket or other planter for instance. Give them room to breath and at least 6 to 8 inches of rich, well draining soil and you’re own your way to a homegrown salad buffet.

Interplant them with herbs for your own, custom cut-and-come-again mix or stick to a handful of favorites. Depending on your climate, choose hardier varieties for the coldest of months and varieties that tolerate heat for the warmer months.

While most greens grow vigorously in full sun they also tolerate shade. Optimize shady locations or tuck plants in between other, taller plants — a technique that is especially helpful in warmer, summer months.

Some of the greens I’m growing now include Russian and dino or lacinato kale, rainbow chard, arugula, cilantro, mustards, Roxy butter greens, freckles, winter density and red romaine.




Emily is an organic gardener, writer and host whose blog, Pass the Pistil, sings her mantra, GROW WHAT YOU LOVE. To her, gardens are habitats, our closest connection to nature and essential components to healthy living and larger landscapes. She enjoys finding ways to cultivate gardens, even in the most unlikely spaces, making the most of what’s at hand to create experiences — growing food, flowers and fun with family and friends. As a botanist and educator she’s always looking to share her background and help others grow what they love.