Have you experienced major disappointment trying to get “normal” lettuces and greens growing in Florida? I struggled with that for a few years, especially when I was buying lettuce and greens from the big box gardening stores. Most of those greens are not suited to Florida, and bolt at the first sign of heat. So many bolt by March or April, before the hot summer when you really want a nice cold crunchy salad.
I wanted to share about some of my favorite summer greens, which are easy to grow, edible and can be eaten raw. We’ll focus on greens that have to be cooked in another post, but I wanted to share which greens will grow like crazy through the summer, then be thrown right into a salad, smoothie or dish raw.
My current favorites:
- Malabar Spinach
- Longevity Spinach
- Okinawa Spinach
- Hibiscus Leaves
Malabar Spinach, or Basella alba, is an edible and perennial vine. It’s one of the few on this list that I recommend growing in a pot. It can be susceptible to nematodes, which can be a big problem in Florida. If you’ve got a compost rich bed with a diverse microbiome that keeps nematodes at bay, try planting it right in the ground. However, the survival rate seems much higher in a pot, it looks pretty in one and will climb a trellis nicely. It can be a good addition to a back porch that gets filtered light so that it adds some greenery and is easily accessible when you want to eat it. It seems to like a good bit of compost or organic matter, so I top dress it with a bit of compost every once in a while, or give it some compost tea every few weeks.