Dad’s Tips on Growing Greens in the Garden

When my dad became a big part of sharing on my blog with the house renovation 2 years ago, I had NO idea how popular he would become with all of you out there.  You love my dad!  And I’m glad you do, because we love him too.  I’m happy to share him with you and he loves talking about his garden too, so today I’m going to share his Fall greens garden and I asked him for some tips on growing greens, for you aspiring gardeners out there.  You sure don’t want to ask me about growing vegetables, because I’m clueless about how to do it all, but I happened to be raised by an expert at growing things to eat.  He definitely has a green thumb and it’s his passion for sure.

greens garden

Dad’s Fall greens garden is growing like crazy and he dearly loves coming out here and tending to it and of course, eating those delicious greens at home.

dad picking greens

He’s good at this gardening stuff and knows how to do it.  He should, since I would imagine he’s been gardening for well over 50 years.

mustard greens

The Fall garden has mustard, turnips, kale, collards, and broccoli.  Now that’s some good vitamins for you right there!  Green leafy vegetables are high in anti-oxidents.  Left row is mustard and right row is turnips.

kale greens

Turnips and kale on the right.


Mustard greens are my personal fave. They cook up really tender and have a good flavor. We eat them with homemade pepper sauce, which my mom makes. (peppers and vinegar).





mess of greens

Dad’s picking collard greens.  We call this a mess o’ greens, that’s the Southern way of talking. He’s also got broccoli growing there too.

dad picking greens (2)

It’s some mighty good eating and we all enjoy it.  We have surely been spoiled with all this fresh food from the garden.  I know we took it for granted growing up and didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as we do now.  It’s a treat to have parents that grow food and can and I’m so glad that we were raised with that salt of the earth heritage.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


I asked Dad to give me some tips to pass on to all of you on how to grow greens like this and here’s what he told me:

  • Plant at the end of summer.  He put these plants in the ground mid-August, so they’ve been growing 2 months now.
  • He plants seeds and plants.  The collards and broccoli were plants and the Florida Broadleaf mustard, Just Right turnips and kale were grown from seeds.
  • Break up the ground really well before planting, definitely amend the soil if it hasn’t been already.  Don’t plant too deep, make shallow rows .
  • Fertilize with Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer (picture above).  He says that Home Depot or Lowes should have this fertilizer, but check around if you can’t find it.

That’s his tips on how to grow greens, so if you want to try it, I hope you’ll let me know how you did.  They love cool weather and even last through the frost if I remember right, so they should be eating these greens for a couple more months at least.  You can see he has enough for an army!  He likes to grow plenty, that dad of ours.

Some of you may have missed this video last year of my dad’s 86th birthday. It’s worth sharing again and you’ll get to hear his voice and enjoy his wit too. He’s quite the character, as well as gardener.

- Rhoda


  1. charlottem34 says

    I love your family. Bless you for sharing.

  2. Great article. I’m a pre-novice gardener, yet very interested in becoming more proficient at it. This winter we plan to add 3 raised beds to our back yard so we can grow vegetables starting next spring. I bookmarked this article to refer to next summer.

    I’m also a fan of your blog and your parents, especially your dad. He’s so smart, and wise, and REAL! He reminds me of my late Uncle Curly. The last time I saw my uncle, he was wearing a shirt he had owned and worn for more than 40 years (and it showed!), even though he was a man of considerable financial means. I wonder if your parents still own and wear clothing that’s older than their grandchildren. 🙂

    • IF my dad has anything to do with it, he doesn’t get rid of old clothes and definitely has his favorites. My mom constantly has to make sure he is dressed presentable.

  3. Yes we do LOVE your Daddy, Rhoda!! While I am not a greens fan, I know a pretty garden when I see it and his looks beautiful. Those greens must be the secret to his strength!!

  4. I’m also a big fan of posts about your mom and dad. Love the garden! Please share with us your mom’s special recipes for all those greens and, especially, the pepper sauce!

  5. Those are some beautiful vegetables! I love collard greens but seldom get to eat them since my son and grandson (who live with me) don’t care for them. Your dad is a rock star!

  6. Your sweet Daddy is a national treasure! Thanks for sharing him with us.

  7. I love reading about the adventures with your dad! My 76 yr old dad helps me with a fixer upper that I recently purchased too. I think he looks as forward to my next project as I do! Thanks for sharing!

  8. All of this beautiful nutrient dense food has got to be one of his secrets to longevity! Eating all those greens regularly must play a large part in his ability to keep up pace. My grandfather used to garden like this and we miss it. Hopefully, one day –long off from now–when I’m retired I’ll be able to do more gardening like this to share with loved ones.

  9. I love hearing your dad, reminds me of my own who I miss greatly; funny how I didn’t like the greens as a kid and sure do now! My husband also loves them, he’s from WV, me VA, and he eats them now too! Your parents are an inspiration, thank you for sharing 🙂

  10. Hi Rhoda – I spent some time reading your blog today and fell in love with your Dad. What a sweetheart. Thanks for sharing. He reminds me so mch of my dad (mins the southern drawl!)

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