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. Im a Suthurn girl. I grew up eating some of the things my mom would grow or we got fruits and veggies from our local farmers market. Rarely did we eat stuff from a can. I love me some collard greens and the root from the turnips. I attempted to grow some veggies this year but planted them in the wrong spot. I will definitely try again next yr.

    Ive been reading your blog for awhile and youre definitely an inspiration if you don’t know that already 🙂

  2. Patty Lucas says:

    I do love learning from your Dad. If I could, what do you do with all those greens? The reason I ask is because I had a garden for the first time ever this year and a lot was because of your dad. It was just a small plot but next year I want bigger. I canned the tomatoes, dried the herbs and used up everything else I grew. I didn’t plant any greens but will next year if I know how to preserve them. Thank you in advance.

    • HI, Patty, oh that is great to hear, I’ll be sure and tell him he got someone started on gardening. They eat a lot of the greens and give them away too. My dad always plants too much!

    • You can freeze greens as well. They do very well. There are a number of YouTube videos demonstrating different techniques.

  3. Perhaps you should do a stand alone ebook about vegetable gardening with your dad….

    He’s better than the extension office. I dread the passing of his era and their gardens.

    Please put into words/pics what your father does/knows. With your mom’s recipes from his garden too.

    Thanks for sharing your dad, again.

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  4. FINALLY….I think I am safe is stating that we are all very interested in what your father has to say and what he does and how he does it….finally, a post from him (sort of)…I think you should record him speaking and doing..we Yankees might like to hear an authentic southern accent once in a while!!!

  5. Francis C. Moore says:

    Growing up in eastern Kentucky we ate greens, especially mustard greens, all the time. My mom would also can greens so that we had them all winter. I don’t have a spot for a garden since I live in the city in a condo. I love to read the entries about your mom and dad. He is certainly a strong man for his age. You are so blessed to have both of your parents alive and well, and I know you treasure them.

  6. Patricia Mason says:

    Yes, I do LOVE that Daddy of yours and I think everyone else does also !
    He is an inspiration to us all, and true blessing…. His garden is beautiful and cared for with lots of love….

  7. God bless! That’s all I can say!

  8. Judy Clark says:


    Love that patch of greens. Do you think that your Dad would share some with me? I would send Paul over to pick em. Love seeing your Mother and your Dad. Salt of earth, Godly people just like my Mother and Dad. God Bless.

  9. Karen in Texas says:

    Love your Dad !! (Every post with him sure makes me miss my Dad who passed away nearly 5 years ago) Love seeing your Mom’s cooking too !! (Enjoy every moment with them – life is short and precious – I so wish I could hug my daddy just one more time)
    Hugs, Karen
    West, Texas

  10. Jo Marie Gray says:


    I, too, love reading about your folks.

    For me, I think it probably takes me to a pleasant time, much like eating comfort foods…a horrible analogy, but all I could come up with this morning.

    I love reading how you still have both your folks and how they have and are working with you… the home, the construction, the gardening…all wonderful to read about.

    We have lost my in-laws, the gardeners, and my mom, the cook. Luckily we still have my 92 year old, sharp as a tack dad. (I love how your dad wants to do things his way, the right way, boy, does that sound familiar!)

    Enjoy them daily…I look forward to reading more about them.

    Jo Marie

  11. Your dad is just THE MOST PRECIOUS! I had to re-watch the video though I saw it last year… he’s a treasure! xo Heidi

  12. Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says:

    I simply adore your parents. They represent the finest example of a life well lived. I know you are aware of how fortunate you are – and I’m so very fortunate you allow us to share in the joy of such wonderful people. The news folks bombard us with so much negativity. Your parents feed my soul and remind me that there ARE good people in this world.

  13. Yummy I love greens!! My great aunts had a similar garden behind their house too. We would have dinners of greens, poached eggs, onion , corn bread and Apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese on top.

  14. How blessed you are Rhoda to still have your Dad. He reminds me of mine who passed away at age 75 years old from an acute illness. Our family are from eastern Ky & I was raised on greens & other southern foods. I love reading about your Dad because he reminds me of mine. Dad raised over 2 acres of vegetables every year for as long as I can remember. Mom canned, froze & cooked these all year. Never did she open a can of vegetables, but used only home-grown ones. Please continue to feature your sweet father on your blog. He is a blessing to me.

  15. Your parents are so precious! Thanks for the growing tips, I shall try my hand at some greens.

  16. Sweet,Rhoda, if I say more I’ll start crying.

  17. Tell your Dad thank you. My hubby is the veggie gardener here. I will pass these tips along. My hubby will love this post. I just love hearing about your Dad. He is amazing. He is truly a very talented guy with a big heart.

  18. Rhoda, your dad is a celebrity on your blog, it seems he can do anything and do it very well. He is much admired and I look forward to his visits and his knowledge on so many topics. I am the fifth generation of a born and raised Southern of Florida and I know all about eating those delicious greens with some cornbread and pork chops. I’m so happy for you and your family still having your parents with you. Cherish your Mom and Dad and spend as much time as you can with them. I feel like I know your family as good friends and I look forward to all your post. God bless you Rhoda

  19. The greens look gorgeous – having your own edible garden must be such a treat and tending it with your father, a gift.
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

  20. I enjoy the posts with your parents so much, and you know how fortunate you are to have them in your life at your age, not that your old Rhoda, but I know so many people that lost their parents too early in their lives. You are truly blessed to have such active parents too and I would love to know how your Mom makes that pepper dressing. Your Dad’s garden is amazing.

  21. charlottem34 says:

    I love your family. Bless you for sharing.

  22. 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.

  23. 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!!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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 🙂

  30. 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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