Plant leafy greens after 17th September – and save some for seeds for next year’s crops

Plant leafy greens after 17th September – and save some for seeds for next year’s crops

Useful info for planting seeds to produce great crops of leafy greens:

Best phase of the moon is the week after the dark of the moon on Thursday 17th September 2020.

Best days are

  • Friday 18th September through to Monday 21st September 2020.

Leafy greens grow best in cooler, moister conditions. Sometimes we are lucky about this time of year. We have lots of varieties to choose from so now is a time for quick-maturing ones and heat-resistant varieties too. Those planted now will mature in warmer weather so keep an eye on them.

Watch out for a short hot spell which sends them to seed. Get ready to harvest leaves [they keep in the fridge for some days].

If it gets warm, well, that’s great for other crops so when we lose the lettuces we gain great tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchinis etc. So, for me, its all in how I look at the situation. We also grow mizuna, magenta spreen and other greens to fill the gaps.

When the leafy greens do bolt to flower and seed, that’s a great time to save yourself some well-adapted seeds which can regrow next season.

Plants which have grown well, producing abundant leaves over a long time – your best performers – are prime ones to save seeds from. Choose which now.

Choose the best performers and give them a  stake for support. As well as supporting the tall growth, the stake helps us remember to keep that plant for seed [and tells enthusiastic helpers to leave it alone!]

Could little lettuces, parsley, endive or silver-beet plants really need a stake?

They shoot up and up and up – as tall as me. And then blow over in strong winds; onto any other plants nearby. Not so good. Strong stakes support them and give an attachment point to confine their expansive spreading ways!

Red-stemmed silver-beet and parsley flowering and seeding – 1.5 m tall and still going up!

How do we choose which plants to allow to seed and which not?

Here are the factors we use for saving leafy greens seeds:


If we left the first plants to shoot up and seed, we are selecting for a shorter season of the leaves we like – hmmm.

Each garden is a unique little environment of its own – no two are the same.

Saving your own high-quality seed gives you a huge advantage next season in the garden which grew the seed!

Consider the whole life-cycle when you are choosing which plants to let flower and seed. There’s more about what to look for in this post.

Saving seeds is a wonderful adventure where we can experiment – and you never know when you will get wonderful types just right for you and your garden.

For a note about cross-pollination, see this important information

Pollen of one variety can cross-pollinate other similar types so it’s well worth finding which you need to be careful with.

Have a great time saving your very own seeds. For more about saving leafy green seed, here’s the post again.

May you and your garden flourish!


For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at


For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

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