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Leafy Greens are Packed with Vitamins

Green collard greens with red and white stems sit in a jar.

Nothing packs a nutritional punch quite like leafy greens. The dark greens supply folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health. The vitamin K of dark green leafy vegetables provide many health benefits, including protecting bones from osteoporosis and preventing inflammatory diseases.

Thanks to their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables also may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods. Studies have shown that eating two to three servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

Leafy greens, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage and collards, can easily be grown in West Virginia. And under proper management, you can end up with multiple harvests throughout the year. While they may be called leafy greens, these vegetables can also be shades of red, yellow and orange.

If you’d like to add some vibrant leafy crops to your garden, here are some recommended varieties.

For classic green varieties, try Astro and Rocket arugula, Flash collards, Siberian kale or Space spinach.

To incorporate some red leafy vegetables, consider Redbor kale, lettuces like Magenta, Cherokee, Redsails or Skyphos, and Red Kitten spinach.

Citrus is a variety of Chinese cabbage that has hints of orange in its foliage.

For a multicolored option, Bright Lights Swiss chard mix, with its green leaves and stunning orange, yellow and red stems, is the perfect leafy vegetable for a colorful sauté or salad.

Plant a variety of colored leafy greens so you can mix and match colors and health benefits. Combinations like the red leaves of Redbor kale mixed with the green of Space spinach make for a vibrant, delicious and nutritious dish.

By Jody Carpenter, WVU Extension Agent – Barbour and Randolph Counties