8 Amazing Leafy Green Vegetables to Plant in July

Tuscan kale (aka Lacinato kale)
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nikita Ross

Updated: August 2, 2023

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July may seem late in the season to plant crops. However, there are several vegetables that perform better when planted later in the season. In particular, there are some amazing leafy green vegetables to plant in July for some delicious, nutritious, late-season harvests. In this article, we’ll explore eight amazing leafy green vegetables to plant in July and provide helpful tips for a bountiful harvest.

Let’s dig in!

1. Bok Choy

Bok choy, scientifically known as Brassica rapa, is a Chinese vegetable related to cabbage, broccoli, and mustard. This leafy green is also known as Chinese cabbage or pak choi. 

Bok choy is an excellent addition to stir-fries and Asian dishes. It has a mild flavor with a nice crunch for texture and dimension, whether you eat it raw or cooked.

In addition to being delicious, bok choy is also nutritious. This nutritious vegetable is an excellent source of:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Carotene
Fresh Bok choy. six separate green plants with large oval leaves with obvious veins lay in a woven reed basket, behind them, three more bok plant rest on a woven reed plate. Background go out-of-focus rattan wall.

Fresh Bok choy is delicious and nutritious.

How to Grow Bok Choy

Bok choy is a fall harvest plant, making it one of the best leafy green vegetables to plant in July. 

Plant your bok choy seeds directly into the soil in July if you live in USDA zones 3-4. Consider delaying until late July or early August if you live in USDA zones 5-7. You can also plant a few seeds every 10-14 days for a continuous harvest.

Plant seeds at least six inches apart to provide ample growing space. Bok choy prefers full sunlight and well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time for a soak.

Pests like aphids and certain types of worms love to chomp on bok choy. Spray your crop regularly with water and neem oil, and consider using a mesh cover as soon as your bok choy starts sprouting.

Start harvesting after 30-40 days for baby bok choy, or let them mature and harvest at 50-75 days after planting. Store in the fridge for 5-7 days, rinsing immediately before consuming.

2. Arugula

Arugula is another ideal leafy green vegetable to grow in July. Scientifically known as Eruca vesicaria, arugula is often confused for a herb. While its delicious, peppery taste gives arugula a herb-like versatility, it’s actually a member of the Brassicaceae family with mustard, cabbage, and bok choy.

Known as “rocket” in the UK, arugula is perfect for flavorful salads and adds a pop of flavor on top of pizza. Arugula is incredibly nutritious, with high levels of:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Leutin

And trace amounts of several other vitamins and minerals.

arugula growing in dirt

A quick-growing plant, Arugula germinates and grows in as little as six weeks.

How to Grow Arugula

Arugula is a versatile, hardy plant that will thrive in most USDA zones. While you can plant this leafy green in the spring after the risk of frost has passed, planting it in July will give you a delicious fall harvest. Consider planting seeds every couple of weeks for a continuous harvest!

Soak the seeds overnight before planting to promote quick germination. Scatter the soaked seeds in a sunny garden plot and cover with soil. Arugula performs best in full sunlight.

The seeds should start to sprout in a week or so. Thin out the seedlings and keep the removed microgreens for salads and sandwiches.

Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time for a soak. Plant arugula in well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

Like bok choy, aphids and worms love arugula. Spray down your plants with water and neem oil, and spread diatomaceous earth to deter slugs. 

Start harvesting your arugula in 4-8 weeks, paying attention to the specific type and growth habits. You can also trim leaves and leave the crown intact for continued growth.

3. Cabbage

Cabbage is another one of the best leafy green vegetables to plant in July. Scientifically known as Brassica oleracea, late-season cabbage varieties are cold-hardy and provide a deliciously fresh vegetable harvest even as the frost rolls in.

Cabbage is crisp and flavorful, making it a great raw addition to salads and slaws or a lovely addition to stir-fries when cooked. Many food enthusiasts prefer to pickle cabbage and make sauerkraut.

This nutritious leafy green contains high levels of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Carotene

As well as trace amounts of several other vitamins and minerals.

Fresh cabbage

Fresh cabbage heads in a garden, ready for harvest.

How to Grow Cabbage

Cabbage is a high-maintenance crop that fully matures in 100 or more days. Sow late-season cabbage directly into the soil in July, with ample growing space. You may need to thin or reduce your crop as it matures. You can grow cabbage in every USDA zone.

Plant your cabbage in full sunlight, in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. You’ll need to continuously feed and introduce nutrients to your cabbage patch for the plants to thrive. 

Cabbage requires continuous moisture. However, watering your cabbage is essential to avoid head splitting slowly. Cabbage head splitting occurs when too much water is introduced (by a gardener or heavy rainfall), and the roots over-absorb the moisture. The same thing can occur if you water too infrequently.

Avoid cabbage splitting by using mulch to trap moisture and implementing a drip watering system. 

Worms love cabbage. Protect these leafy greens from hungry pests by treating them with a cabbage-specific pesticide and covering the sprouts with netting. 

Harvest your cabbage when the center leaves form a tight ball at least four inches in diameter. The ball should be firm with no give when squeezed. If there’s give, let the cabbage mature for a few more days.

4. Kale

Kale is a cultivar of the cabbage species scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. acephala. Scotch kale is one of the most popular types of culinary kale, with the iconic green-blue leaves and frilled edges.

Kale can be eaten raw in salads or added to smoothies. It’s also a great addition to stir-fries and pastas. Mature kale is described as earthy with bitter notes. As such, many food lovers prefer baby kale, which is softer and easier to eat raw.

While many leafy greens are promoted as “super foods,” the science backs up the claim in this case. Kale is rich in:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

As well as several other nutrients.

Close up of a curly kale plant in a vegetable garden.

Mustard greens and kale (pictured) belong to the same genus,

Brassica

, but are cultivars of different species.

How to Grow Kale

Kale is cold-hardy, making it ideal for summer planting and fall harvesting. Consider planting your kale later in July so it matures when evening frosts start occurring. 

Like cabbage, a touch of frost can enhance the flavor in late-season crops. You can grow kale in any USDA zone, but it will grow all winter long in USDA zones 7-9.

Scatter kale seeds in a garden plot with nutrient-rich, well-draining soil, and full sunlight exposure. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time for a soak. Add mulch to help keep a consistent temperature during the peak summer season.

Kale is susceptible to aphids and worms. Use water and neem oil to wash aphids off the leaves, and consider row covers to prevent worm infestations. 

Harvest kale 60-90 days after planting, depending on the variety. The plants are typically 12-16 inches tall by this point. You can also harvest early for baby kale.

5. Lettuce

Whether you prefer the crunch of iceberg or the delicate texture of Romaine, lettuce is one of the best leafy greens to plant in July. 

Lettuce, scientifically known as Lactuca sativa, is a member of the Asteraceae family, which it shares with daisies and sunflowers! There are several cultivar groups of lettuce and hundreds of species. 

Lettuce is typically consumed raw in salads and on sandwiches, but it can also be broiled or grilled with seasoning as a side or vegetarian dish. The flavor and texture vary from species to species, but the overall profile is crisp, refreshing, and sometimes earthy.

One of the nutritional benefits of lettuce is its high water content. This feature makes it a great dish for staying hydrated during the summer. It also has several nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron (some varieties)
woman hands picking green lettuce in vegetable garden

Many types of heat-resistant lettuce now exist on the market.

How to Grow Lettuce

Lettuce is considered a low-maintenance and beginner-friendly crop. Like the other leafy green vegetables to plant in July, lettuce does well with a touch of frost. 

Plant lettuce in USDA zones 4-9 in a plot with total sun exposure. Prepare the soil by covering it with hay or straw for two to three weeks before you plant. This preparation will make the soil cool and ready for the lettuce.

Scatter the seeds and cover with a light dusting of soil. Lettuce seeds are small and require a lot of light to get started. Try to provide ample space for the lettuce to grow, or you may have to thin the plants as they sprout.

Use well-draining soil and keep the lettuce moist but not waterlogged. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time for a soak.

Consider covering your lettuce when they start to sprout. The covers will prevent bolting, which occurs when young lettuce plants get overheated. Bolting results in bitter-tasting lettuce. The covers will also keep pests at bay.

Harvest lettuce 30-60 days after planting. While you can harvest lettuce early for baby lettuce heads, it’s essential not to delay at full maturation as overripe lettuce has a bitter note.

6. Spinach

Most people aren’t aware that spinach, scientifically known as Spinacia oleracea, is a type of flowering plant. Native to Asia, spinach is a member of the Amaranthaceae family, which it shares with various herbs, succulents, and flowers.

Spinach is earthy and aromatic with a slightly bitter taste. Many food lovers prefer spinach to lettuce for its texture, flavor, and nutrient profile. Spinach is an incredibly versatile plant with endless culinary applications, from stir-fries to salads to smoothies.

This nutrient-rich leafy green boasts plenty of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

As well as several other nutrients.

Green spinach grown in rows.

Rows of green spinach growing in a field.

How to Grow Spinach

Spinach can grow in most USDA zones, though certain varieties fare better in limited regions. Be sure to look at the type of spinach you’re planting to determine whether it’s right for your USDA zone.

This low-maintenance plant has a versatile planting season; you can plant it any time, from early spring to early fall. Spinach does best with a few weeks of cool weather exposure, so plan accordingly if you live in a warm climate.

Prepare your soil by mixing in organic content and ensuring it’s well-watered before planting. Choose a garden plot with full sunlight for the best results.

Scatter the seeds and cover with a light layer of soil. Water regularly to ensure continuous moisture without waterlogging. Follow the first knuckle rule for the best results.

7. Collard Greens

Collard greens are another member of the Brassica genus. They’re native to the Mediterranean region but have been cultivated and enjoyed worldwide for centuries.

Scientifically known as Brassica oleracea var. viridis, collard greens are earthy and robust—similar to the other leafy greens on this list. These delightful leafy greens are often steamed or sauteed as a side. They’re also prevalent in South American cuisine, often mixed with pork, ham, or bacon.

Collard greens are rich in nutrients, with vitamins and minerals like:

  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C

As well as several other notable vitamins and minerals.

Collard greens

Rich in nutrients, collard greens are a staple in South American cuisine.

How to Grow Collard Greens

Collard greens grow best in USDA zones 6-11, as they prefer cooler weather to thrive. Planting your collard greens toward the end of July improves the likelihood that they’ll experience a nice dose of frost before the harvest.

Plant collard green seeds in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil in an area with ample sun exposure. Scatter the seeds and cover with a light layer of soil. Water regularly to ensure continuous moisture without waterlogging. Follow the first knuckle rule for the best results.

Harvest collard greens 60-90 days after germination, when the leaves are 8-12 inches long. Be mindful of common pests like aphids and worms, using neem oil and crop covers to deter them.

8. Endive

Many people believe endive is a type of lettuce. While the endive is a member of the Asteraceae family, it’s part of the genus Cichorium (chicory). There are several species and cultivars, but Cichorium endivia is the most common for culinary purposes.

Endive is crisp with slightly bitter notes. It’s a versatile leafy green that serves well grilled as a side, raw in a salad, or mixed in dips. 

Like the other leafy green vegetables to plant in July, endive has a robust nutrient profile:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
Raw Organic Belgian Endive Ready to Use

Endive is one of the best leafy green vegetables to plant in July for a fall harvest.

How to Grow Endive

Endives perform best when planted in USDA zones 4-9. Plant toward the end of July if you live in a warmer climate. 

Plant in full sunlight with well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. Scatter endive seeds evenly over the prepared soil, then lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil. Aim for 12 inches between plants to allow for adequate growth. 

Monitor the moisture level of the soil closely. Endive requires regular watering, especially during dry periods, to maintain proper growth and prevent bitterness. A general rule is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

As the endive plants grow, be vigilant against common pests such as aphids and worms. Utilize organic pest control methods like neem oil or mesh covers to protect your plants.

Depending on the cultivar, endives are typically ready to harvest 60-90 days after planting. Most cultivars are ready to pick when the leaves reach 6-8 inches long. 

Tips for Planting Leafy Greens in July

Most leafy greens prefer cooler climates. If you live in a warmer USDA zone, consider using mulch and mesh covers to help with temperature control. 

Crop rotation is essential for success with leafy green gardening. Change your crop location every 2-3 season planting other types of plants in the garden plot. This strategy helps limit diseases and pests. 


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About the Author

Nikita Ross is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering plants, gardening, and yard care. Nikita has been writing for over seven years and holds a Marketing diploma from NSCC, which she earned in 2010. A resident of Canada, Nikita enjoys reading in her library, epic beach naps, and waiting for her Coffea arabica plant to produce coffee beans (no luck yet).

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