close-up of kale

Leafy Greens

South Carolina is one of the top leafy greens producers in the United States. Collards, kale, turnip and mustard greens are commercially grown in all three of South Carolina's main geographic regions: the Sandhills, the Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain. While generally considered cool season crops, South Carolina farmers harvest nearly a quarter of their annual leafy greens production during the summer. Packed with nutrients and flavor, leafy greens are featured prominently in southern cuisine and South Carolina's culinary history. Collards, once one of the only vegetables that enslaved people were allowed to grow for themselves, are now South Carolina's state vegetable. 
Leafy Greens Crop and Sky

Why Leafy Greens?

Abundantly grown throughout the state, leafy greens are an essential part of South Carolina's agricultural landscape. Leafy greens are fast-growing and cold-tolerant, making them a versatile and hardy crop for SC growers. Healthy, well irrigated soil is key to growing leafy greens, particularly in the fast-draining, dry Sandhills region where much of South Carolina's production occurs. Sustainable and climate-friendly growing practices are key to ensuring that South Carolina is able to grow high-quality greens for years to come.
Close up of leafy greens

Climate-Smart Practices

  • Grown during off-seasons, cover crops can increase cash crop stability and profitability. Cover crops help reduce soil erosion, raise soil moisture holding capacity, improve soil structure, reduce weed seed banks, increase soil fertility and organic matter, and support pollinators and other beneficial organisms. 
  • Employing reduced or no-till practices can enhance soil structure, reduce erosion, promote biological activity, increase weed seed predation, and allow soil to retain more organic matter. Because of more available soil moisture and organic content, this can reduce long-term production costs while increasing long-term productivity.
  • Mulching, or covering the surface of soil with a protective layer of organic or inorganic material, helps maintain soil temperatures, retain moisture, suppress weeds, and reduce erosion.
Leafy greens crop being watered

Leafy Greens Resources

Leafy Greens Resources