A lot of lettuces and salad greens tolerate cold weather, so that you can have fresh salad from your garden all the way through November. There are several methods of harvesting salad greens to consider.
Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org
When it’s time to start harvesting your salad greens and your lettuces, there are some different methods you can use, and some things to think about when you’re getting ready to eat.
The first method that a home gardener is going to use when they’re harvesting lettuces or salad greens is what I would call the “pick and choose leaves” method. I’m just going to look at my lettuce here, and I’m going to pick out the leaves that look good to me today. I’ll just go down as close to the bottom of the plant as possible, and snap them right off.
What I’d like to encourage you to do, is to take the leaves that are bigger. Start with the leaves on the outside of the plant because those are the leaves that have a tendency to get older and tough, or bitter. So if you pick those off, then the plant will keep growing, and you’ll have the fresher leaves continually. If you pick the little ones from the center, then all you’ve got left are the big, old leaves.
The next method that a home gardener might use, is sometimes called the “cut and come again” method. If you’ve got a row or just a mass planting of salad greens, you might come in, take a knife, and cut the plants – not all the way to the ground – but just cut some leaves off. You’ll get a nice handful of leaves, and it’s a fast way to harvest. The plants will then keep growing so new leaves. So, it’s a good way to keep rejuvenating your plants, and have lots to harvest without planting continually.
The third method that a home gardener might use, is “cut the plant out, and be done with it” method. Take a knife, and cut it down at the base, right above the roots. It gives you a whole plant. So, if you have a head of lettuce, or a nice, full, romaine lettuce, you can take the whole plant, and then get ready to plant peppers, or tomatoes in the spring. Or, you can be done gardening for the fall. A lot of lettuces and salad greens tolerate cold weather, so that you can have fresh salad from your garden all the way through November.
This feature story prepared with Rebecca McMahon, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.