University of Maryland Extension

Harvesting Salad Greens

salad table


What’s the best way to harvest?

The “cut-and-come-again” harvesting method is very efficient. Use scissors to cut all plants close to the growing mix. The plants will produce new leaves from the base and can be harvested a second time in 3-4 weeks. Sometimes it is possible to get a third cutting.  An alternative harvesting method is to thin plants so they are spaced 4-6 inches apart and harvest outer leaves or entire plants.

Do I harvest one time?  What’s a “crop cycle?”
Each section of the Salad Table™ can produce three crop cycles between April 1 and November.  A crop cycle is:
1) Plant, 2) harvest in 25-40 days, 3) plants re-grow and are harvested a second time in 25-30 days, 4) spent plants are removed and composted or mixed into growing media where they decompose.

How do you know when the plants are finished?
When plants become weak, bitter, and unproductive they can be “turned under” (mixed into growing media where they decompose) or pulled out by hand and composted.

When do we harvest?
Baby greens, 4-6 inches in height will be ready to harvest in 25-40 days from planting.

What’s the best way to harvest?
The “cut-and-come-again” harvesting method is very efficient. Use scissors to cut all plants close to the growing mix. The plants will produce new leaves from the base and can be harvested a second time in 3-4 weeks. Sometimes it is possible to get a third cutting.

An alternative harvesting method is to thin plants so they are spaced 4-6 inches apart and harvest outer leaves or entire plants.

How much will we get from each Salad Table?
One Salad Table™ will produce 1 to 2 pounds of greens from a single cutting.  The store value of this amount of pre-cut bagged salad greens @ $.75/oz. was $24-$48 per table per 8-week growth cycle.  It's possible to plant one Salad Table™ 3 times each year in Maryland producing a store value of $72-$96.

Lettuces

  1. Use scissors to cut lettuce to about 1 inch above the soil.  Consider cutting a mix of lettuces to create a beautiful, nutritious salad!
  2. Place greens in salad spinner and fill bowl with water.
  3. Gently agitate greens to release any trapped dirt.
  4. Drain the greens in the colander part of the salad spinner.
  5. Place the colander back in the salad spinner and spin until dry.
  6. Eat immediately as a salad or on a sandwich, or store in a bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Other Greens
Many of the greens we are growing in the Salad Table™ are traditionally eaten cooked.  These include chard, kale, mustard greens, broccoli greens, and broccoli greens.  However, when they are harvested young, they are tender, flavorful, and extremely nutritious when eaten raw.

Harvest by cutting the larger outer leaves of several plants, or by cutting the whole plant to about 1 inch.  Follow the directions above for washing these unusual greens to use in salads or on sandwiches.  If you are able to grow these greens to mature size, you may try cooking them; however, they cook down A LOT, so you won’t be left with much to sample.

Beans
If you’ve chosen to grow beans on your Salad Table™, you’re in for a treat!  Nothing beats sweet, crisp beans for a mid-summer treat.

  • Pick beans when the pods are firm and elongated, but before the seeds inside get plump.
  • Toss raw beans in salads, or lightly steam them and toss with a little olive oil or lemon juice.

Radishes
Radishes add a crisp bite to your salads, and they are very high in fiber and vitamin C.

  • Harvest radishes by gently pulling them from the Salad Table™ as their tops start to show, and they look to be about 1 inch in diameter.  After you harvest the largest ones, the surrounding ones will grow bigger now that they have more room.
  • Remove radish tops (the green leaves), wash thoroughly and enjoy them sliced on your salads, or just snack on them whole!

Cooking with Fresh Herbs from your Salad Table™
The best and easiest thing to do with fresh herbs is to pick ‘em, chop ‘em, and add them to salads, soups, and sandwiches.  Fresh herbs add flavor without adding salt or other additives.

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