One of the best things about spring is growing salad greens in your vegetable garden. There are many varieties to choose from, and each has its own unique look and flavor. Plus, greens and lettuce are so easy to grow, especially in an Eco Garden. The environment is perfect for growing cooler weather veggies and the elevated height keeps the bunnies from munching away on your hard work.
Even though lettuce and greens are ready to harvest rather quickly, we grew some from seed indoors this year. The seedlings looked rather limp and floppy when we transplanted them, but they completely turned around and grew into beautiful heads ready to harvest in just a couple weeks.
People often make the mistake of pulling lettuce and greens up from the roots when harvesting. Of course, it’s tempting to pull them up when you have a perfectly formed head of lettuce, but instead consider the “cut and come again” method of harvesting. This method works great on loose leaf lettuce varieties, but you can do it with heads, too. This will give you an almost endless supply of lettuce and greens in the spring—until the heat gets too intense and they go to seed (bolt). But don’t worry; you can plant more lettuce and greens closer to fall.
Here are some easy tips to “cut and come again”:
- When the leaves reach about 4” in length, use a scissors and cut about one inch above the crown of the plant to harvest.
- For heads, you can pick the outer leaves and they will grow back, but not as quickly as cutting.
- Try succession planting to get more consistent supply. Plant more seeds every couple of weeks so that while you wait for your greens to grow back, more will come up that you can harvest.
- Some lettuce seed packets describe the “cut and come again method,” such as Renee’s Garden. Follow the instructions for your chosen greens variety.
- Don’t forget to plant again in the fall for more greens; they love the cooler temps!
- If you are growing heirloom varieties, allow some plants to bolt so you can save the seeds for next year.
You can succession plant your other veggies, too, so you can enjoy bountiful salads with lots of variety—radishes are quick growers. Here are some unique greens recipes in case you want a break from the salads. And here is a great list of greens that can likely be harvested this way for endless meals.
Tell us: What’s your favorite green to grow?