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First time gardener and no clue when to pick

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First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/14/2012, 4:07 pm

I have many questions, but will start with spinach, and the mesclun mix lettuce. I planted it 6 weeks ago. I have no idea how tall stuff is supposed to get, as the packages don't tell me. I did 4 in each square of the spinach...does it come back when you remove leaves? do you just take the leave, or pull it out of the ground? Same with the lettuce...I think there are either 4 or 9 in each square...do you take the whole thing out, or just cut some out...and does it come back too??




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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Pepper on 6/14/2012, 4:23 pm

Debora Cadene, you will need to look on the seed packs or the transplant providers web site for "days to harvest" information. Then go here and get yourself a Julian calander( both regular and a leapyear version) then find the number that corresponds to the day/month; add the number of days to harvest; convert back to day/month; start picking.

http://gapsmallfarmsnc.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/julian-calendar.pdf



Hope this helps

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/14/2012, 4:26 pm

The spinach says 42 days, but the lettuce doesn't say anything. Also....how the heck do you use that chart?? I planted both on May 4th.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Pepper on 6/14/2012, 5:05 pm

read the day of the month down the left side; move to the right to the correct month columb; the intersection gives you the DAY OF THE YEAR(Julian date) number. Next add the "days to harvest #" to the julian #. Next find the total on the chart; reconvert this back to the day/month format. You now have the 'day to begin picking'. I realize the Julian calander is funky but it serves it's function.



Sorry I can't be of more help with the individual crops; I am a first year rookie too.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Pepper on 6/14/2012, 5:11 pm

May 4th is Julian day 125. (intersection of day 4 down the left and the row across the top labled MAY).

125 +42=167.

Day 167 reconverts back to June 15 ( find the #167; read the day from the left and the month from the top((each from the row and columb 167 is in)) )

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  ramarks on 6/14/2012, 5:23 pm

This is very interesting - and something I had no idea about. I'll have to look into this. I've just been counting hte number of days on the calendar.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  rowena___. on 6/14/2012, 5:26 pm

i completely ignore the "days to harvest" on the package and go by the plant itself. i begin harvesting salad greens when the leaves are between 4"-8" tall. cut leaves off from the outside of the plant. it will continue sending up leaves from the center. you can harvest repeatedly--it's called "cut and come again"--until the plant gives up the ghost.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/14/2012, 5:38 pm

Thank you for your replies and the info on the chart. I've never seen any of the foods in my garden grow, which adds to the confusion / curiosity of each plant. Some of the lettuce has taller stalks that look like its gonna flower or something. I pinched them off..but not sure if I should have. This is going to be a very fun journey. I went out and picked a few spinach leaves and some lettuce pieces and will have my first salad from the garden with supper. Can't wait for more stuff to start popping.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  rowena___. on 6/14/2012, 5:42 pm

the flowering stalks mean the plants are about to bolt, making them bitter and inedible. harvest often, and the moment they begin to start turning even a little bitter, just cut them off at the ground and replace them with something that likes the heat.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  southern gardener on 6/14/2012, 6:59 pm

We pick the outer leaves of the spinach and lettuce when the leaves are big enough to eat! I'd say when the plant has about 10 leaves? Maybe a little more or less. You don't want to pick so much you kill the plant. We do the "cut and come again" like the above post. We also give a "hair cut" sometimes when the plant is bigger, just take the scissors and cut a bunch off of the top. This is normally towards the end when we think the plant is about done...have fun and enjoy your greens! We make smoothies out of ours. Our little grandson picks stuff, and brings it in and begs for smoothies!! cheers

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/14/2012, 7:31 pm

What kind of smoothies do you make with greens, SG?
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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  ramarks on 6/14/2012, 7:50 pm

I don't know about southern gardener, but we make a green smoothie almost every morning. Mostly fruit, with a couple of handfuls of spinach...a great start to the day.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/14/2012, 8:08 pm

Spinach in a fruit smoothie? No Sounds weird.
Guess I shouldn't knock it til I've tried it...

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 8:26 pm

yup - I put spinach in our smoothies every day... (although I use the packaged baby spinach)

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  southern gardener on 6/14/2012, 8:54 pm

We put whatever is growing! Spinach (which is REALLY good for "first timers" as it is very mild tasting), Kale, lettuce, tops of broccoli plants etc...what ever we have Smile Carrots, bananas, pineapple, FRESH oranges from our trees, blueberries, apples; the whole thing, seeds and all affraid , strawberries, flax seed, protein powder, rice or almond milk, greek yogurt. We really don't go by a recipe, it's what we have on hand and is fresh. I would say we do about 30% greens and 70% fruits. We invested in a Vitamix a few months ago, and really really like it.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/14/2012, 9:48 pm

I just got a Vita mix as well and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I've been making the green smoothies and try and make it as much veggie as I can with some fruit. I added the spinach, kale and chard especially for the smoothies. I'm still learning what can go in and what shouldn't... so much fun and another reason I can't wait for things to come up.
Hey....for the greens...I am guessing that doesn't mean peas or beans right?? Can you put raw beets in??? Will it help or hinder if you add pinches of fresh herbs for flavour?? Someone needs to start a Vitamix green smoothy thread with produce from their gardens or the store... IWe could all get some new ideas

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 10:53 pm

maybe you should start a VITA mix thread. Very Happy
As far as when to pick, that is something that took me a long time to learn, spinach AND basil.
I have a wonderful set of very fine CHEAP HAIRCUTTING scissors, that I use harvesting my spinach. I cut from that outside the largest leaves and then I make sure that there are no central flowering....
I have several spinach squares, and darned if a few of last years plants survive the winter, so I had more. I also planted a few more seeds in the fall for fall spinach.

So if there is any evidence of a flower forming centrally, be sure and cut that off.
I like to leave a few of the smaller central leaves.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  southern gardener on 6/15/2012, 12:03 am

Debora: I did put my peas in, hulls and all. I also put in beets, tops and all too. I pick the beet greens for weeks and put them in. they are really good for you. I had a reaction to the gold beet greens for some reason?? Got really nauseous. We do really put anything and everything in our smoothies! The raw beets were sooo good. I love beets tho, my husband, not so much! lol. The Vitamix will blend ANYTHING! We do buy greens when we run out, we make smoothies everyday Smile

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Unmutual on 6/15/2012, 8:40 am

@Debora Cadene wrote:I just got a Vita mix as well and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I've been making the green smoothies and try and make it as much veggie as I can with some fruit. I added the spinach, kale and chard especially for the smoothies. I'm still learning what can go in and what shouldn't... so much fun and another reason I can't wait for things to come up.
Hey....for the greens...I am guessing that doesn't mean peas or beans right?? Can you put raw beets in??? Will it help or hinder if you add pinches of fresh herbs for flavour?? Someone needs to start a Vitamix green smoothy thread with produce from their gardens or the store... IWe could all get some new ideas

While I have no idea about vita mix, greens usually refers to leafs(lettuce, cabbage, arugula, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.) From what I understand about beets...you don't want to eat more than one raw, unless you like stomach pain.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  Debora Cadene on 6/15/2012, 8:51 am

Good to know about the beets.

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

Post  mmathedrader on 6/15/2012, 9:20 am

I usually wait until the lettuce leaf is about the size of my palm, then pick it... it was cool enough in Ottawa last summer that my lettuce plants lasted to whole summer with this harvesting method. I've moved them this year, where they may have a bit more direct sun, so may not be able to have the same luck. I planted mid to late May, and have been harvesting a similar lettuce mix for a couple of weeks now.
Your climate is supposedly a little cooler than mine (same forecast for today though) - so if your leaves are big enough, you should be able to harvest.

this is my first year using MM... and the lettuce loves it!

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Re: First time gardener and no clue when to pick

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