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Get Growing: Time to harvest radishes and greens

It’s the most joyous time of year when salad season is here.
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Well, that was a fun May snowstorm we had the other week.  That was a great lesson in knowing our weather and environment and not get the warm weather plants outside too early.  Now that the chance of snow is over, hopefully, it’s time to get all of your warm-weather plants outside along with pulling weeds and harvesting greens and radishes.

Pulling any and all of the weeds you can is crucial to a successful urban farm or garden. Weeds tend to overtake anything around them plus some weeds even emit toxins out of their roots to try and kill off other plants around them.  As soon as you see a weed pull it right away. When it comes back two days later, pull it again. You really have to stay on top of them to keep them from overtaking everything. Usually, the first year is the worst for the weeds then they usually appear less and less each year after that, assuming you are pulling them.

We’re getting to the point where greens and radishes can be harvested. It’s the most joyous time of year when salad season is here. Greens and radishes are both very easy to harvest.  

For greens just pinch the leaves off, leaving the main plant intact so it produces more leaves. For lettuce, in particular, cut the leaves off leaving the base of the plant in the ground, it will keep producing more leaves.  

I like to pinch the big lettuce leaves off, leaving the smaller leaves intact so they grow bigger. Meanwhile the leaves you pinched off start growing back so you get this cascading effect of leaves that are ready to pick.

For radishes, bend the leaves back so you can see where the plant goes into the ground, you’ll see the radish bulb forming. When the bulb gets to be the size you want, pull it out of the ground.  

Radishes are best when the weather is still mild, the taste of them, this goes for the greens too, changes when the weather gets warmer, they become more bitter. Radishes can start getting woody and the plant starts bolting in the warmer weather too.  

Bolting is when the leaves of the plant start growing really fast and the plant produces flowers which then produces seeds. The weather gets too warm and the plant is done for the year, so it starts producing seed.

Don’t forget to eat the radish greens, they are edible. If the slight prickliness is too much for you to put them in salads, then you can add them to stir-fries, which makes the prickliness go away and more palatable or you could just juice them!

Have a question?

If you have any questions or subjects that you would like me to cover in this column, they can be emailed to with the subject of “Longmont Leader Question.” I will happily answer any questions that you may have, after all this column is for you to benefit from and enjoy.


James Lissy

About the Author: James Lissy

James, a Longmont resident, has spent the last few years learning the ins and outs of maintaining an urban garden.
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