An excellent indicator of when to harvest baby greens small polytunnel in the UK is checking the plants’ height. After 25 to 40 days since you’ve first planted them, check the length; the perfect size for harvesting is 4 to 6 inches.
Before going further, we must first understand what baby greens are. As the name suggests, they are babies. These greens are soft, bite-sized vegetables harvested much earlier than their mature leaf counterparts.
To properly tell whether your baby greens are ready to be harvested, first make sure that you have followed the proper steps in growing them.
Harvest Time For Baby Greens In Small Greenhouse
The perfect environment for baby greens to grow is in a cool place in your UK garden. A polytunnel is a great example; it has to be cool but not cold, especially during the night. A low-temperature area can slow down the vegetables’ growth but still retain fresh, crisp, and vibrant flavours.
But the question is, what’s the most effective way for them to grow?
There is a method called cut-and-come-again. It is said to be the most efficient method of harvesting your baby greens. All you have to do is gently clump the leaves with your fingers, and on about an inch above the soil line, cut the vegetables off.
“Why do we not just pull out the entire vegetable?” you may ask. Well, that is because, from the remaining part of the plant, a new one will grow from it. That is why the method’s name is cut-and-come-again because, in the next three to four weeks, you will come again for another batch of ready-to-harvest baby greens.
It is often only until the second cutting, but there are instances that it reaches the third one. If you want to get to the third cutting, pay very close attention, and take great care of your baby greens. Always make sure to keep your plants healthy and moist by spraying them with diluted organic fertiliser.
How to tell plants are finished
Finished in this sense is being wholly useless or cannot regrow in the UK anymore. As I’ve stated above, the maximum times you can harvest your baby green is three. When you see your plants becoming weaker and turning brown, then it means you have to let them go.
But, do not throw away the weakened plants. They can turn into fertiliser for your soil. Instead of picking them out, join them into the soil, and plant new seeds once again.
Tips on how to keep your baby greens healthy
Before you can harvest your baby greens, you need to make sure they’re healthy. Even if it reaches its maturity period, there’s still no use if they are not healthy in the first place.
After maintaining their health, you can now determine when to harvest baby greens small greenhouse. Here are the steps:
#1 Ensure the soil is healthy
Before anything else, always check the condition of your soil. Since you are planting your baby greens in a small greenhouse, the environment might affect your soil’s condition in the tray. The best kind of soil for baby greens is the dry kind that you can rake smoothly.
Looking at different cases, when the soil is overly moist, it tends to rot your seeds. Luckily with a greenhouse, you can control the temperature and moisture level inside. There is less worry about having overly wet soil.
#2 Provide nutrients to your plants
For people like us, it is plants that we turn to for nutrients. But, in their case, baby greens require elements such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus for them to grow healthy and well. Among these three, the plants rely the most on nitrogen for their growth.
The best way to deliver nitrogen to the baby greens’ roots is by fertilising your soil with either rotted animal manure or finished compost. Added to this, once the seeds have emerged, sprinkle compost on top for the added nutrition.
#3 Providing primary and secondary cover
A prominent reason why you should consider planting inside a polytunnel is for controlled temperature. By growing your baby greens inside, the polytunnel has already provided them primary cover. The secondary cover is what you put over the plant trays to speed up their growth and better the germination process.
Baby greens that grow well in a small greenhouse
In this section, we’ll understand some of the baby greens you can harvest in a small greenhouse.
Kale is best for year-round planting. It germinates when the soil reaches 40° F or higher. The leafy vegetable grows fast inside a greenhouse. To tell when to harvest kale, measure the height of the leaves. If they reach four inches, then they are ready to be harvested.
This vegetable is also called a rocket. Arugula, when planted outside, germinates in the coldest soil in spring. But, in a small greenhouse, these baby greens seeds are sown at an earlier date.
The most staple ingredient to any salad is lettuce. As of today, there are quite a lot of varieties with their differences in flavour, colour, and texture. Take note that when planting lettuce inside a greenhouse, some types are better than others.
In the United Kingdom, one best plant baby greens in a controlled environment. That is why a polytunnel is one of the best places for you to leave them. It is not that difficult to tell whether your baby greens are ready to be harvested, as long as you make sure you have taken great care of them and check their height from time to time.
Well, it is simple and easy to follow. Just know when to harvest baby greens small greenhouse, so you can reap what you sow.