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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Quick Garden Greens

I've mentioned that we harvest early spring greens from our garden from perennials, self-seeding annuals, and greens that I plant in fall to overwinter and harvest in spring. Those greens are very welcome in March and April. 

However, they finish up long before any of the main-season garden veggies are ready for harvest. There seems to be this void in the harvesting calendar beginning in May and lasting until the first or second week in June for my garden.

Enter the veggies that I plant for quick greens. I think all vegetable gardeners know that radishes are a fast-growing from seed vegetable. I take advantage of their spritely growth by seeding them thickly with the sole intention of growing radishes for their greens. I can harvest quite a lot of vegetable matter in a small space by planting my radish seeds close together.

peas in the back, radish greens in the middle, and spinach in front
spinach and radish planted in same week

I sowed these seeds around the first of April, and now there's plenty of greens for harvesting. I made a tuna-noodle casserole the other night and used radish greens as part of the vegetable component. I've also been using some of the greens added to eggs at lunch for myself. And, one of my daughters is making lentil-vegetable curry tonight and using more of radish greens.

To harvest radish greens, I pull up any plants that are crowding others, or about 1 in every 3 or 4 plants. I leave the plants which have roots that look like they could develop into a sizable red radish. Until those are ready, we're enjoying these lovely greens in a time of the season that usually doesn't offer much ready in the garden.


  1. A good strategy. Do you have problems with rabbits or other critters in your garden?

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      We've only noticed rabbits in our yard in the last 2 years. We see them more often this year than last, which makes me think there are more of them. However, they mostly eat the grass. They don't seem to get up into the raised beds, but do nibble on the leaves of strawberry plants that are level with the ground. We'll see how much damage they do this year. So far, not one bite out of anything in a raised bed.

    2. I'm seeing more rabbits this year which is strange because I'm also seeing more foxes. The rabbits are enjoying the lettuce and peas in our raised bed this year. We need to put up a fence to slow them down.

    3. More rabbits in your area, too. We didn't have rabbits here until just a couple of years ago, so I'm not familiar with what they can and can't get into -- like the raised beds. But we do have squirrels and they are such a nuisance. I'm wanting to put up a chicken wire fence around the strawberry beds this year, if I can get my hands on a roll of chicken wire. What materials are you thinking of using for fence around your raised bed?

  2. Good morning Lili - do the greens have a bitter taste?


    1. Hi Shelby,
      Radish greens are a bit "hot" and sharp in flavor, a little like kale or turnip greens. I use them cooked, along with onions and garlic and other spices. Otherwise, I do think the flavor would be overpowering by themselves. But I think they make a great pot green for something so quick to grow in spring.

  3. What do radish greens taste like? Are they good added to a salad?

    I've never planted lettuce before. I bought some leaf lettuce seeds. I wanted to plant these in a container instead of a bed. I'm going to do some online research to see what would be best.


    1. Hi Angie,
      Radish greens are "hot" tasting like the roots can be. Plus they have a sharp flavor like turnip greens or kale. They could be added to salad in small amounts, but I think most people would find them overpowering in a salad. They're best used cooked, in soups, stir fries, quiches, frittatas, or sauteed along with onions and garlic.

      Good luck with your lettuce. Leaf lettuce is much easier to grow than head lettuce, and there's a bonus -- you can pull off the outer leaves to use and let the plant keep growing. You'll get more lettuce that way than if you picked the whole head. The lettuce will do fine in a container. They might not grow as big as in the ground, but will definitely grow and give you lots of salad greens.

    2. Hi Lili.

      That is what I'm after, lots of salad greens. My grandma used to grow leaf lettuce. She would do a salad with the leaf lettuce, onion, scrambled eggs, sometimes bacon bits. I can't remember the dressing, but I think it had cider vinegar. I'll have to play around with that. I loved it as a child.

      I hope you are feeling more rested Lili.


    3. Hi Angie,
      That salad that you remember sounds delicious. Was the dressing a sweet and sour dressing?
      Good luck.

  4. I don't think I've had radish greens but I love beet greens. We are getting about 1 salad a week from our garden now. It should pick up the pace soon although we tend to go straight from chilly to hot almost overnight. That's hard on lettuce. Glad you are finding a workable solution.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Yum, beet greens are good, too.
      Are you anywhere near the flooding? I hope you are safe.

    2. We are on the west side of the state and the dam breaks are on the east side. However, my county/town were also hit with historic flooding and I have never seen the floodwaters so high around here. Our basement is wet, which is a nuisance but we've dealt with it before. A couple blocks behind my house, the road is flooded out and many people's homes are an island surrounded by water. There is one house which has water halfway up the garage and their car is partially submerged in water. It's bad and my heart goes out to those people. At least our home is livable. And the folks in the Saginaw area where the dam break occurred--what devastation. AND in the middle of a pandemic. It's not been a great week here but we will get through it.

    3. I hope the waters and flooding recede very soon. That's what I thought, too -- all in the middle of a pandemic. I've had the same thought about the tornados and the upcoming hurricane season. Needing to take shelter someplace else, and possibly with lots of other people is not ideal right now.

      I hope you can get your basement dried out quickly, Kris.

    4. Thank you. We've had sunshine and wind the past 2 days, which is good news. The home featured in this link is 3 streets behind us.

    5. That looks awful. I feel for those homeowners.


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