We’ve had a few customers wondering when they can start harvesting their kale, spinach and chard plants, so we thought we’d share the advice!
Spinach & Chard
Around 2-3 weeks after planting, your spinach and chard should have fairly well established roots and hopefully the leaves will be big enough to harvest. We’d suggest waiting until the biggest leaves on the plant are at least 6-8cm (excluding the stalk) before you start harvesting from it. Using a sharp knife, scissors or secateurs, cut off the larger, outer leaves at the base of their stalks (this is better than trying to rip them off at the stalk which can damage the plant and you risk uprooting them!) Harvest only what you need, making sure you leave the new leafy growth in the centre of the plant so that it can keep growing. In this way you can expect to harvest from your plants right through summer and autumn.
Ours is a dwarf variety, and it is better to wait until the plant itself has reached approx 15-20cm tall before you start to harvest from it. Again, use a knife or scissors to cut individual leaves at the base of the stalk, and leave the new growth in the centre to continue growing. Alternatively, wait until the plant has reached full size (20-25cm) and harvest the whole plant.
Wait until most of the mature leaves on the plant reach about 20cm long. Then harvest leaves as and when you want to use them by tugging the leaves downwards to pull them from the stalk. Leave the remaining younger leaves on the upper part of the plant to keep growing. By harvesting a few leaves from each plant they should keep going right through to autumn/winter. Over time you’ll have a tall plant with a bare lower stalk and new leaves constantly forming on the upper part.
Red Russian Kale
Once you’ve got a several leaves on the plant (e.g. 10-15 leaves per plant), you can harvest a few of the larger leaves. Use a knife/scissors to avoid damaging the plant, and keep picking leaves as and when you want to use them. Harvest a few leaves from each plant and leave the newer, younger leaves to keep growing and you should find your plant carries on producing more and more through autumn and winter.