How to Pick Garden Greens


The term "garden greens" is very broad and it includes most leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach and mustard greens. Garden greens are generally picked in the spring and fall. Harvesting is done by picking individual leaves or by cutting off the entire head of the plant. Leaves are picked throughout the season while the plant is still young and producing new leaves. Whole heads are usually picked at the close of the growing season.

Picking Individual Leaves of Garden Greens

Step 1

Examine the leaves of your garden greens and look for any damaged or discolored leaves. Use a knife to cut these leaves off at their base. Discard the leaves.

Step 2

Identify the largest leaves on the plant as these will be the most mature. Grasp the leaves with one hand and use a knife with your other hand to slice the leaves off the plant. Avoid sawing through the leaves. Use a single, quick cut to remove the leaves at their base.

Step 3

Place the green leaves in a bucket or bag while you continue your harvesting.

Picking Whole Heads of Garden Greens

Step 1

Remove the dirt around the plant's base with a hoe.

Step 2

Look at the plant's base to locate the head of the plant. There will be a taproot extending out of the head that runs into the ground.

Step 3

Use either a knife or the edge of the hoe to cut through the taproot.

Step 4

Lift the green head from the soil and place it in a bucket or bag while you continue your harvesting.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Garden hoe
  • Bag or bucket


  • Garden Greens - North Carolina State University

Who Can Help

  • Harvesting Greens - National Gardening Association
Keywords: pick garden greens, picking leaves of garden greens, picking green heads

About this Author

Wendy Jackson is a writer/editor for print/online markets. She has been freelancing for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Front Porch Syndicate, as well as being picked up by health/education professionals and groups such as the American Chestnut Foundation. Jackson pursued an English major/psychology minor beginning at Pellissippi State.