We really love growing salad greens so, while envisioning how to be more efficient at it, we looked into the Quick Cut Greens Harvester from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
- We spoke with some farmers who had tried it and read any reviews we could find.
- Chris Siladi, our awesome rep from Johnny’s arranged to have one at the New England Fruit and Vegetable Conference. I wanted to hold it and “go through the motions” of harvesting imaginary salad mix in the trade show.
- The tipping point in the decision to buy it came from Randy Cummings from Johnny’s who said that if we didn’t like it, we could always just return it. Sold!
Last week we tried it for the first time.
On the first bed of greens this season that was sufficiently weed-free in our opinion (note: this does not mean it was free of weeds….just sufficiently for trying purposes).
The greens may have been slightly too big for ideal Quick Cutting.
We harvested our mix of Asian greens that we call our “sweet ‘n’ spicy” mix, as well as arugula.
Both were very quickly harvested and taken to the wash station. The time spent in the wash station cleaning those greens was longer than usual because weeds and leaf “bits” had to be sorted out. As well as a few bruised or broken leaves but those didn’t account for too many.
So, after this first attempt….we’re still undecided.
We really like doing quality control at the harvesting stage. But it is nice to be able to harvest a lot quickly, before the sun comes out and heats the greens up.
Also, you can kinda see from the picture below, but it’s a bit less easy for me to maneuver this thing than Bryan (although I’m sure I’ll get better at it with practice…this picture captures my first moment holding it). I guess due to the size and maybe the extra weight. It’s not really that surprising I guess. There are lots of jobs on our farm that work better with a smaller/shorter person or a taller/stronger person.
It’s a bit different with our flat (not raised) beds in terms of ergonomics. We lean in more with the raised beds than the non-raised beds.
Here’s a short video of the very first moment we used the Quick Cut Greens Harvester. Very monumental. Epic actually.
Or, if you’d like to watch one that is 100% slicker than our video, watch this one.
Thanks for this post! As we get bigger we have considered purchasing this device. Your opinion is valued.
Ah, very timely! I see Johnny’s finally has it back in-stock online!
Hey there, thanks for this post! Just wondering– What is your seeding rate for greens in the field so you get that kind of cover across the bed? Thanks!
Without going back to look at my records, and based on the photos, that stand was likely seeded with a Jang Clean Seeder, roller XY-12, front gear 14, rear 9. I think there were 7 or 8 rows on an approximately 42″ bed. We have also tried using Johnny’s six row seeder, doing 3 passes (18 rows, 1 inch spacing in row) on the same sized bed. I’m still getting familiar with using the 6-row and so I tend to use the Jang more often (also a bit easier to use on parts of our farm where the soil is a little more stony). Hope this helps!
Hey thanks for this post. I’ve been debating this harvester for too long. We now harvest around 300lbs of baby mix a week with knife and harvest totes. I haven’t jumped in this harvester due to the ergonomics. When I watch people use it they are half bent and usually twisted weird. Granted, harvesting by hand isn’t a cake walk but at least I can control my body mechanics to not injure myself.
I could imagine turning the drill so the handle faced the direction you are cutting towards and walking backwards would stop the twist of the body. Then mount it on an old reel mower so o could stand upright. I would also probably change my beds from 40 inches to a size where I could straddle the bed. That’s a lot of lost growing space though.
Two years later, did you return the harvester or are you still using it?
Hey I was wondering if you have updated this article yet? We recently got one and are still not sure how we can improve the quality with it. Our second cuts are really not that great, with diminished yields and a lot to sort through. We are also no longer cutting beet greens with it. Any advice you have, like salad varieties with good stands that cut well with it, or anything else you’ve learned would be greatly appreciated. Not many people seem to talk about the difference in quality when using this. Thanks!
Having issues with that harvester. Bruised leaves, uneven cuts. There is a long learning curve on this machine..I am planning on adding feet to it to prevent scalping and give the operator a gauge for height at least on one side. Problem is you cannot see the blade when in operation. It may not work well enough for some of our chefs and we’ll go back to hand cutting. Arugula, salad mix, baby mustards are the crops we use it on. We have been planting with Johnny’s six row seeder for many years now. I hope to have some videos coming soon on tips and rules of the road for that planter. Both of these are tools are not machines (a machine doesn’t require skill but repeats the job over and over with precision). It takes skill to use them, they do NOT do the job for you. Hour long jobs can be done in less than five minutes if one takes the time to learn how. Best lettuce mix I’ve found so far is through Eden Brothers, Asheville. Even germination, great colors. Beats Johnny’s mix we used to use. Jake’s Farm, Candler NC… find us on facebook. We gave up websites and hosting fees.
Thanks for the article. We started using this tool early summer this past year on our 3″ greens (arugula, kale, mustards, asian greens). In the warmer months it works wonders to turn a 20 – 30 min hand-harvest into about 5 min.
The issue: we’ve found that in the colder months when there’s dew on the leaves and the soil is more moist, it tends to just lay the plants down instead of cutting them. We’ve sharpened and even replaced the blade thinking it was the issue, but so far not much luck. It also picks up a lot of extra soil/rock bits with the leaves and requires extra washing as our restaurant customers are very particular (understandably). The washing wouldn’t be so much an issue if water conservation wasn’t such a concern (Ca. always in a drought) We’re trying out floating row covers for a few reasons but one of which is to prevent so much water on the leaves as we get closer to harvest to see if this helps. It’s also a bit cumbersome and hard to maneuver when tying to start at the end of a row if there are drip valves, strings or tunnel supports in place. Small thing but something to consider when planning regular use of the tool.