By Jean-Martin Fortier
Do you know any tool or technique that can improve an aspect of your farming productivity by more than 200 percent? I do; it’s the Quick Cut Greens Harvester from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Since early October, I have had the opportunity to try out the new Quick Cut Greens Harvester, which replaces the greens harvester Johnny’s introduced in 2009.
That first greens harvester was a great idea, but it had some drawbacks. The main flaw was that you had to move the blades manually back and forth in order to cut a dense bed of greens. The new model has fixed this flaw by powering the blades with a small hand drill, allowing you to harvest much faster. The result is a cleaner cut, with less effort. The designers of the tool also added a shaft of rotating ropes which sweep the greens into a collection basket, making sure that no greens go under the cutter. This also serves to pull the greens against the blades, allowing the harvester to cut sparsely seeded stands and less dense re-growth on previously cut beds.
One of the main reasons we had stopped using Johnny’s previous model of the Greens Harvester, was that the cut was never really clean enough to have a good quality second growth. Debris of the first cut would fall in the bed, leaves would not be cut at all, or they would be cut in half because it was challenging to always cut at the desired height.
The new harvester solves these problems. Now, the cut is perfectly uniform because it can be raised or lowered by two adjustable supporting skids or by simply holding the harvester at the desired height. Because the blades are actioned at such quick speeds, the cut is neat and clean, even more so than when using knives. And about cutting mesclun with knives….in our market garden, we harvest 200 pounds a week, which takes three people more or less two hours. With this new tool, one person does the job in less than 45 minutes ! It’s a major helper in our (too) busy harvest day.
There are still a couple of flaws with the new tool. The collection basket could be bigger and more resistant. The overall ergonomics of the Harvester is not that comfortable. But I am sure that the guys at Johnny’s will tackle those issues. Overall, I give the Quick Cut Greens Harvester a 9 out of 10 and can assure anyone that it’s worth the price of $495. It will be available by mid January at www.johnnyseeds.com. or 1-877-564-6697. Just in time for the greens in your hoophouses.
Read about the inventor who designed the new greens harvester when he was just 15 years old
Jean-Martin Fortier is the owner of les Jardins de la Grelinette, a small 1.5 acre farm located in southern Québec. He is the author of a recently published book The Market Gardener. The book is available in English and French. More about his work can be found by visiting www.themarketgardener.com.