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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

Cut-And-Come-Again Gardening Will Boost Your Production

• Organic Prepper - Amy Allen

Many vegetables can be grown, harvested, and will continue to grow for later harvests. This is called a cut-and-come-again garden, a technique used for continuous harvests. We cut only enough for our use at that moment, allowing the plant to grow for another harvest on another day. In this article, I'll discuss how this is done and what vegetables are best suited for this gardening method. 

What garden plants work with cut-and-come-again?

Many cut-and-come-again vegetables are perennial and range from the usual greens and herbs to amaranth, asparagus, and broccoli. Greens and herbs can be grown in a tabletop hydroponics unit or Kratky jar, although I've found that while the plant will grow for months without bolting, the leaves do become less tender and less tasty as time goes on.

Nonetheless, I've been able to harvest greens for salads and sandwiches pretty regularly during that time. It's also OK to have more than one tabletop unit! Then it's possible to succession plant your vegetables, a technique that staggers plantings in order to stagger harvests.

While herbs can certainly be dried and stored, salad greens are usually best eaten fresh. I've grown several kinds of lettuce, arugula, mizuna, cilantro, and micro-tomatoes in my tabletop hydroponics unit. Any of these can be grown outside in containers, raised beds, or standard in-ground gardens.

How exactly we accomplish the harvest depends upon the plant being harvested. I'll detail the techniques and then give some of the plants suited for it. One caveat: never take more than 2/3 of the leaves! Otherwise, your plant won't grow back, and harvests will be all done. 

What to do with outer leaf/stalk cuttings

This technique involves harvesting the outer leaves of the plant, which allows the inner leaves to continue growing. Leaf lettuces, mizuna, loose-leaf endive, arugula, chicory aka radicchio, collards, kale, corn salad aka mache, and many others that grow from the center out are harvested by cutting these outer leaves. Spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, bok choy, arugula, and celery-anything that grows in a rosette is suited to this technique.