Cut-and-Come-Again Leafy Greens

November 19, 2007

Would you like to grow an edible crop in the garden that was prolific as grass in that you could cut it down once, and cut it again, but it would just bounce back and continue to grow and yield additional harvests of delicious produce?

Well that’s kind of the idea behind the veggies that are classified as cut and come again crops. Usually found in the form of leafy green vegetables, these baby veggies and micro-greens will provide you with the convenience of multiple harvests from a single planting.

Enjoying Multiple Harvests with Little Effort

Arugula GreensLike the lush blades of grass growing in your lawn, these leafy greens can be sheared down almost to ground level and they will turn right around and re-grow additional leaves for your next harvest.

Unfortunately the cutting can’t be maintained as indefinately as a lawn, but you will be able to enjoy at least three or four harvests from each planting. And you can go from sowing the seed to your first harvest in just a few short weeks.

Another advantage is that vegetables raised as cut-and-come-again crops can be planted much closer together than you normally would since the veggies are not going to be maturing into full sized plants before harvest time.

It’s better to stagger your plantings into small blocks so that you can maintain a continuous supply of harvestable leafy greens, rather than wind up with more than you can use all at one time. These cut-and-come-again crops are also great for extending the garden into the fall or for raising extra early spring produce.

Cultivating Cut-and Come-Again Crops

Cutting LettuceRaised beds are ideal for growing cut and come again crops because the seed can be broadcast thickly across the entire growing area. If you plant in the typical row format you can scatter your seeds much thicker than normal and allow the plants to grow bunched together.

You can also raise these crops in containers on your patio or deck if space is at a premium out in the yard. Planting them in a cold frame or greenhouse will allow you to harvest fresh greens during fall and maybe winter. With a sunny window or supplemental grow lighting you can even grow a respectable harvest of baby greens indoors inside of your home.

Harvesting is as simple as using a pair of scissors or shears to cut the plants after they reach a height of about three to six inches, leaving behind about a half-inch of stubble to resume growth.

If your soil is healthy and you provide sufficient irrigation there should be no problem in coaxing several harvests from each initial planting of “come and cut again” veggies. Sowing mixed seed of various varieties of greens to create your own custom “mesclun mix” will also make for an interesting and flavorful harvest from the garden!

Great Edibles for Cut-and-Come-Again Culture

Here’s a list of popular edibles that can be cultivated as cut-and-come-again crops to provide you with a continuous supply of fresh micro-greens over an extended period:

  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Mustard Greens
  • Arugula
  • Cress
  • Mesclun Mixes
  • Dandelion
  • Mizuna
  • Chervil
  • Endive
  • Mache
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Tatsoi
  • Escarole

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

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