Cut-and-come-again harvesting is an easy method to grow a continuous harvest of leafy greens throughout the season. Whether you're growing kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, or any other variety, the cut-and-come-again method keeps your plants thriving and provides you with a steady supply of nutritious greens.
The Benefits of Cut and Come Again Harvesting
Instead of removing an entire plant, harvest a few of the outermost, oldest, and lowest leaves, leaving the rest of the plant intact. This promotes new growth and extends the plant's life in your garden.
And, by continually harvesting a few leaves at a time, you can enjoy smaller amounts of greens on an as-needed basis. This not only reduces waste but also ensures that the greens are always fresh when you pick them. Plus, the cut-and-come-again method encourages rapid new growth. This leads to a steady supply of tender leaves, ready whenever you have a hankering for salad.
Another advantage of cut-and-come-again harvesting is that it requires less work and maintenance. Instead of constantly starting new seeds, just let your existing plants grow and provide you with new leaves to harvest.
How to Harvest Greens with Cut and Come Again
- When practicing cut and come again harvesting, it's important to select the outermost, oldest, and lowest leaves of your plants. These leaves are usually the most mature and ready for harvest.
- To harvest the leaves, either gently pull or tear them away from the main stem. Be careful not to tug on the entire plant, break the main stem, or uproot it. Alternatively, use a knife or trimming shears to cut the leaves away.
- When removing a leaf, make sure to cut or tear it all the way down to the base where it is attached to the main stem. Leaving a little nub behind may hinder the plant's growth or increase the risk of disease.
- Leave at least a handful of leaves on the plant when harvesting. These leaves are essential for the plant's photosynthesis and continued growth. As a general rule, avoid harvesting more than half of the leaves available.
- Harvest the leaves once a week or as often as necessary. Just make sure to leave enough leaves on the plant for it to regrow and thrive.
Kale: Kale is a versatile green that does really well with the cut-and-come-again method. Varieties like Lacinato and Dazzling Blue are particularly well-suited for this technique. Kale Seeds
Swiss Chard: Swiss chard is another excellent choice for cut-and-come-again harvesting. It grows quickly and produces a lot of leaves over the season. Swiss Chard Seeds
Bok Choy: Bok choy is perfect for perpetual harvesting. Look for varieties like Joi Choi, which grow large and open heads, making them easy to harvest. Bok Choy Seeds
Lettuce: While some lettuces are not suitable for cut and come again harvesting, loose-leaf varieties like Red Leaf and Green Leaf are perfect for this method. Lettuce Seeds
Remember, the variety you choose plays a crucial role in the success of cut-and-come-again harvesting. Pick varieties that respond well to this technique and have loose, open heads that are easy to harvest.