Cut-and-come-again gardening is a splendid way for urban farmers to make the most of the plants in their kitchen garden, and to make the most of the limited time, space and energy available to them. This is a technique that allows for repeated harvesting from the same plant during its growing season, often extending its growing season.
Cut-and-come-again gardening enables growers to have a continuous supply of veggies months at a time, increasing the annual productivity of their garden, saving time, energy and resources. In order to regularly harvest and easily care for these plants, it helps to plant them in small containers and keep within reach, around the kitchen.
The drawback of this method is that with each subsequent harvest, the quality and flavour of the next harvest will reduce. When the quality of the harvests deteriorates visibly, it is advised to stop harvesting and allow the plant to run its course – either to the end of its life or to seeding.
Depending on the type of vegetable or herb being grown, repeat harvesting can be done by pruning or regrowing from the crown.
Here are some plants, for urban farmers to choose to grow in their kitchen gardens:
- Amaranth, Spinach and Sorrel – harvest the leaves by pruning; which in turn will lead to fuller growth
- Rocket/Arugula, Corn Salad – take as much of the outer leaves but leave the center intact
- Kale, Lettuce, Chicories, Swiss Chard and the greens of Beet, Mustard and Turnip – spare some leaves on the shoot and the rest is up for grabs
- Basil, Cilantro, Parsley – take what little you need, whenever its needed.