Cut and Come Again Harvesting
What is Cut-and-Come-Again Harvesting?
Cut-and-Come-Again Harvesting is the technique of repeatedly harvesting leaves and shoots of plants to prolong their production period. By harvesting only some of the plant, many edible plants can continue to grow, thus increasing your overall yield. It is a good way to have a continuous supply of vegetables throughout the year without having to always start seeds and transplant seedlings.
There are two ways to do Cut-and-Come-Again Harvesting. They are:
- Harvesting the older outer leaves
- Harvesting the young leaves and shoots
The technique you use will depend on how your plant grows. Edible plants that don’t readily grow new shoots like Cai Xin, Lettuce, Kale and Pandan usually only have one growing point, and will slow their growth if the growing point is cut. Because of this, it is best to harvest their older outer leaves, and encourage the existing growing point to keep producing new leaves.
On the other hand, plants that can quickly put out new shoots like Bayam, Sweet Potato, Kang Kong and Thai Basil will benefit from the harvest of their young leaves and shoots. Regularly harvesting these young shoots will also encourage the plants to become bushier as they put out new growth.
Plants for the Cut-and-Come-Again Harvesting method
Harvesting the older outer leaves:
- Cai Xin (Brassica rapa Caisin Group)
- Chinese Mustard (Brassica juncea Broad-leaf Mustard)
- Kale (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group)
- Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)
- Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius)
- Xiao Bai Cai (Brassica rapa Pak Choi Group)
Harvesting the young shoots and leaves:
- Ceylon Spinach (Basella alba)
- Bayam (Amaranthus tricolor)
- Kang Kong (Ipomoea aquatica)
- Sweet Potato (Ipomoea aquatica)
- Chives (Allium tuberosum)
- Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii)
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Indian Borage (Coleus amboinicus)
- Laksa (Persicaria ordorata)
- Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Tapioca (Manihot esculenta)
- Sissoo Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)
- Okinawan Spinach (Gynura bicolor)
Encourage new growth after harvesting
Using high nitrogen fertilisers is the best way to encourage plants to grow more leaves and shoots. Fertilising immediately after cut-and-come-again harvesting will make sure that you will have more growth to harvest in about two weeks. Fertilising your crops between once every two weeks to once every two months is also a good schedule for continuous growth of edible plants.
It is important to harvest your plants safely to reduce the spread of pathogens, and keep your crops safe for consumption.
- Sanitise tools before harvesting
- Do not let the harvesting tools come into contact with soil, which may have pathogens
- Avoid watering edible plants before harvesting
- Try to harvest before 9am to keep the leaves fresh and juicy
- Use clean gloves, harvest containers, trays, baskets, and work surfaces
- Ensure tools are kept clean to prevent contamination
- Use clean cuts with a sharp tool to minimise damage to the plant
- Ensure that the harvested leaves do not touch soil, , which may have pathogens
- Store fresh harvests away from direct sunlight
- Wash your harvest thoroughly with clean water before consuming
- Dry the harvest with a clean cloth or paper towel before storing them in the refrigerator
- Place the edibles in the container before storing them in the refrigerator
- Sanitise tools after harvesting