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Cut And Come Again Salad Greens

romaine-mar2014

Look at this crispy green romaine, isn’t it gorgeous? I took this picture just over a week ago, before harvesting one of the three heads to make a dinner salad. I don’t always harvest full heads … sometimes I remove leaves from several different plants, especially when they’re not yet fully grown. But these lettuces — a miniature Caesar hybrid — were fully mature and needed to be picked before they set seeds.

Did you know that most leafy greens will grow back if you cut the leaves about an inch above the soil line? This is a terrific way to extend the amount of lettuce, spinach, and other greens you produce, without needing to add additional plants. Here is a photo of the stump from the plant I harvested last night, the last of the three to be picked:

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I made a Caesar salad for lunch last Wednesday, so the stump from that plant has had 5 days to grow. Here’s what it looks like now … do you see the newly sprouted leaves, coming up in sets of two?

romaine sprouts

The first of the three romaines was harvested 5 days earlier. Two days ago, it’s new sprouts were the same size as the ones in the photo above. We’ve had cool, rainy weather the past two days, and the sprouts have tripled in size. The close up shows how the sprouts rise from various parts of the stump:

week old sprouts 1

romaine sprouts 3

If you have limited space to garden, you could plant just 3 or 4 lettuces in a large pot and have salad greens all season long. Using the cut-and-come-again method keeps your plants productive, and staggering the original harvest of each plant helps assure that you will always have leaves that are ready to pick.

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