Cut–and-come-again salad leaves (sometimes called perpetual salad leaves) are very easy to grow and can be grown in a very small space, even a tub or container and harvested, as the name suggests a number of times.
You can of course grow almost any lettuce like this, but cut-and-come-again varieties are loose-leaf that don’t form a solid ‘heart’ so are far quicker to grow and can be set late in the season so by planting them in August in the garden, you can still get a harvest a few weeks later in September and pick through to October before we see the first frosts. It is also worth noting that spicy salad mixes can be quite hardy and will tolerate some cooler weather.
Picking these varieties of salad leaves encourages the plant to grow again and unlike cutting a whole lettuce, allows you to pick just the number of leaves you need each time, so there is no waste and your leaves are always fresh.
How to Grow Cut and Come Again
In a pot or container, seeds can be scattered thinly, covered and watered regularly. This is especially useful for colder months when the container can be taken in at night, put in a sheltered, sunny spot or moved into a greenhouse, as the weather turns cold.
During the warmer months of the year, cut and come again can be sown directly into the ground into a shallow drill. Once the seeds have developed, you will need to thin to about 4 inches between plants to get the best from them. Since lettuce does not germinate well at high temperatures, it is best to choose a partly shaded spot and sow seeds in the late afternoon / early evening which allows them to start the germination process over the cool of the night.
Cut and Come Again Lettuce Varieties
Growing a mix of coloured leaves can add quite a bit of colour to a patio, “Red and Green Salad Bowl” is my favourite.