Lots of vegetable plants that we grow produce edible ‘fruits’ such as tomatoes, courgettes, chillis and beans. As long as these are picked frequently, they will continue to produce more fruits. The best way to do this is to inspect plants often and collect the fruits as soon as they are ready.
Consider harvesting courgettes and beans when they are younger, they will be more tender and taste sweeter. The plant will then put energy into producing more fruits rather than continuing to mature existing ones.
Plants that produce edible leaves can often be grown as 'cut and come again' crops, such as lettuce and other salad leaves, spinach and many herbs like basil and coriander. Cutting regularly may prevent these plants from bolting and setting seed, as they are prone to do. Bolting is the term applied to vegetable crops when they prematurely run to seed, usually making them unusable.
Chard and Kale can be harvested in the same way, removing leaves when needed. If sown directly into drills outside, remember that any thinnings can be eaten too.
Some root vegetables such as carrots, beetroot and turnip produce edible green top growth. This can be removed when desired, but remember to leave enough leaves to feed the root. Purple sprouting broccoli with its edible flowers will continue producing when harvested, just remember to look after the plants and recover with netting if necessary.
Continue to water and feed your plants even though they are already producing harvestable produce. Plants like tomatoes and beans require lots of water and nutrients. This will increase the quality and yield. Make sure that moisture levels remain reasonably constant to prevent splitting and blossom end rot.
Refirm soil around plants that have been disturbed or affected by winds. Consider applying a mulch around the base of your plants to help to keep roots cool, retain moisture and add nutrients too. You could use straw, grass clippings or garden compost.