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Getting Better with Time

March 20th, 2017

When it comes to edible gardening, one area I always felt like I struggled a bit was succession planting. ¬†Sometimes I simply forgot to sow the additional seeds, other times my various sowings matured at the same time. Over the past few years, I noticed that it’s starting to become second nature to me and I’ve figured out a few things to make it work for me.

One of the things I learned was that it’s not always a good idea to start something “every two weeks” as the gardening books tell you. If the soil and the temperature is cooler, things grow more slowly and sometimes the later planting will catch up to the early one. Starting additional planting in flats indoors also makes them grow more quickly than those planted outside. If your first planting is just being planted in the garden, transplant shock and cooler temperatures can slow growth rate allowing the indoor seedlings catch up.

Perhaps this is only something that affect us northern gardeners, but after a few years I find that a three or four week schedule is often better than the two weeks most normally recommended. It also makes it easier to manage because I’m not doing it as often. It’s nice to be able to have fresh lettuce throughout spring/summer/fall, which is the main reason I have been trying to improve my success in this area.

Do you plant in succession to have a longer growing season? Do you have any great tips to share? Is this an area you struggle? 

Succession Planting

June 3rd, 2016

This year I’m working on improving my succession planting success. I.E., I’m actually doing it. I’ve always struggled with remembering to seed plants every few weeks, mostly I forget as I’m out working in the garden. This year I’m already on my fourth flat of lettuce, my third batch of bulbing fennel, my second planting of cilantro, and there are more.
seeding more 2
Yesterday I spent time seeding more flats of flowers and vegetables, most of them were a succession planting, some were heat loving varieties that are being seeded for the first time.
seeding more 1
seeding more 3
As I was looking through my seeds, I realized that I should organize the things that need seeded multiple times into their own box. Possibly even organized into folders depending on how often they need seeded. As I work I’ve been mulling over a workflow that will help make succession planting easier for me to do.

Do you succession plant? Do you have any tips/tricks for organization?

Second Flush

September 3rd, 2015

Around the beginning or middle of July, I often seed a second flush of peas, beans, and zucchini. These plants often exhaust themselves and don’t fruit for a long period of time. I really like them, so I find planting a second batch gives me a long season. It also allows me to easily pull out the exhausted plants to replace them with fall crops when they begin to languish.
Second Flush Garden 1
The great thing about a second planting is that the seeds germinate quickly and the plants grow like gangbusters with the heat and long days. I’m always amazed at how quickly they grow and fruit. Zucchini that I seed in May often takes 6-8 weeks to start fruiting. This zucchini started fruiting only four weeks after being seeded.
Second Flush Garden 2
Second Flush Garden 3
Second Flush Garden 4
Succession planting is something that I’m getting better and better at the longer I garden. It really is amazing how much you can grow in a small space when you do it. I find that it also makes it much easier for me to pull up exhausted veggies that I used to let hang on in the garden even with meager harvest (broccoli offshoots ring a bell?). These aren’t the only vegetables I plant in succession, I have lettuce, broccoli, fennel, carrots, beets, and a few others that were seeded throughout the summer as space became available in the garden.

Are you in the habit of planting in succession to lengthen the harvest and maximize your garden space?

Finished, at least for a Week or Two

June 2nd, 2015

This past weekend I finally finished planting all of my first flush of plants. The last of the tomatoes and peppers went into the ground so they could get soaked in but the few days of rain that was forecasted.
planting peppers
This doesn’t mean I’m finished, it’s now time to start seeding heat tolerant lettuces, radishes, peas, fall brassicas, and so much more. Work is never really finished in the garden, especially when you’re trying to maximize space and harvests while minimize canning and preserving work. I’ve been working really hard to get the timing right for fall/winter crops, each year I learn a little more. I must admit, it’s difficult to think about planting/seeding new things when you feel like you just finished planting the heat loving crops.

What are you planting this week and what things do you have planned for fall harvests?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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