Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Get More from Your Square Foot Garden with Succession Planting

If you have ever tried square foot gardening, you know that you can grow an amazing amount of food for your family in a few raised beds. However, there are a few things you can do to maximize your limited space. Intense Square Foot Gardening is particularly useful if you are living in an area with a short growing season.

ARadish Same Crop Successive Gardening extends the harvest of a type of vegetable. Instead of planting all of my crop at once, as is common in traditional row gardening, I make several successive plantings.  I make 3 smaller plantings of peas, 7 days apart. I plant 10 – 20 radish seeds every week, switching to a milder radish like Cheriette, when the summer heat is known to intensify the flavor of radishes. I start 4 –6 new lettuce and spinach plants every 2 weeks, and pinch leaves from the inside rather than wait to harvest a whole head. In the spring and fall I can grown any variety, once it gets hot I switch to heat tolerant plants like Buttercrunch and Spinach Mustard, then switch back to Romaine and a compact variety spinach in the fall.

ASpinach Planting Different Crops in Succession ensures that you maximize your garden space. After I harvest a crop, I inspect the soil for harmful insects, replenish the soil with compost, and plant a new crop. This works best when you pair a cool weather crop with a longer season heat tolerant crop (e.g. follow broccoli and cauliflower with squash plants). Or follow a long growing crop like potatoes with a cool weather crop like kale or spinach.

Grow Different Varieties of the Same Plant to extend your harvest time.  By planting tomatoes with different maturity dates, I ensure that I have a continuous supply of tomatoes without being completely swamped by plants that all ripen at the same time.

As room is created in my garden, I am adding these cool weather plants: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radishes, Spinach, Lettuces, Kale, Peas, Turnips, Kohlrabi, Curley Spinach, and Swiss Chard.

What are you planting this fall?

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