Monday, May 21, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter: Notes on Succession Planting and Intercropping Part I

I love gardening in a big way.

But sometimes, when describing my vegetable plot, I will add apologetically, "But it's just a small garden," as if that has anything to do with the quality of veg it produces. In fact, even a teensy plot, when planned right, can give rise to a massive volume of vegetables.

Sometimes I experiment with edible plants I can intermingle with my flower beds and not have them be devoured by rabbits.  But this week's series is about maximizing your vegetable garden plot itself, by use of succession planting and intercropping.

I write this post now, while my garden has only teensy whisps of green in it, and therefore I forfeit any opportunity for including pictures of my own.  However, it's Victoria Day - the eve of the official growing season, and as I found these clever tips and ideas, I kept smacking my forehead and exclaiming, "Why didn't I think of that!?"

The term, succession planting, has several meanings.  Here's the one I use:

Meaning #1: Planting the same vegetable, in batches, staggering the planting by 2 or 4 weeks to spread out the harvest.  This is often done with crops that provide a high yield all at once and then peters off. This is a technique I use with beans and peas (when I can find the self-discipline not to just throw all my seeds in the ground as soon as the snow melts).

An example of this could be planting half your peas on one side of the trellis and then three weeks later, planting the other half of your peas on the other side of the trellis.  Or it could mean planting half a row of lettuce and half a row of spinach, and then three weeks later, planting a second row containing half lettuce and half spinach.

I'll share some other succession planting options tomorrow! 

~Miss Greenish Thumb~

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