Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Succession Planning: Getting the Most Out of the Garden Spot

Last weekend was dedicated to cleaning up the garden a bit and replanting more crops. This year I am trying to keep every spot growing. Once something is pulled from the garden, compost is added to the spot and something else is transplanted or seeded.

The lettuce had bolted and the Swiss chard had overgrown its area and has only been serving to feed the slugs:

Two Swiss chard plants remain and some of the unblemished Swiss chard was harvested. The rest was composted along with the bolted lettuce. New Lettuce and Swiss chard transplants will be planted into the squares where these were pulled. I am just waiting for the seedlings to get a little stronger before hardening them off.

I am growing a couple zucchini plant in a pot this year because I ran out of garden space. They don't look very happy:

I have been harvesting the new potatoes little by little along the edge of the potato patch. Some summer squash and zucchini seedlings will be transplanted to the area of the garden where the new potatoes have been harvested:

 The largest replanting this weekend was the Sugar Snax Carrots which were planted in the 4x4 SFG that the garlic was harvested from last week.

Several weeks ago, while it was too hot to work in the garden, I made carrot seed mats (Granny’s Seed Mat Tutorial at Annie’s Kitchen Garden). These were planted last weekend:

First a generous amount of fresh compost was added to the old garlic bed and mixed in along with a few scoops of Garden Tone fertilizer:

The SFG is 6-inches high but according to the package, Sugar Snax Carrots can grow 10-inches long. I loosened the soil beneath the bed with a garden fork by sinking the tines to the hilt in the soil and wiggling the fork back and forth. The objective is not to mix the native soil in with the SFG soil, just to loosen the soil below so the roots can penetrate easily:

Some of the soil was removed and mixed with vermiculite to cover the carrot seed mats:

 The carrot seed mats were laid out and sprinkled with some soil to hold in place:

 Then covered lightly:

 And watered generously:

There are still maybe 70+ days left to our growing season before the danger of frost threatens and I am going to try to make the most of it. I don’t think I want to try winter gardening just yet, but I will be using frost protection on two 4x4 SFGs in attempt to extend the growing season.

I also plan on overwintering some crops such as scallions, spinach, carrots, and maybe others. In the mean time, seedlings are also being started in soil blocks for herbs such as dill, basil, cilantro, and some cool weather crops that will go in the garden as the summer crops finish up: Spinach, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, and Broccoli. This is much easier to control for me this year since I am growing my own seedlings instead of purchasing transplants.


  1. I love the carrot mat idea! I'll have to try it.

  2. How big is the container with zucchini? I bet a single plant would work pretty good in it...

  3. I just planted up some carrot mats too! Such a good way to plant them.

  4. Good work with the succession planting! It's amazing how productive the garden can be when we use simple tricks like succession planting, season extension, and vertical growing.

    Isn't it nice to grow your own starts? Nurserys just do not get the timing of fall planted crops right (for the most part) because they always put out the fall veggie transplants too late and the selection is so limited (if available at all).

  5. meemsnyc: I used the seed mats for carrots and lettuce this year with great success.

    EG: I'm not sure how big the pot is. It's larger than a 5 gallon bucket. I don't think the potting mix is very good. These plants have done poorly from the beginning.

    Dan: It was nice to make the seed mats ahead of time too. Planting was so quick.

    Laura: I love growing my own seeds. I have so much more control. I am looking forward to experimenting to see what grows well in fall.

  6. I haven't been as good about filling in my emptied beds. That will all change during the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, I will get around to seeding my winter carrot bed this weekend.