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Succession Planting And The Upcoming Harvest

Hello Again From, My Little Corner Of The Garden

Can it really be mid-August? So hard to believe in a few short weeks will be seeking warmer clothes and cooking comfort foods. (Hopefully from our bountiful gardens)

Let’s talk about succession planting, shall we? Have you ever tried it? The definition for succession planting is the practice to continuously direct sow/plant through Spring-Fall. It’s all about maximizing the amount of food you can grow in our very short Zone 3 growing season and has been around forever with a resurgence of interest the past few years being as more and more people are learning the importance of growing their own produce.

Truthfully, I am just trying it for the first time this year also. Perhaps a little late to the game as our first frost date according to 2022 Farmer’s Almanac, is September 15 (I refuse to believe that!). However, because I am a few weeks late I have planted salad blends, arugula & spinach which will give me a crop just past that date to continue our nightly salads well into October. 

Barring no frost, I also seeded in our greenhouse for an even longer season of produce. TIP: Be sure to plant your greens in a shady spot or under other plants as they like to be kept cool and out of direct sun. Had I been a little more on the ball, I could have also planted peas, carrots, kale or radishes (to name a few cool crop favourites) once our first crop was finished in mid to late July. 

When planting seeds, It’s very important to read the package to determine the number of days the plant requires to grow and harvest. Typically, greens are in the range of 35+ days therefore my salad blends should be ready around mid September. That being said, I have found that mixed salad greens are very fast growers and able to harvest tender leaves much sooner! So here’s to hoping 

Because my beds are raised, I like to use the square foot method of growing as well as intensive planting to yield the most out of a small space. If you plant using this method, you can plant 16 seeds in one square. Simply poke shallow holes 4 across and four rows down to grow the perfect square foot of mixed lettuce. Sprinkle the holes lightly with a compost soil and gently water in using a dose of Plant Vitamins Thrive and you're off to a great start of growth! 

Last week while walking in the garden I could not help but notice my tomatoes were abundant but also not turning red. I learned a tip from a local gardening house that I’d like to share with you in case you are having the same problem. If you live in a more northern climate, being as we have 4 weeks to frost, we don’t necessarily need to continue having our plants grow upwards but instead need our fruit to ripen. Simply clip the tops off and that will stop the plant from wanting to continue to grow up but instead force the energy to ripen the tomatoes. I am here to say this tip works. I clipped the tops and I am almost watching them ripen before my eyes. 

Every year you have triumphs and straight failures. My garden this year is not without failure as my cucumbers are a huge disappointment for sure but the challenges of growing with Mother Nature and learning will bring me back again next year. Now for the best time of the season, it is time for the rewards of all your planning/hard work and commitment you gave all season …HARVEST!

If you are local to Manitoba and are in need of some adventure or some more plants, come stop by The Village at Pineridge hollow as I would love to say hello at our new shop, Flourish. I would love to meet you and talk in person about your garden, harvest or anything else plant related!

- Charlene

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