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October 28, 2017 3:21 am

Vegetable Gardens Fun for the Whole Family

Saturday, July 18, 2015 @ 3:45 AM

In our home garden we are able to enjoy fresh vegetables throughout the summer. This takes some planning to ensure a continuous harvest.

Though not a new technique, ‘Succession Planting’, (which is the process of planting small sections of vegetables at alternating times to provide a constant supply of fresh vegetables), is quickly becoming popular. Rather than having a whole row of lettuce ready to harvest at once, it gives you small batches every week, leading to more fresh vegetables and less waste.

The easiest way to start succession planting is to divide the garden or row into sections and plant or seed your varieties every 7-10 days. This will also work for container gardens, as the container is visually divided into sections and alternate your plantings in each section. Other options would be to plant different varieties with different maturity times, (early, mid-season and late) at the same time, and then harvest as they mature. If space is limited, to get the most out of your space, plant a second crop in the same space, after the first crop has been harvested. This works best with early fast growing crops such as radishes, spinach or leaf lettuce. When these are harvested, plant another crop of the fast growing vegetables such as spinach, radishes and lettuce.

Among  the best candidates for succession planting are lettuce and salad greens. There are so many different varieties of lettuce that you can create both a great mix and a steady supply. Varieties such as Buttercrunch, Romaine, and Leaf Lettuce are some of the favourites. These varieties offer great flavour and produce well, all season long. Lettuce enjoys a fertile soil and fertilizing with 8-20-20, 6-8-6 or bone/blood meal gives it a good boost. In order to maintain a steady supply throughout the summer it is important to harvest lettuce properly. Pick lettuce as soon as it is big enough to use: on loose-headed varieties, the outer leaves can be picked and the inner leaves allowed to keep growing, loose leaf varieties will grow back after cutting. A good storage tip is to put a slightly wet paper towel into a sealed plastic bag with the lettuce to keep it form turning brown. Other vegetables that can be used in succession planting include, radishes, spinach, baby carrots, and beet greens.

In our climate one of the biggest challenges we face is a short growing season, but we can easily offset this with a frost blanket. Using a frost blanket can extend the growing season for your vegetables giving them more time to produce and ripen. You can start your vegetables off earlier as your frost blanket will protect the tender young shoots from drops in overnight temperatures, and mature plants will be given more time to grow, often as late as October 1st.

There is still time to plant some short season crops and enjoy a home grown fresh salad! Seeds are still available at the garden centre!


Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and garden Centres in Prince George

  • Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road


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