Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation

Keep on Planting!

by Susan Littlefield

By now, your spring planting is beginning to pay off in the vegetable garden. Tomatoes, corn, beans, lettuce and lots of other garden goodies are gracing the table or plants are getting ready to bear. But don't think that all that's left to do is weed, water, and harvest. There's still plenty of time to do some more planting to carry the garden bounty on into the late summer and fall.

Sowing in Succession

You'll get the most out of your garden harvest if you practice a technique called succession planting. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can make small, staggered seed sowings every few weeks for crops like lettuce and bush beans that mature quickly. This gives you a continuous harvest as long as the weather is suitable. It also prevents the common dilemma of having too much of a ripe crop at one time, then none at all a little while later.

Succession planting is also a great way to use your garden space most efficiently by growing more than one crop in the same soil over the course of the season. You might follow a fast-maturing spring crop like radishes or spinach with one that prefers the heat of summer, such as summer squash, eggplant, or okra. If your growing season is long enough, you can even follow a summer crop with a fall one, such as lettuce, arugula, or other salad greens that thrive in the cooler autumn weather.

So keep your seed packets at the ready. Grow a super-productive garden by continuing to plant -- and harvest -- throughout the summer!

Here are some of our vegetables varieties that are great candidates for succession planting.

'Contender' Bush Bean (49 days) —The 6-7 inch, slim, stringless, tender pods of this highly productive variety mature quickly, making it a great choice for succession planting.

'Green Long' (Indian Sub-Continent) Cucumber (35-45 days) —The 9 1/2 inch long fruits of this fast-maturing variety have green, spiny skins.

'Crookneck Yellow' Summer Squash (42 days) —This improved strain of an old favorite is a prolific bearer.

'Vates' Collards (75 days) —The large, dark green leaves have a mild, cabbage-like flavor.

'Nobel Giant' Spinach (43-46 days) —Spreading, vigorous plants have huge, smooth, triangular, dark green leaves.

'Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch' Kale (55-60 days) —12-15 inch tall plants have tightly curled, blue-green leaves.

'Blues' (Oriental Hybrid) Chinese Cabbage (57 days) —This bright green, barrel-shaped, blocky cabbage has good disease resistance.

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