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Succession Planting

August 5, 2010

  This year has been an intensive experiment in keeping up with the seasons and making sure I have the vegetables needed to supply the stand.  This involves a great deal of planning and succession planting.  Unfortunately, I haven’t completely succeeded in keeping the vegetables coming in smoothly.  I have currently run out of lettuce and the green onions are just barely big enough to sell, so I missed a week or so of onions at the stand.  On the other side of the coin, I have had more cucumbers than I have known how to deal with – we have made 7 different kinds of pickles, supplied pickling cucumbers to at least 3 other people, stocked someone else’s stand with cucumbers and the list continues.  I also had way too much cilantro planted and not nearly enough parsley. 

Lessons learned and written down so they will be remembered next year.

On Tuesday, we got the whole crew out back for a massive effort and planted 9 more boxes with green onions, kale, lettuce, spinach, and mustard.  Most of these crops will enjoy the cold weather (if it comes this year) and should be producing for me well into the fall – maybe even wintering over for an early spring crop.

We have begun cleaning out the hoophouse crops that are spent.  Early tomatoes are over and the plants finished.  The pole beans appear to be finished.  The cucumbers are slowing down, producing smaller fruit with less uniformity, so they will soon be pulled out.  The hoophouse okra isn’t real happy anymore – I’m not sure if it has just run its course or if it has issues; I have very little experience with okra.  I guess when the final leaves fall off the plants, that means it’s done and can be pulled out.

On Saturday the 30th, I planted carrots, daikons and leeks in the hoophouse raised beds where the old carrots, leeks, and daikons were in the spring, making sure that the same crop was not planted in the same spot – carrots replaced the radishes, leeks and radishes replaced the carrots.  The carrots and radishes are up already and the leeks are looking healthy. 

Last Thursday, some helpers came and planted more green beans.  Those are up already as well.  There are new lettuce beds coming and beets about 4 inches tall. 

If I had been diligent in the beginning of July with lettuce plantings, I would not be facing a deficit at the moment.  The Swiss chard, spinach and beets had such a hard time germinating and then, if they germinated, growing, so that just now the chard is almost big enough to harvest. 

All this makes for interesting analysis and winter planning so that next year I don’t have the same issues.  There will always be issues, but my poor planning doesn’t have to be one of them.

Ever wonder what happens to all the extra produce?  In addition to making at least seven different kinds of pickles, we have made tomato sauce, super hot salsa, and canned green beans.  Tomorrow our goal is to make tomato soup and pepper relish.  I hope to make some non-super hot salsa, some ketchup and can whole tomatoes before the season is over.

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