Succession in the Greenhouse
t’s still spring outside at my house. Shame on me for venturing into the garden to get a photo of sprouting carrots for a blog post! The soil is too wet for foot traffic even. So weeds are getting a jump on us, and planting is going slow in the outside gardens. Summer comes and goes with two hot days, and now four days of rain or so in the forecast. So it goes in the third straight cold, wet spring in a row – I am planting summer crops and winter crops at the same time. It was barely dry enough to put in the next round of brassicas last night, but with flats of seedlings begging for a change, rain storms looming, and a low supply of kraut, I planted until the no-seeums got to me at dusk. Good thing too, planting before a rain is always a good for transplants and seeds alike.
I always try to stay on my every-other-week seeding schedule, so I have something to plant if some space frees up. The first beds planted in greens in April got a little weedy, I planted them densely and didn’t weed too diligently knowing I could catch up once the plants started to bolt and could just renew the bed.
Once I do the initial tilling in the spring with the tractor, the rest is handwork. My favorite tool is a hoe. A razor-sharp nursery or beet hoe to be exact. Sharpened on three sides, you can sidle up to the vegetables and slice weeds like nobody’s business. If you think hoeing is hard work, you are doing something wrong, either the wrong tool, too short of handle, compacted soil or your technique needs some honing.
A lot of our gardening is done with simple hand tools, and a wheelbarrow. Especially in the greenhouse where I have literally planted myself into many corners employing succession planting. These beds held bok choy, lettuce and turnips, but were planted partially with kale, chard and kohlrabi which will yield food over a much longer time period. Actually the kale and chard will overwinter and stay in place until next year providing greens for us and the laying hens for quite sometime.
Simple and elegant succession planting:
♥ Pull bolting veggies and deliver to laying hens.
♥ Weed bed – grassy weeds to the burn pile, succulent weeds to the hens or compost pile.
♥ Fill empty wheelbarrow with composted stable manure.
♥ Add compost and other amendments if needed, rake smooth and plant.
♥ Repeat over and over and reap the rewards.
Having systems in place allow your garden to work like a well oiled machine. You need to have seedlings or seeds waiting in the wings, and you need to be accumulating your livestock (urban too) manure in a way that is beneficial for your gardenstead.