We survived the recent scorching weeks in Seattle – anyone else feel like all they have been doing in the garden is watering? Hopefully that sunshine has ripened some tomatoes and produced a peck of peppers for picking!
The sunny days most likely meant the end of some lettuce and pea plants as they are not fans of that kind of weather. But guess what? This is a great time to succession plant a few crops for fall harvest!
Succession planting involves planting a new crop in the same space after harvesting the first crop. This is done to put limited garden space to its most efficient use. With this method, you never need to have an unplanted area in your veggie plot. As soon as one crop is harvested, the space is immediately replanted. You can replant the same veggie (for some types of plants) or choose a new one!
As the days get shorter and sunlight wanes you want to be thoughtful about which plants to put in the garden now. Here a few tips for a last hurrah for this season! Planting now extends the growing season – not quite to “year-round gardening” but plants you start now will get your harvest started much earlier next season, in March or April, when you would typically just be getting started planting.
Things to consider planting in the garden now:
- Peas – put them in now and they are quick to sprout in this warm soil; choose a bush varietal with the shortest days to harvest you can find for a fall harvest
- Lettuce – if you see a few starts on sale at the nursey, pick them up and tuck them in the soil! They will get established in this nice weather and be ready for small harvests in a few weeks; Leave them in the ground over the winter (they will look pretty sad) and when the sun starts shining you will have the earliest lettuce harvest in the neighborhood!
- Cilantro – everyone says they cannot grow cilantro because “it bolts” – that is just the growing style of this controversial herb (soap or no soap?). Seeding now will provide you with batch of leafy seasoning until we get an extended heavy frost.
- Brassicas – consider putting in some starts of broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbages now; they will need frequent watering to get established but they are cold hearty and should overwinter and produce for you early in the spring; using this growing cycle also cuts down on pests
- Fava Beans – are another great crop for overwintering – plant a few rows of beans over the next few weeks. They will get a few inches tall before the cold sets in and sit happily in the garden until early spring when they will take off! These plants can grow up to 5 feet tall so plan for support of the stalks and await your bumper crop harvest in June!
Enjoy the final days of summer and keep the garden season growing just a little longer. A little preparation and planning will make your early spring vegetable harvests abundant! And if you are new to vegetable gardening but always wanted to give it a try – buy some garlic seed and plant it before Halloween. This “set it and forget it” crop will provide you will a head of garlic for each clove planting next season around the Fourth of July – just about when we are back to our constant watering tasks again….
Such is the nature of the seasons.