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Short Season Gardening

The August/September 2010 issue of Organic Gardening has a nice little article about short season planting called "Plan for Fall Veggies" on page 76. I have to admit I am a bit torn in regards to this periodical in general. Some of the material it prints is really worth reading while other articles are debatable as to whether or not they are even an organic approach to begin with. I was given a free years worth of the magazine by a close friend who also enjoys digging in the dirt so I really can't complain but I figured I should give you folks the heads up if you were considering paying for it.

When I was planning the garden this past winter I had decided that I was going to plant the golden sweet pea in the spring and then another variety of pea late in the summer. At the time I was not really attempting to double up on my space and yield, I simply did not want the two heirlooms to cross-pollinate. But as the year began to move along I saw the benefits associated with using the holes left by early harvest and I decided to make an effort to plan a short season harvest.

As I have mentioned before planting peas can be beneficial because they replace nitrogen in the soil, in other words they are great green manure. Another benefit is that they do well in cooler temps so when the chilly mornings of fall begin to roll around you do not have to worry about your crops. I also replaced some of the beat up lettuce plants as well in the raised bed with fresh seeds. The article in the magazine makes some good suggestions for those of you looking to take advantage of this practice. To begin with if you get hold of your local cooperative extension they can give you a good idea of your first frost date. I planted my fall crops yesterday and to tell you the truth I almost feel like I could have waited another two weeks but time will tell.

For those of you considering a fall garden it is worth keeping these veggies in mind. Radishes (30 to 60 days), cabbage (if you can find some transplants in your local farmers market), and basil (30 to 60 days). Sticking with the idea of transplants for a moment if you can find broccoli or Brussels sprouts as well they are worth planting because, once again, they can withstand cooler temperatures. Another veggie worth looking at is kale, I have read articles that claimed people went out to their gardens in the middle of winter and dug under the snow to get at their kale, pretty hardy stuff.

We may actually get three plantings out of garden this year. When fall rolls around (not too soon hopefully) I am going to empty out the raised bed and put garlic in it for next year.

So as you can see with the proper planning a small patch of land can yield multiple harvest.


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