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Simple Ways to Extend the Autumn Harvest
by NGB - Niki Jabbour
August 23, 2020

Just because summer comes to a close doesn’t mean the homegrown harvest has to end.

Written by Niki Jabbour

Savvy Gardening

In my large vegetable garden, I plant new seeds and seedlings from mid-summer through early fall so that we have plenty of vegetables to harvest in autumn and even winter. And I live in Canada!

Below I outline some of my summer succession planting techniques as well as favorite crops to grow. l also share some of the season extenders that protect my crops when the temperature drops.

Cleaning out spent crops:

Before I can sow more seeds or plant more seedlings in mid to late summer I need to clean out spent vegetables. It can be tricky to tell when it’s time to pull out a crop. Sometimes vegetables, like peas or beans, keep producing a few pods here and there and you may hesitate to pull them out. My motto is to remove vegetable plants as soon as production declines.

Amending the soil between successive crops:

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Feed the soil, not the plant,” and this is super important when succession planting.

The soil must be healthy and fertile in order to grow a bumper crop of vegetables. I amend my beds with an inch of compost or aged manure between plantings. I also apply slow-release organic vegetable fertilizer (read the fertilizer package for application rates).

If you’re not sure of your soil fertility, get it tested.

You don’t want to apply unnecessary amendments and fertilizers. It’s a good idea to get a soil test every three to four years so you have an overview of your soil’s health.

When to plant:

Some crops, like radishes, arugula, and leaf lettuce are quick growing and ready to harvest just a month from sowing.

Others, like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beets, and kohlrabi need more time and have to be planted earlier in the season.

So how do you know when to plant?

Read your seed packet for ‘days to maturity’ information. That tells you how much time a crop needs to go from seed to harvest. I like to build in an extra week because plant growth slows in autumn when the day-length is shrinking. Then count backward from your average first frost date and you’ll know when to plant.

For example, Katarina cabbage takes 55 days to go from seed to harvest. If your first frost date is October 1st, count backyards 55 days plus one week (for the slower fall growth). You should sow seeds on July 31st. Konan kohlrabi takes 50 days to go from seed to harvest. Sow seeds on August 5th.

Season extenders:

I’ve been relying on season extenders like cold frames, mini hoop tunnels, and a polytunnel for years.

These devices allow me to stretch my season and enjoy a crop of homegrown vegetables all winter long.

full article here...

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