Plant in Succession
A number of customers who came for a garden tour this past weekend asked me how we are able to grow fresh baby lettuce all season. The answer is succession planting. If you love fresh lettuce, baby carrots, or beet greens right up to the last frost, here is how to do it.
Let’s take lettuce as an example. Yesterday I bought 18 plugs of lettuce – starter plants. We use Mat #2 for lettuce and other small stuff. Just after planting the plugs, I planted a few seeds in each of the next twelve holes (once the lettuce starts growing I will thin them to one plant per hole). I will wait ten to fourteen days and then plant a few seeds in each of the next twelve holes. I’ll wait another ten to fourteen days and plant another twelve holes. I will do about six plantings like that. And when the first plants get so large they are about to bolt, I pull them out of the soil completely and replant seeds in the same holes. Then when the next twelve plants get too large, I pull them and put new seeds in those holes. I keep this process going every ten to fourteen days as long as Mother Nature will let me.
You can use the same succession method with many vegetables, such as radishes, bush beans (Mat #3) carrots, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, as well as many herbs such as dill, basil and cilantro.
The benefit of succession planting is not everything comes in all at once.