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.
This will be our third year using the garden mats and I know from experience there will be little weeding to do leaving more time for enjoying our garden.
We now have 3,000 square feet under cover, three gardens in all. And we do not weed more than 4 hours all season once the mats are down. Sweet.
I figure I have saved over 2000 hours of weeding over the last 13 years since I started this business. At $10 an hour, that’s $20,000 in labor saved.
I had a customer a few weeks ago that spent $1000 on mats. When I loaded her car she said she figured she spent 250 hours the previous year weeding. At $10 an hour, she said she just saved $1500 with her purchase.
I believe she knows her math.
I purchased a few of these mats last year and they were fabulous. I have a 50′ x 30′ ft. garden and am having knee replacement surgery in 3 weeks. I purchased several more mats this year so I will not need to weed during my rehab and can access all my plants with a wheelchair. All of my friends have asked me where I got them and are repeat customers as well. If you are not using them, you don’t know what you are missing. Time to enjoy your summer instead of weeding all day in the garden.