By Helen Halpenny, Lanark Master Gardeners
Now that the early vegetables are being harvested it is time to plant again. Lettuce, radish and spinach have probably bolted in the extreme heat in recent weeks. Green onions are developing their bulbs and are no longer mild tasting.
So, plant again. Call it succession planting or second cropping. It extends the harvesting and you get fresh, tender veggies. Every three weeks plant a few dozen onion sets to have a continuous supply of green onions. Lettuce and spinach, being cool season lovers, can be successful if planted in the shade of taller plants, such as staked tomatoes or corn. Make sure the soil is damp and cover the area with a board so germination can take place. Lift it as soon as you see sprouts. Green and yellow beans, planted at three week intervals during the summer, will give a supply of tender beans and if you leave some to mature and dry on the plant you can use them as dried beans in winter or save for next year’s seed.
There are four types of peas. Snow peas are harvested when the pods form with immature peas inside and the pod is still flat. The whole pod is eaten. Sugar snap peas are also eaten whole when the peas plump the pods. Green peas, such as green arrow, are shelled. It is interesting to know that green peas were considered poisonous for many years.
Lastly, dried peas, left to mature and dry on the vine are great in soups. Peas do best when given support to climb on. A double row with fencing in between will yield well. Mulching to keep the roots cool is beneficial. Peas can also be replanted for later harvests.
Second plantings of zucchini, kohlrabi and Bok Choi will extend your harvest. Even carrots and beets planted now will produce sweet, crisp crops before frost. Corn, another favourite vegetable, can be enjoyed for many weeks by planting seeds every couple of weeks. My main potato patch is now in bloom and I’m happy to say I have not seen any Colorado potato beetles yet. I plant in a different location each year and since no nearby neighbours grow potatoes the bugs have not found my garden. I love little golf ball-sized potatoes fresh from the soil so I am planting a few more to enjoy in the fall.
So, a gardener’s work is never done. The dry weather makes things very challenging but I marvel at how resilient plants are.
Enjoy The Edible Garden Newsletter published monthly by Lanark County Master Gardeners and available on our website www.lanarkmg.blogspot.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @lanarkmg.