Continuous Cropping

It is not uncommon at this time of year to see me skulking around the garden clutching a tin tightly to my chest, my eyes lamp-like, shining.  My tin is full of precious things, and like Gollum with The Ring (Goo with the tin?) I am possessed by the power and energy contained within!

My tin is full of my seeds of course, they are nature’s energy stores bursting with potential power.  I’m afraid I know no restraint when it comes to sowing seed, I am a slave to the power of the tin! This lack of restraint, however, does not always make for good crop management.  I end up with gluts and sparse weeks that could be avoided if I was a little more sensible with the sowing.  This year I am determined to do a little better when it comes to successional sowing, especially where fast growing crops like salads are concerned.

I have decided to use this very long thin bed for the salad crops this year.  It is probably the bed that gets the most shade and so is well suited to many salads and if we get a hot summer will deter lettuces from bolting.  It only measures three feet across, so I am restricted to very short rows!  So far you can see I have been very good and the bed has not even been half sown yet.  I’ve been sowing two rows at a time (different types of salad) at roughly ten day intervals.  The idea is that by the time I reach the end of the bed, the crops I sowed first of all at the other end can be lifted and I can start all over again.

There are some flaws in my cunning plan however!  I’m growing different crops and different varieties and some of them regardless of when they were sown will reach maturity earlier than others.  I think also the conditions in which they were sown will have a bearing on how long each row takes to reach maturity.  The earliest sowings of mizuna suffered some slug damage but the dastardly gastropods haven’t nibbled on later sowings.  I’m assuming this is because the various slug predators in our garden have now geared up into action.  I’m always pleased when I spot families of little shrews tumbling out of the dry stone walls.

So even now I realise I’m not going to quite manage a Mexican wave of lettuces!  Nevertheless I shall be very pleased with myself if I manage a continuous supply of healthy salad leaves well into Autumn.  I’ve been eating thinnings in the garden as I work along the rows but this weekend we celebrated our first real bowl of salad.  Now this makes me as contented and as happy as a Hobbit in his hole!



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4 comments to Continuous Cropping

  • Oh, the mere thought of a Mexican wave of lettuces! Never tried to grow them for fear of the huge gastropod army our garden is menaced by, but perhaps we should give it a go… our rocket seems to be doing ok. It looked so spindly and vulnerable yet every plant has thrived! I think we are a bit too tentative in our garden.

  • goo

    It’s always worth giving it a go, what’s the worst that could happen? If you try different varieties you may find that while gastropods might not be able to resist some they’ll leave the others alone. Mizuna might well be a good decoy crop!

  • Oh well done Goo. I do admire you. You’re a true inspiration for me and my garden plan.

    The salad looks lovely.

  • goo

    Thanks Earthpal. Hope your garden is coming on nicely. The salad tastes lovely too! :-)

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