Succession planting in a Michigan fall garden

GardenersI’m having a really good year for succession planting. I’ve never done so much of it, nor has the timing ever worked out so well! Here are a few things I’ve been doing:

  • Green beans. On April 24, I planted Contender bush beans. I had to protect them from a couple frosts, but they rewarded me with nice harvests starting the third week in June. On May 25th, I planted Fortex pole beans and EZ-Pick bush beans. The EZ-Picks started to bear about July 21, and the Fortex started a week after that. (The Fortex never looked very happy; I think they might make a better fall crop bean.) I just pulled the Fortex and EZ-Pick a couple days ago, and lo an behold – the Contenders are bearing again! They are my favorite beans this year, and I’m especially proud because these are first- and second-generation seeds that I’ve saved.
  • Peas. The greenhouse peas finished up just as the outdoor peas were starting to bear (third week of June – saved seed from the very tall Sugar Ann variety). When the outdoor peas wound down, I pulled those and replanted a shorter variety (Dwarf Gray). We’ve been about 6 weeks without peas, but I think we should start getting a fall crop in the next 2 weeks.
  • Potatoes. I harvested potatoes August 11 and August 23 (still have 1/3 of the crop to go). In one of those spots, I’ve put a late crop of Purple Top turnips (for greens) and the other a cover crop of buckwheat.
  • Cucumbers. I’ll pull these vines out later this week. They look like they’re setting up for another run, but man, after nearly 20 pounds of cucumbers, we’re done. Out they come. I will plant the whole 3×6 bed with chard and beets. Hopefully, I’ll get a nice run of chard to take to Food Gatherers and maybe some tiny beets for Thanksgiving dinner (but I might be too late on that).

I’ve also been very good and gotten my fall crop of kale in on July 21. This crop will go into the greenhouse, and I’ll try protecting some of the huge swath of kale that’s currently outdoors, too. I might finally have enough kale to not need to steal from children and the elderly* last past December.

It was so nice looking around the garden tonight. I’m really pleased with what I’ve done. I’m especially pleased that my “scaling-up” experiment has worked so well. The extra 1000 sf of garden I added this year has been very much plant-and-forget-it: potatoes, squash, rye, corn. I haven’t even watered any of it, because the rain gods have been so kind and the mulch so deep. Squash beetles are getting into the vines, but I’m hoping the Delicatas will ripen enough so it’s not a worry…but it’s really not been all that much work. And I dropped off 40 more pounds of food at Food Gatherers today and have several pounds of spuds in the “root cellar.”

I like gardening. 🙂

* It was an untended community garden plot, in November, and that kale was just going to waste, and obviously no one was going to pick it, and it was just once, ok?
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1 Comment

  1. Heather said,

    August 26, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I’m so proud of your work and harvests! I don’t comment as much as I need to, but I’ve been “watching” you and your success makes me SMILE. Good for you, lady!


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