Good Life

Over the Garden Fence: Plan vegetable crops for a scattered harvest

One way to maintain a steady supply is to plant early, midseason and late-maturing varieties of your favorite crop such as sweet corn and tomatoes.
One way to maintain a steady supply is to plant early, midseason and late-maturing varieties of your favorite crop such as sweet corn and tomatoes. Photo provided

Successful gardens don’t just happen. They are the result of proper planning and good management throughout the gardening season. It all starts with developing a detailed garden plan.

The time is growing short to make up your plan for this year. If you’re like me, I know that you have been looking over the brightly colored seed catalogs with their wide array of vegetable and flowers and are anticipating enjoying the fresh bounty.

Many vegetables grown in the home gardens often are wasted because too many of one kind mature at the same time, such as summer squash. Often during the summer, you may see a “free” sign by a basket of zucchini squash. It is great to share your excess with your neighbors, but often they have the same overabundance of vegetables. With few exceptions, vegetables remain edible for only a short period of time after they reach maturity, and the quality of a vegetable goes downhill rapidly, especially if it is kept in unfavorable conditions.

One way to avoid having too large a crop at once is to make successive plantings of one’s favorite vegetables. Plant only enough seed of a favorite crop such as salad crops such as lettuce and spinach to provide the quantity you can use up in a short time period. Then after several weeks, replant so that the next crop will mature after the first harvest is almost exhausted.

Another way to maintain a steady supply is to plant early, midseason and late-maturing varieties of your favorite crop such as sweet corn and tomatoes.

Beside maturity dates, take note of the heights to which each variety or crop will grow. Plant the tall-growing varieties or crops in one area and low-growing ones in another area, preferably to the south or east of the taller ones, to avoid shading shorter plants. Most vegetables require about eight hours of full sunlight each day to produce well.

Make sure to also record the names of the varieties that you plant because it is hard for me or your local county extension educator to identify what the name was of that great-tasting red tomato you had in your garden last year. It also helps you to eliminate ones that were not all that good. Also think about recording your observations in a gardening notebook that you will then be able to refer to next winter as you begin to again plan the garden.

To help avoid overproducing vegetables here are some examples of average yields for 100 feet of row of selected vegetable crops, which will help one in planning the garden:

• asparagus: 30 lbs.



• beans: 120 lbs.



• beets: 150 lbs.



• broccoli: 100 lbs .



• cabbage, 150 lbs.



• corn, sweet, 10 dozen



• cucumbers, 120 lbs.



• eggplant, 100 lbs.



• lettuce, leaf 50 lbs.



• muskmelon, 100 fruits



• onions, 100 lbs.



• peas, English, 20 lbs.



• peppers, 60 lbs.



• potatoes, Irish, 100 lbs.



• potatoes, sweet, 100 lbs.



• pumpkins, 100 lbs.



• spinach, 40 to 50 lbs.



• squash, summer, 150 lbs.



• squash, winter, 100 lbs.



• tomatoes, 100 lbs.



• watermelon, 40 fruits



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