SFG Topic: Staggering Your Harvests

I planted my broccoli, celery, and lettuce yesterday. But, I only planted four total pots. Why? That’s what I will briefly talk about today…….I am staggering my plantings to extend my harvest.

Don’t you hate it when your beans all ripen at the same time? It seems you feast on beans for two weeks. And, you likely find some very creative ways to incorporate beans into your leftovers…..gross. And, once you run out of beans, provided you aren’t into canning and freezing, you are done for the year. Or, at the very least, until the next plants harvest several weeks down the road. Then, the vicious cycle starts all over again, doesn’t it? Now that we are no longer gardening in traditional rows where we plant everything at once, we can control our harvests and make things much more efficient going forward.

Square Foot Gardening gets us away from that old-fashioned “row mentality.” We plant in squares now. We plant what we need and what we use only….no waste. Instead of spacing things 4 inches apart in a straight line, we now space them 4 inches apart in a square….allowing us to get more plants in the same area. My lettuce is a perfect example.

My family really uses lettuce. I would need a couple of rows about 10 feet long to feed my family what it eats. And, we would go nuts trying to eat all that lettuce once it’s ready to harvest. However, with SFG, I can now plant 4 lettuce plants in one square foot of garden space…..wait a week, and plant another square……in a week, plant another square…..and on and on. Now, that gives one plant per household member per square. When the lettuce is ready, I come outside and clip the lettuce leaves off of the square I am harvesting, go back inside, make the salads, and I am done…..the other plants are not ready yet. However, next week, I will have another exact same square to harvest while the first one is recharging. See the simplicity?

I do the same thing with carrots, radishes, spinach, broccoli, peas, etc. Anything you grow, you can stagger by spacing your plantings out a week or two. Then, you avoid the rush of everything maturing at the same time. You avoid waste. You avoid the stress, workload, and panic.

I will show pictures as this gets moving. But, for now, just rest assured, my first wave is in and sprouting as we speak. Broccoli, celery, and two lettuce plants will be rearing their pretty little heads in about a week. Then, it will be time to plant wave number two. In about 7 weeks, I will have lettuce again (I am growing my lettuce plants inside this winter.) And, in about 3 months, I will have waves of broccoli and celery coming into my kitchen…..for pennies on the dollar.

So, next time you are running through your grocery store and complaining of increasing prices, just think of starting your own garden….Square Foot Style…..and staggering your harvest to keep you out of that produce isle.

Keep Chuggin’!

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