Mark Cullen on growing summer vegetables in succession
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:08AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 8:42AM EDT
As you reflect on the heat of summer -- two months of sheer bliss or torture, depending on your situation and how you look at it -- contemplate this: there is no better time of year to plant beans. Many of the crops that we sowed from seed weeks ago will produce another crop before the autumn freeze if you sow them now.
Beans are not all. In most regions of Canada you can also sow peas, carrots, beets and certainly radishes (which mature in a mere 45 days of summer weather). You can also grow leaf lettuce, which is ready as soon as it is up. You could say it is ready when you are ready, providing you get to harvesting before the plant bolts to seed and becomes bitter to taste.
As for the crops that you have in the ground that will produce in the next few weeks, keep these rules of thumb in mind:
- Tomatoes bear twice as heavily when supported with a 7 foot tall sturdy stake.
- Tomatoes need to be sprayed with Bordo mixture to prevent early and late blight, during the month of July. It’s safe to use, or I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Peas need support also. “Pea netting” generally works well.
- Thin carrots to 2 inches or 5 cm apart. This hurts, I know. But you will be glad that you did.
- Mulch moisture loving plants, especially if you are planning on being away this summer. Tomatoes and peppers benefit from a 15 to 20 cm. layer of straw.
- Mulch your strawberries -- thus the name. They did this 200 years ago, believe it or not.
Have fun! And stay healthy.