Keeping fresh garden produce coming
Even after gardening for years in this location, I still struggle to keep as much of the garden beds as possible in full production through the growing season.
It always seems to take longer than I expect (and hope) to get things growing in the spring. This year I chitted (pre-sprouted) some of the seeds before planting them so that they would not sit out in the cold waiting for warmer weather. Other plants I started growing under lights indoors and transplanted out as soon as the soil could be worked.
The chitted seeds and transplants survived, but they still didn't put on any meaningful growth until things warmed up.
Then summer comes before the cool weather crops are fully ready for harvest. This is especially true with peas. Fortunately my peas produced well this year despite the summer heat. I'm still getting a few peas with daily highs over 80 degrees.
Now that we're in late July, I've pulled up most of the spring plants that have bolted. Spinach, mustard, and other leafy green crops have either been composted or left to go to seed. But the plants left to bolt are taking forever to produce seeds, so they are tying up my limited garden space. This limits my ability to start putting the fall cool-weather seeds out.
Then in late fall, I try to stretch things as long as possible with cold frames, row covers, and frost-tolerant crops. But you can never push things as long as you want.
No matter what I do, it's hard to have fresh food coming from a Zone 4 garden for more than about 4 months a year.
Nikki Jabbour's great book _Year Round Vegetable Gardener_ really opened my eyes to what is possible, and I've been trying to use her methods for several years now. But it remains difficult.
How have other gardeners on TGN handled the succession struggle?