Not all crops are harvested at the same time; some crops are planted after others have been harvested so best use of the available ground is made. This is illustrated by the planting of a crop of broad beans planted in November to be harvested in June, after which a crop of leeks could then take their place. Those crops which grow quickly such as lettuce, spinach and radish are generally planted between the likes of broccoli which is harvested in March and those crops which must be planted later when the soil warms up around May time.
To make full use of the available space, quick growing crops can be sown at the same time as those who are slow growing such as parsnips and parsley, for these have a very slow germination period.
During the period of growth for crops such as winter lettuces, other seeds such as broad beans can be inserted between them in November. These in turn may be inter-cropped with early potatoes. The beans make a quicker start than the spuds, and growing vertical they will not interfere with the later developing potatoes and can grow along side quite successfully.
Experience will help and guide the gardener to make the best use of the land. Timing is one of the basic skills in successful crop cultivation and one, which will enable the greatest use of land resources.
Seeds should be sown in firm but not hard soil. The beds should be prepared in fine weather when the soil is dry and crumbly. Begin by forking over the bed to a depth of about 3 in.(76mm) breaking up the soil to eliminate solid lumps; then tread the land over to make it firm. Rake the top inch of surface soil backwards and forwards until every particle is fine and the surface is level.
Being too liberal with the amount of seeds scattered when sowing, is probably one of the things that most gardeners are guilty of, especially when they first begin growing plants from seed. Bare in mind the eventual size of the vegetable, the space that it will require to grow and develop properly, and then you will have some idea of the necessity to be prudent. To illustrate this point consider for instance that in just ¼ oz. (7.5gm) of parsley, there are about 4,000 seeds; one seed can grow to 1ft. across so in fact ¼ oz. (7.5gm) of seed could sow a row of plants that would stretch 4,000 ft. long.
Keeping down the weeds is extremely important when growing vegetables; this is more easily achieved when the plants are grown in rows. It allows easy access between the plants when using a hoe, which is probably the best method to dislodge the weeds.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog
http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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