Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Succession Planting

~ June 27, 2012

As we move towards the end of June, there are still some planting tasks that can be undertaken in the vegetable garden. In order to keep the delicious fresh fruits and vegetables coming throughout the summer, you can employ 'succession planting.' There are two main ways to do this depending on the crop.

First, if you have planted something with a short harvest time (like radishes - about 45 days), you can plant something completely different in its place once you have harvested. I've harvested my first radish crop and a few heads of lettuce. In their place, I've planted a crop of green and yellow beans.

Second, you can plant a few of the same thing every week for three or four weeks. Onions and carrots are great for this. I started my onions at one end of the row way back in April and every week I planted a few more. Last week I pulled my first few green onions and I will continue to get a few every week until the end of summer.

There are many benefits to succession planting beyond the obvious benefit to you when you can harvest fresh veggies all summer long. Think, for example, about the soil. Vegetables take a lot of nutrients from it in order to grow - but not every vegetable needs these nutrients in the same ratios. Since radishes require minimal nutrients, the beans sown in their place will have adequate amounts left. As well, the soil will be turned when the second crop is planted allowing oxygen and nutrients to mix through the soil. Finally, if you have a smaller vegetable garden, succession planting allows you to enjoy a variety of fresh vegetables (if you're replanting with a new type of veggie).

So next time you're out in the vegetable garden, think about succession planting. Simply keep in mind harvest times so the cold winter months don't swoop in before you can pick your crop.