Tags: ways | maximize | garden | harvest

6 Ways to Maximize Your Garden Harvest

By Brande Plotnick   |   Friday, 19 May 2017 11:30 AM

Gardening is an enjoyable hobby, but it is also a wonderful way to reduce your dependence on store-bought food, which is often not grown locally or organically. Even if you don’t have a lot of space or time, these tips will help you make the most of your garden and provide your family with as much high-quality food as possible.

1. Start with great soil – Your growing medium will be your plants’ home for as long as it is producing for you. Natural Living Ideas suggests adding plenty of compost to garden soil as an amendment. Healthy plants grow stronger and produce a bigger harvest.

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2. Extend the seasons – Mother Earth News says to “start early, end late.” Pushing your harvest time window earlier in the spring and later into the fall or winter means using cloches to protect plants from frost or cloth row covers for larger areas.

3. Plant perennial crops – Many gardeners overlook perennials, but they can bring big harvests that just return and get bigger every year, advises Mother Earth News. Fruits like blackberries, blueberries, and rhubarb produce every year, and an asparagus patch, when properly maintained, will produce for decades.

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4. Succession planting – According to Earth911, this method of staggering the timing of your plantings will produce more food over a longer period of time. For example, you might plant an initial crop of lettuce from seed in early April and then plant again three weeks later. Then, you’ll have your new lettuce maturing just as the first crop is finishing up. When one crop is finished, remove it and plant something new in its place.

5. Harvest early and often – Natural Living Ideas says that most gardeners get lazy about harvesting crops later in the season. They recommend harvesting vegetables as soon as they are ready; don’t wait. They also say regular harvesting keeps the plant producing better than if you leave vegetables on plants for too long.

6. Cut-and-come-again crops – These are crops that produce more than one harvest, says Mother Earth News. For example, Swiss chard can be harvested just a few leaves at a time while leaving the plant in the ground. It will continue to produce over a long period of time. Broccoli will often produce side shoots and smaller heads once the main head is harvested.

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Brande Plotnick is an ambitious home cook, gardener, beekeeper, writer, and speaker who started her website, Tomato Envy, to inspire others to find their deliberately decadent life at home. Brande’s down-to-earth style and approachable manner have been winning over the readers who follow her blog. Her work has been featured in Urban Farm Magazine, Natural Awakenings, Mother Earth News, and the Whole Seed Catalog.

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Gardening is an enjoyable hobby, but it is also a wonderful way to reduce your dependence on store-bought food, which is often not grown locally or organically.
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2017-30-19
 

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