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3 Crops for the Price of 1

05.25.10

3 Crops, 1 Space

I have a smallish yard. And I have a classic strip of soil between the house and the sidewalk that runs aside my house. It’s gotta be 2, maybe 3′ wide at best. Last year, I quite successfully grew a forest of tomato plants in that strip. This year, having done some homework on smarter gardening, I planted peas against the house, then 3 rows of spinach. They were up long before the tomatoes could handle going outside. And the peas and spinach will be harvested by the time the tomato plants size up and consume the space, so I’m getting 3 significant crops from one very small chunk of soil. I may even undersow the tomatoes with a cover crop once the spinach comes out – to repay the soil for my trickery, as well as get a 4th kick at the gardening-season-can. As with many things in life, not rocket science, not innovative, but beautiful in its practicality and sensibility.

5 Responses

  1. Barry Preuett says:

    I do that with radishes and lettuces in my tomato beds. Plant the radishes and lettuce early on (late march) and harvest them right before my tomatoes go in the ground (mid may). I also have limited space for gardening and try to maximize utility by taking advantage of consumables with short growing periods first, so i can use the same area for veggies that take longer to mature (tomatoes, lima beans, cucumbers, peppers, etc.)

    Planted 3 kinds of radishes this year (watermelon, white icicle, and french breakfast). Only the breakfast radishes gave any kind of production.

  2. Kevin says:

    Barry – I’ve had terrible success with radishes, for some reason. I feel like a radish-moron. Last year they were tough like a cutting from my apple tree.

  3. Ferdzy says:

    We’re starting to do more interplanting too, even though we have a good sized garden.

    My radishes are doing well! Carrots, on the other hand… we just ate last years entire crop today. (Planted last spring. Germinated some time in the fall. Harvested yesterday as they were going to seed; a bunch of skinny orange strings. Feh.) Lettuce is nothing to write home about either. The fall planted spinach on the other hand was a revelation. We’ve been eating it since snowmelt; it’s finally about to bolt.

  4. Where DID you acquire that sensibility, Kevin? It is unusual for a young father. I am truly curious. I know how I grew to these same beliefs, but my era is an entirely different one… with roots still in the “old way”. Yet, most of my counterparts have gone to the dark side. The younger generation is usually into convenience and fast food. Not cooking. Certainly not gardening. I am truly curious. Did I say that. Woops! Anyway, in that strip between houses in these newer subdivisions where most place rocks or grass in the skinny strip, we planted raspberries. I have two varieties of red ones, two varieties of golden, and one black. I cannot get enough of the little jewels and try to utilize every square inch of my tiny city yard wisely… food production wise. It is so gratifying to go out before a meal and gather some of the important parts of it from the yard. Really difficult to explain the satisfaction I get, but it is intrinsically driven and I work hard to try share my passion with those that don’t know peas grow in pods. It is not easy.

  5. Kevin says:

    Ferdzy – I bombed radishes again this year. I got…one.

    Valerie – hm. Satiating your curiosity in a blog-comment isn’t likely. Am I really that odd??!? ;) I agree that describing the pride factor in food you produce is usually ineffective.

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