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How to deal with the summer laziness aka crop rotation

 
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So our garden is more and more producing stuff and we are pulling out a few things here and there and we should really get going with another round of crops to fill the gaps but we are somehow to lazy to do it. How do you deal with crop rotation to keep your garden producing a lot for the coming months?
 
pollinator
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The most important thing is motivation. If you are not motivated to keep your garden producing, it won't happen.

This year has been one of the best regarding utilization of garden beds as Corona really motivated me to get as much edibles as possible from my small garden.
It is also the first year where I have grown everything from seed: Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillo, artichoke, carrots, chards, beans, leek, broccoli...

For the organizational part, I keep a garden "diary" where I put down notes on dates of sowing, transplanting, varieties of veggies (to know which performed well in my climate and which didn't).
I also write down which vegetables I can still plant / sow and keep adding as I read and watch YouTube videos.

Check out sources from your climate zone.
I love to watch Jen's Gartengemüsekiosk: https://www.gartengemuesekiosk.de/
and
Marie's Wurzelwerk: https://www.wurzelwerk.net/

...and for motivation I like to watch Charles Dowding and Huw Richardson.
 
pollinator
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In different time throughout my life I've been called a 'go-getter', someone who 'like to keep busy', and in possession of a 'good work ethic'.
The truth is I am none of these things. I am a cronic night-owl and therefore sleep in way too late. I am a terrible procrastinator. In short, I can be very lazy given half a chance.
I can also be amazingly productive! I like to showcase my work, so when other people come to visit I put in extra effort.
It's when I an alone, it's raining, I'm hungry... one more cup of tea... one more post to read... you get the idea.

Sometime I just go outside with intention of getting one small job done, like watering the greenhouse. It's a 10-15 minute job that's fairy easy to get motivated enough to do. Once I'm outside, it often seems the rain isn't so bad, I can wait a while longer for lunch... I'm actually sufficiently caffeinated... and I end up doing hours of work.

My father always chided me that I had to 'swallow the frog'; ie: get the ugly stuff done first. That never worked for me. I guess I'm a pumpkin pie first, mashed potatoes next kinda guy.

In short: If you are overwhelmed and don't know where to start... Start anywhere!
 
Ben Knofe
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Thanks for your great answers!

@Anita: I am doing pretty much the same but what I didn't do is having a plan what else to do until the end of the season. In the sense of "When I take out the onions, I will replace with X". Do you have something like that in your notes?
I like Charles and Huw too but my favorite gardener/videos is Bruce from RED Garden project.

@Chris: This sounds almost like me haha! For me it's the same, I keep postponing things but when I start, then I do a lot of things at once. I think the hardest is really to start. If you just made it outside to the garden in your work gear, the hardest part is over already.

 
gardener
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I find my problem is wanting to squeeze out the last possible produce before putting in the new things, and then waiting longer than I should have. Recently I've gotten better at having 'no mercy' to get on with things (I had a dozen broccoli, three were still small, but I pulled the whole mess for dinner, and also to make space for the new spaghetti squash starts I have ready).
I garden year round here so I always have to have a "rolling plan"- today I'm putting in winter stuff, since we still have another 2 months of sporadic cold weather; after that what gets pulled out will be replaced by the spring stuff.
It's usually easier for me because I start seeds in advance. So like anything else, the best time to get on this is one or two months ago.
In terms of practical suggestions: I have a lot of seeds. I have a spreadsheet and each variety is tagged as winter or summer (you could do the same for spring, early summer, late summer, fall). If I'm really out of ideas for what to stick in the garden, I go look at my spreadsheet to see what is languishing in the seed box. That usually gives me a few ideas.
 
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This year, I really wanted to start a new round of seedlings indoors so that I can quickly replace once something is done. That is how intensive organic farms around here work around the very short season.

In practice... well, life happened and the only thing I managed is to throw some beet and carrot seeds in the empty beds. I am still procrastinating to get some new cilantro in.

So I'd say that the key is probably to have a plan with best case scenario AND an alternate? And possibly a plan C (mulch the empty bed or throw in some green mulch/fertilizer seeds).
 
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I normally plan things out in Janurary ....then I ignore my plans.  In reality, it takes about 2 weeks to a month between harvest and replanting.  That has a great deal to do with heat,  humidity, and preserving food.  This has been an odd summer for us. We have had a huge amount of rain.
 
Anita Martin
pollinator
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Ben Knofe wrote:
@Anita: I am doing pretty much the same but what I didn't do is having a plan what else to do until the end of the season. In the sense of "When I take out the onions, I will replace with X". Do you have something like that in your notes?



I do have notes like "first crop X, followed by crop Y, and possibly even crop Z after that".
But I don't follow this strictly per veggie bed.
I mostly have notes which crops can go into the garden really early, which tolerate summer heat without bolting, and which should not be forgotten in summer in order to have a harvest in autumn/winter.

I basically know what I want to plant throughout the year, and I keep sowing the follow-up crops, but where they go exactly is a bit ad-hoc. That's what Huw Richards explained in one his latest videos as well.
Otherwise you can get stuck when something does not play out as planned.

In that respect, I can only second what Tereza wrote:
Don't wait too long with unproductive crops, normally they do not get better with time!
Yesterday I pulled out all my fennel which had bolted, I kept two small heads that were acceptable and left in two plants to flower for the pollinators.

So flexibility paired with basic knowledge on seasonal crops is best.
And maybe get several varieties of some veggies, one for spring/summer/autumn or year-round planting (radishes, lettuces, carrots and similar)
 
gardener
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Sometimes watching fancy cooking shows and seeing all the fresh ingredients being made into fancy dishes motivates me to garden.

Also keeping the seed box next to the door where I can see it on my way out makes it more likely that I will grab a packet and find a space to plant it.
 
pollinator
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I get discouraged, too, and despite going great guns all spring up till now, I slow down.  I need to get some lettuce and mesclun mix into the ground, as the salad opportunities are rapidly diminishing.  I planted these yesterday but forgot to protect the spot from the chickens.  They dug it all up!  (They love disturbed soil.)  I covered it anyway, figuring the seeds are in there somewhere.  

I have some open space in another bed, and I could be planting something, but I'm consumed with picking off cabbage worms.  I had only a little, late-season trouble with these critters last year, but this year - Oh!  I am growing a LOT of brocolli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, and as you can imagine, the cabbage worms are plentiful. And slugs! A long way of saying that my enthusiasm wanes.  Next year, row covers.  I can't do another year like this.  Picked three slugs and 10 cabbage worms today, and you really have to hunt for the cabbage worms.

I have kohlrabi that's supposed to go in now.  I want to replant my bok choy because it's all eaten up.  I do need more lettuce.  And I plan to put in more basic and some late cilantro.  It rained today.  Maybe tomorrow!
 
pollinator
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I've started cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi though they have gotten a bit leggy.  A few days ago I planted more bush and pole beans and constantly planting the rooted tomato suckers.  However I too have a hard time getting motivated.  I think it's the heat, the bugs that attack my legs every time I step outside and the fact that I have a badly pulled shoulder muscle.  However I keep pushing myself as I still have peas and beets to plant and a compost bin to build.  

I also have a habit of putting stuff off a little too long.  For instance my sunflowers and castor beans are a bit stunted as I kept them in the pots a little too long before planting.  The horseradish cuttings should have been in the ground a month ago and I have asparagus seedlings and rhubarb seedlings that need a bed before winter that I haven't started yet.
 
Ben Knofe
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Thank you all for the great answers.

I did not continue planting anything more this year but keep harvesting beans and beetroots. I think what helped me was to realize how much more we grow this year compared to last year and for this we are doing really fine without getting too stressed of planting even more. Maybe we can scale it up next year a bit more or plant more smart! Now I am waiting for the first tomatoes to get red...
 
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Chris Sturgeon wrote:In different time throughout my life I've been called a 'go-getter', someone who 'like to keep busy', and in possession of a 'good work ethic'.
The truth is I am none of these things. I am a cronic night-owl and therefore sleep in way too late. I am a terrible procrastinator. In short, I can be very lazy given half a chance.
I can also be amazingly productive! I like to showcase my work, so when other people come to visit I put in extra effort.
It's when I an alone, it's raining, I'm hungry... one more cup of tea... one more post to read... you get the idea.

Sometime I just go outside with intention of getting one small job done, like watering the greenhouse. It's a 10-15 minute job that's fairy easy to get motivated enough to do. Once I'm outside, it often seems the rain isn't so bad, I can wait a while longer for lunch... I'm actually sufficiently caffeinated... and I end up doing hours of work.

My father always chided me that I had to 'swallow the frog'; ie: get the ugly stuff done first. That never worked for me. I guess I'm a pumpkin pie first, mashed potatoes next kinda guy.

In short: If you are overwhelmed and don't know where to start... Start anywhere!



I identify with every part of this on a deep level. If I can get dressed and get outside I can usually last a good long time. I’m not good at to-do lists or prioritizing. I’ll often go out with a few tasks in mind and complete a totally different set of tasks without touching what I’d intended to do. Any progress is progress though.

I do not do succession planting. I simply can’t keep up with it. I have a short growing season anyway, so there isn’t a ton of room for multiple yields. I also like the improved efficiency of bulk processing. I only grow determinate tomatoes, and they all get planted at the same time. The harvest is only a couple weeks and then I’m done. I freeze and can and dry things for later. I like working in big stages: sowing, transplanting, maintaining (deal with pests, mulch, sometimes water), harvest, and process. Trying to work through multiples at once would drive me mad I think.

I put the spare time this affords me towards perennial crops and preparation for the next season. During annual veggie maintenance I keep up with mowing/Landscaping, plant fruit and nut trees and shrubs, and build/prep beds for next year.

All this to say, if someone doesn’t have the motivation to continue succession planting, maybe it’s not for them. I don’t think there is a right way to garden, I think the right way is the way you enjoy that helps you achieve your goals.
 
S Greyzoll
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Ben Knofe wrote:Thank you all for the great answers.

I did not continue planting anything more this year but keep harvesting beans and beetroots. I think what helped me was to realize how much more we grow this year compared to last year and for this we are doing really fine without getting too stressed of planting even more. Maybe we can scale it up next year a bit more or plant more smart! Now I am waiting for the first tomatoes to get red...



If I overplant, I will lose untended plants to pests or even lose unharvested/unprocessed produce to waste. It’s not just to growing time to consider. There are a lot of labor hours put into that 90 day tomato to get it from seed to pantry.
 
Ben Knofe
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S Greyzoll wrote:Any progress is progress though.


This! 100%! And any progress makes you feel good!
 
Ben Knofe
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I did it! I cleaned one salad bed and sowed chives, spinach and carrots. It is pretty late in the season here but I have hope and a self-made little green house build out of trash! Go seeds go!
 
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