Ongoing Harvest: How to Keep Producing All Summer
If you’ve planted fruits, veggies and herbs in your Abbotsford garden, you’ll no doubt start to enjoy some tasty delights in the coming weeks—especially if you’ve planted some potent pollinator-friendly flowers nearby! The best reward for growing your own food is eating the fruits of your labour, but how can you keep that magical momentum going all season long? We’ve got some great summer harvesting tips to help you make the most of your edible garden.
How Do I Keep My Abbotsford Harvest Going All Summer?
These are the best ways to extend your harvest throughout the growing season:
Succession planting is a tried and true method for keeping the food flowing this summer that can be accomplished in a few different ways. The most common method is to plant seeds of the same veggie every 2-4 weeks so they grow successively; however, you can also do it using different veggies with different growing seasons. For example, plant peas first because they have a shorter season, then re-use the space for later season veggies like eggplant, kale, dill, basil, pole beans and beets, among others.
You can use this succession planting strategy for summer harvesting using different veggies in the same plot, too, allowing them to grow together at different lengths. Choose plants that grow and mature at different times (early, mid, and late summer) for an endless harvest. You can also select different varieties of the same crop that mature at staggering lengths of time.
Similar to hosting a relay race in your garden, relay planting involves planting several types of crops sequentially in the same garden bed, allowing you to use the soil continuously all summer and giving you a continual harvest as crops mature. Relay planting also helps keep the soil healthy and prevents nitrate leaching. Plant your early-summer crops first, then transition into warm-season crops once you’ve harvested your initial yield. Finally, move into your end-of-season crops that can be grown and harvested until the last frost date. While some gardeners prefer to keep each crop firmly segregated, others allow their relay partners to start growing alongside established crops before they’re harvested to benefit one another in the soil.
Some good relay combinations include:
- -Peas to beets
- -Corn to spinach
- -Potatoes to beans
One of the best ways to keep producing crops all summer is to harvest regularly, which means you get even more tasty treats! We recommend plucking off the first fruits of a crop to allow subsequent ones to thrive, as these are often the slowest to ripen and can drag your plant’s growth down. Another common mistake is to allow too much fruit to stay on the plant at a time, which takes a heavy toll on the plants’ energy.
Some varieties of peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers, in particular, need regular harvesting all summer to maintain their crops, as it signals the plant to continue producing new blooms. Check your crops every couple of days and immediately remove ripened fruits and veggies.
Watering / Feeding
To keep produce flowing in your Abbotsford summer garden, remember to keep up with regular watering and feeding. Many fruit-bearing plants will require a regular feeding schedule all summer long, but all plants will need water to keep their fruits and vegetables ripening properly. Improper watering can also lead to fruit splitting.
It might not be an obvious strategy during active growth, but pruning back heavy foliage can help your plant focus more on fruit production and less on its leaves during the summer months. Removing overgrown foliage over the summer will also open things up for surrounding plants and companion crops to get much-needed sunlight and air circulation. Pruning is also an excellent opportunity to check for and remove any dead, dying, diseased or damaged fruits, leaves, and stems to conserve your plant’s energy. After all, a plant trying to heal damage or disease caused by summer pests won’t be focusing too much on fruit production!
If you’re already knee-deep into your Abbotsford summer harvest, try these tips out for yourself and get the most from your garden this year. When done right, you can enjoy months of delicious crops and have plenty to share with friends and family, too!