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Monday, July 15, 2024
GardeningVegetables in January

Vegetables in January

Want to double your productivity this year? The technique of sowing or transplanting a second crop between ones soon to finish increases productivity, especially valuable if you have a small growing area.
For instance last year, leeks sown in April were dibbed in late June between sweetcorn. The soil was bone dry, the leek were well watered in and then looked like they had died, all the leaves flaccid. But a couple of weeks later they were looking perky again, and after we ate sweetcorn in August the leeks grew strongly and now a good size.
This intercropping is so useful for maximising your growing space—summer crops with winter ones jostling for space during the full-on months of midsummer. So in June, we transplanted chard in a bed of March sown lettuce, and in May planted butternut squash against a bed of early potatoes. After delicately digging out the potatoes, and by August the squash covered the area, their main month of growth. You can also plant squash between rows of peas and broad beans, when they are finished in July, the squash soon fill the area.
There is also the practice of catch cropping in the Spring, where you can grow rows of lettuce between newly sown parsnips or carrots. By the time the parsnips are getting going, the lettuce are finished. Sowing parsnips between overwintered purple sprouting or spring cabbage has worked well for us too, especially if you keep the seed rows well watered until germinated.
Another favourite is to transplanting winter salads in the greenhouse between tomatoes in September, then to sow carrots and garlic between the rows of salad in October where the tomatoes were, keeping the precious indoor space busy and productive.
The idea is not new, and many people have been doing it for a long time. You get more for your money by doing it, and it is good for your soil to keep it busy all the time. Did you hear about the man who went to see his doctor complaining that he was having a terrible identity crisis. One moment he thought he was a teepee, the next a wigwam. The doctor said, “You’re too tense”.

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