Senior Member
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:00 pm
Location: West Virginia (Zone 6)

Ideas for 2015 garden. Thinking already. And more!

Although I like to think that I have learned a lot from reading and educating myself on gardening...the biggest learning tool is experience. This is only my 2nd year as a serious gardener. Some successes and some failures. My goal? Successfully garden 3 seasons with some crops in the ground in early winter if possible in my zone 6 growing area. (which btw I thought I was zone 5 and everything I have checked this season says I am in 6. Either I was wrong or it changed sometime in the past. )

So I harvested my last of the Tenderette green beans about 2 weeks ago. Turned up the ground and planted carrots last week of July. Hoping my Danvers will be a fall crop success. I planted more tenderettes where I harvested my candy onions and I have baby green beans already. Left my best Tenderette plant in the ground and letting the pods mature. Saved about 100 seeds from my 1st and largest Moon and Stars melon (18.5 lbs). My sugar pumpkin was a fail. Got 1 pumpkin and it is still on the vine. Hoping it will turn orange. Powdery Mildew has virtually killed the vines. I had 11 volunteer tomatoes from last year that I am getting nice tomatoes from and these plants seem to resist disease better. Corn was a win/lose. So I will save my space for other crops and buy that local since we have some decent corn around here.

That is enough rambling. Now onto 2015. And here is my plan. I have 2 garden beds. (10x15) This bed gets full through last week of May as my neighbors west facing tree canopy shades this in the summer and early fall. Fortunately, I get morning and early afternoon sun in the summer. I used this spot this season for lettuce, cabbage, spinach, carrots, and peas. I would love to try and plant some shade tolerant greens here in open spaces for late summer planting. I did plant some more romaine there and I will see how that goes. I am thinking next year, plant the same things but more carrots since we use those a lot. They should get a good head start before the shade kicks in and I will move any tomato volunteers that pop up to keep only low level plants for optimal sun. I also want to grow arugula and radicchio next year which I think can be both a spring and fall crop.

Other bed is full sun. (10x22) This year I have green beans, tomatoes, radishes, corn, watermelon, peppers and cucumbers. What I would like to do if possible is use this bed for an early season quick growing nitrogen fixing crop that I could harvest prior to planting tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and melons and green beans again. I want to do broccoli next year as well. Hopefully both summer and fall harvest. I will pass on the cabbage this time. I do have a 3 foot high garden fence. Perhaps plant peas around the perimeter and place additional stakes with twine every 4 feet or so. I would like to use my tomato stakes for this application if I can harvest peas and use them for tomatoes as well in time.

I also have a bed (3x22) east facing by my garage. Did tomatoes, and onions here this year successfully. This soil is a bit more sandy that the rest. Practically sifts through your fingers. Might incorporate more organic matter here. But seemed to do well. Maybe use this for a carrot bed next year. And space carrots enough to do tomatoes again and letting the tomatoes shade the carrots in the summer. I have successfully harvested carrots all summer and I have a few left in the ground. Plan on growing St. Valery next season for a large keeper crop.

Sorry for the lengthy post. I have all these ideas, but it is a bit of a whirlwind in my brain trying to plan all of my succession plantings as well as introducing a new crop where a previous one was planted and grow successfully in three seasons. Thank you for reading.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Hi and welcome to the Forum! For being only in your second year of gardening, you are doing remarkably well at figuring out the succession stuff. It really helps to make charts and to keep records (although personally, I am not as good at the record keeping stuff as I wish I were).

One succession model that works well for me is to plant broccoli on the outer edges of beds. (I use smaller beds - you must have to have paths in yours.) The broccoli I start from seed indoors very early (like late January). It gets planted in the ground as soon as the ground can be worked, which in my zone 6 location is usually some time around mid-March, a month before my average last frost date. Then after the last frost date, I plant tomato transplants into the middle space. Then by the time the tomato plants are getting big and need the space, the broccoli is about done and can be pulled. This works for me because I get one main head of broccoli and one round of side heads and then pull it, with out trying for every last side head it might produce.

And it is really helpful to fill in around the edges of everything with garlic and onions (fall planted), basil and other herbs, and flowers to attract beneficial insects. Let some of your carrots stay in the ground to overwinter and bloom the next year and do the same thing with parsley. They are very good for drawing lots of beneficial insects. The onions and garlic besides being a wonderful easy crop to grow that doesn't take up much room, is good companion planting, helps to keep pest insects away from your food plants.

In early October, along with planting the garlic and onions, you can plant seed of spinach and broccoli. They will get started and grow a few inches and then go dormant, but will start up again in late winter and give you a good early crop. It is absolutely the best way to grow spinach. My fall planted spinach and my spring planted spinach bolt about the same time when the weather warms up, but that means the fall planted spinach produced huge leaves, for months longer than the spring planted stuff.

Have fun and keep us posted!

Posts: 13910
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: Hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

For cover crops I use buckwheat. If is not nitrogen fixing but adds biomass and is done in 6 weeks.

The other cover crops I have grown are sunhemp which also helps control nematodes, and cowpeas. I do have to inoculate my legumes to get good nitrogen fixation. If your soil has a lot of the microorganisms already in residence you won't have to do that. Hairy vetch is another good cover crop, but it use a different inoculant so I don't use it.

I can use the cowpea inoculant on most of my beans and peas as well.

Annual ryegrass is a common cover crop to overwinter in colder climates.

I can plant year round but sometimes I do cover crops to keep weeds down, especially in the in between months where I don't really have a lot to plant. Gingers, tumeric, and arrowroot will go down at the end of the year. The arrowroot grows back fairly quickly but it takes months for the ginger and tumeric to break dormancy so after I harvest the roots and put in more compost and plant back the rhizomes, I will overseed the space with cilantro. lettuce or some other shallow rooted plants to keep the weeds down and as a marker.

Besides succession planting you could also try intercropping. When I plant eggplant or peppers they need a lot of space between plants and I will underplant them with green onions (it helps with some bugs), nasturtiums, and lettuce.

like Rainbow suggested, I have marigolds, onions, and flowering plants all over the yard to attract pollinators. I also have plumeria, roses, hibiscus, and orchids which are bug magnets but I have learned to live with the bugs because I really don't want to give up these plants. The roses, planted near the streetlight, with four o'clocks, onions, garlic, cuphea, glads, geraniums and allyssum as companions pretty much take care of most of the pest problems and If I don't have to spray then the bees come back too. The hibiscus has to be treated with a systemic, no choice, I would have no leaves if I don't do it but I do try to isolate the plant as much as possible and I use a short acting systemic since the erineum gall mites are seasonal. The orchids, gardenia, jasmine sambac and plumeria, I just live with the thrips. Anything I use will kill the predators too.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”