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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Mix And Match Veggies By Interplanting

Most gardeners have planted their vegetable garden. But while it's tempting to sit back and enjoy your work, the planting shouldn't stop. Interplanting is mixing and matching vegetables with complimentary growth styles. It maximizes the production in a small space, saving room, time and effort.

One common interplanting technique we use is planting two rows of peas in the middle of a raised bed and then planting lettuce and radishes on the outside of each row. The peas are trellised up and the lettuce loves growing alongside. The peas fix nitrogen in the soil helping feed the lettuces and radishes, too. Another place we plant low growing greens is under a cucumber trellis. We use a 45 degree metal trellis for cucumbers to climb. While they are growing we plant fast growing greens, such as lettuce, arugula and mustard, under the trellis. We're finished harvesting the greens by the time the cucumbers climb to shade the plants.

You can also interplant around slower growing, large veggies. After spacing squashes, tomatoes and eggplants 2- to 3-feet apart, there's lots of room between plants for growing other veggies and herbs. We sow seeds of a salad mix of greens and herbs between plants. This mix includes lettuce, beets, Swiss chard, basil, mustard and pak choi. They grow and we harvest them until the larger plants fill in the space and crowd them out. It keeps weeds out, too.

Finally, in your spring arugula and lettuce bed, pull out spent plants in June, and plant bush beans. After they're finished in September, plant kale and spinach. You'll get three crops in one bed.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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