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Connecticut Garden Journal: Succession plans for food and flowers all summer long

Water showers fresh cut lettuce while farmer Sarah Rose Kareem cleans the harvest on the Windsor Locks farm she manages with her husband Azeem Zakir Kareem.
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
After your early summer crops, like lettuce, peas, spinach, and radishes are harvested, there's still time to plant bush beans, carrots, beets, summer squash and basil in that area.

The recent spate of hot weather has really pushed along many of our vegetables and flowers. Cool loving plants such as peas, lettuce, spinach, viola and primroses are wrapping it up and the heat lovers, such as tomatoes, squash, melons, zinnias, basil and verbena, are taking over.

As the cool season annuals fade, I'm a big proponent of succession planting. Succession planting means whenever there's an open space in your vegetable or flower gardens, pop in something else to grow. This saves space, increases the amount of veggies and flowers you have, and it's good for the soil to have plants growing on it all summer.

Here are some succession examples that work well. After your peas, lettuce, spinach and radishes are finished in early summer, there's still time to plant bush beans, carrots, beets, summer squash and basil in that area. It's best to grow the basil and squash from transplants, if you can still find some at local nurseries.

A nice annual flower succession is after pansies, violas, spring bulbs and primroses finish, plant calendula and dill from seed and geraniums and petunias from transplants. Garden centers may still have many of these annuals this time of year and even if they're long and leggy, they respond well to pruning and fertilizing.

If you're growing beans, carrots and beets in the garden area, as soon as you're finished in late summer harvest them. And then plant a crop of spinach, radishes, arugula and lettuce in August and September. In one bed you can have 3 different plantings giving you food and flowers all summer and saving space.

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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