Catch Crops and Follow on crops
Quite often one may find that during the growth cycle of slow growing crops the soil seems somewhat bare, and the thought arises, how can this situation be better utilized?
This is where catch cropping can come in!
This is achieved by sowing quick low growing plants such as cress, lettuce, mustard, radish or spinach between rows of other relatively slow growing plants e.g. brassicas.
These will establish quite quickly, and produce a catch crop on ground that would have otherwise been under utilised.
The same principle can be used between rows of newly sown beans, peas, onions and on the sides of the celery trench.
A word of warning: do not attempt to crowd in anything unduly!
It is best to sow small quantities at intervals of a few days to give continuity of young edible plants rather than grow to excess.
When ground becomes available after the harvesting of early vegetable varieties the ground can be utilised again with follow on crops.
For example, when the early potato rows have been cleared turnip seed can be sown.
Alternatively late brassica varieties such as cabbage, savoy, and broccoli can be planted out to mature in late autumn / early winter.
Japanese Onions and garlic can be planted to be harvested in early summer of the following year.
Plant out Spring Cabbage to harvest around April the following year.
The thing to always keep in your mind is your rotation plan, that is, does your planting fit in with your rotation plan for the current year and the following year?
Similarly will the follow on crop, affect planting plans of the following year’s crop?
That is: will the crop be harvested prior to when the next planting is due?
Keeping these things in mind can lead to a more efficient use of your growing space, particularly if it is limited.