There are 3 basic growing techniques which you can use to take advantage of your space. These are referred to as intercropping, capture cropping and successional sowing. The latter two will indicate that you extend the cropping season rather than harvesting your crop all at once. You’ll also use the available space and improve your yields. All you will need to do is carefully plan which crops to sow and when.
Intercropping increases productivity and also helps to keep down the weeds. Intercropping means that you plant a fast growing crop, like carrots, radishes and lettuce between principal plants that are slower growing. These include vegetables such as cabbages, peas and potatoes.
Intercropping involves reaping the faster growing crop at first prior to the slower growing one achieves total foliage cover of the dirt and colors out the area. A fantastic example of intercropping is to develop a crop of spring lettuce or onions between tomatoes. Spinach or radishes can easily be implanted between sweetcorn or cabbages.
Intercropping may also be used to boost productivity. It ensures that no room is left unused and makes the most effective use of light, nutrients and moisture. Additionally, it will reduce the number of weeds in the vegetable patch by keeping a constant plant canopy over the ground. You may also combine the advantages of a green manure with a harvest. This can be useful in the event of winter crops since the green mulch doubles up as a cover crop, protecting the soil from erosion and leaching in addition to stabilizing soil temperatures. If leguminous green manure is planted in late summer or early fall in a bed together with leafy crops like Brussels sprouts, it can provide nitrogen during the remaining growing season. Additionally, it will provide a boost for ancient crops which are planted out after the green manure crop was dug into the ground. While intercropping requires careful preparation, it may increase the productivity of a relatively small vegetable plot.
Catch cropping is the method where quickly growing vegetables such as radishes and lettuce have been implanted into a place which has only been cropped and has a space for use before the next crop is planted. The sowing of the catch crops can be carried out between the primary ones or after harvesting at the end of the season. It’s important that you understand how long a crop requires to mature when intending catch cropping, so you don’t sow anything that takes too long to grow between the principal crops. Fast maturing vegetables are often marketed at the impatient grower who needs speed over quantity. You can have the best of both worlds – if you sow fast growing radishes among rows of slower growing parsnips the radishes will indicate the place of the slow to germinate roots until you see them and you can weed them around without causing harm.
Successional sowing means sowing the seeds of rapid maturing vegetables at regular intervals many times throughout the growing season. This will make certain you get a continuous supply of crops such as lettuces, spinach and carrots through the entire year. Successional sowing can also be useful where plants were sown directly outside early in the summer where they could be more prone to frost damage. Early crops this type of lettuce and radish can be sown under the cover of a cloche, where they will start to grow earlier than would otherwise be the case. Subsequent sowings outdoors will grow later and consequently prolonging the growing season.