The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Succession planting cucumbers and summer squash

Succession planting cucumbers

This year, I decided I was going to wean us off Bt even if it meant a squashless season.  Maybe it's a fluke, but we've actually had a much better cucurbit year than ever before.  My new secret is succession planting.

Notice how the cucumber vine on the left is starting to wither up?  This time last year I would have been pulling out my hair, but now I simply shrug my shoulders and look at the bed of three week old cucumber plants nearly ready to bloom.  I plan to seed a third bed of cucumbers this week so that we'll have a final glut of cucumbers around the end of August.

Succession planting summer squash

I did even better with the summer squash.  Our four spring plants gave us nearly two gallons of fruits to go in the freezer (with who knows how many eaten and uncounted), but now the squash have collapsed into a mass of vine borers, squash bugs, and disease.  No worries --- check out our month-old youngsters who just gave us their first fruits.  Again, I've got more squash on my succession-planting list for this week to take over when our second planting bites the dust.

To be fair, succession planting isn't my only innovation this year.  I'm growing a different variety of cucumber (Diamant) and of summer squash (Butterstick Hybrid.)  I also gave our cucurbits quite a bit of extra compost so that they'd grow quickly and give us produce before disease and pests struck.  And the weather has been perfect --- droughty weather with us irrigating regularly.  Still, I think succession planting has been key in this year's success, and I suggest giving it a try before spraying Bt.

Our homemade chicken waterer is the first step to raising happy, healthy chickens.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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