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 Maximizing Your Garden Space


Story:
When gardening on a budget, there are a number of tips and tricks to getting the most value out of your gardening space.  Thanks to our long growing season in Kansas, most of our garden areas can be planted two or three times throughout any given growing season.
 
Sometimes we forget that we can also plant our garden in time.  So, not just how many tomato plants do we fit in a given space.  But, we should also look at what we can plant before the tomato plants that will also use that space wisely. Or, look at what we can plant after the tomato plants are done in the fall that will use that space a second or a third time as well.
 
Almost all of our spring vegetables can be planted for a fall crop as well.  The main exception to that are peas which don’t germinate well in warmer soils that we have in the late summer or early fall.
 
Other vegetables such as carrots and beets, turnips, radishes, lettuce, spinach – all of those spring vegetables can be easily planted for a fall crop.  And, depending on the location of your garden in Kansas, and the weather for fall and winter, sometimes those vegetables can keep going well into November and December.
 
Almost all of our summer crops don’t have to be planted as early as possible.  We always want to be the first one on the block to have the tomatoes or peppers.  Howerver, most things can be delayed.  So, squashes, melons, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, eggplant and peppers can easily planted later in the growing season.  Early June or even mid-June will be great for planting those summer crops in order to allow enough time in the spring to get a full harvest of beets, carrots, or some other spring vegetable.
 
Your tomatoes can also be delayed, but you sometimes run the risk of delaying your tomato crop even further if we have a hot spell in the middle of the summer.
 
This feature story prepared with Rebecca McMahon, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.