One of the most common challenges when it comes to food production is that the cycles of planting to harvesting, might leave with all your crops being ready to be harvested all at one time.
Let say you want to plant a bunch of beans, and then at the end of the cycle when they are ready to be harvested, you get a ton of beans. All at once.
But then it’s over. No more beans for the rest of the year.
That can create a few problems. They can go bad, or get stale. You have to figure out a good way to store them, and make sure you use them. They lose nutrients with time.
Or you may just want fresh beans for a longer period.
In this guide you’ll learn a step-by-step approach of how you can extend your harvest for a longer period of time by staggering your crops for longer term yields.
STEP 1. THE BED:
In this guide we’ll use lazy housewife beans, mature and heirloom variety that were introduced back in the late 1800s.
So we take these and put them in a bed. You may want to have to pour more water in and plant with lots of space. That way they do better and consume less resources.
STEP 2. WATER:
Soak water in right where you will be planting my beans. All we’re doing right now is planting our first bean bed.
Beans are really encouraging crops. They’re not that hard to grow but really simple. However, if you want a really simple flower, plant zinnias.
Remember, we want a continuous harvest. If we just had one bed, we would end up with a bunch of beans in less than two months coming in but we would be out of fresh beans.
STEP 3. PLANT:
Now, plant your beans about an inch deep. Once the bed is planted and is all full with beans they’re going to come up in about a week, and then in about 50 days, we’ve got beans.
For about two weeks, these are going to be producing beans, maybe up to a month depending on the variety.
Some varieties go on for a couple of weeks and usually you can pick it for at least a month. That way you’re going to get some consistent harvest but you get a big blast all at once and then it kind of tails off, and the plants give up.
STEP 4. SET UP THE NEXT BED:
Two weeks to four weeks after this bed is planted, you may need to go over here and plant on the next bed if you want a continuous supply of beans.
The main concept is that just about the time the first bed starts tailing off, the second bed would be picking up, and so on.
Now you could do this, depending on how long your growing season was. You could do this four times, or maybe even five times if you’ve got a mild spring and summer, so you don’t get any late frosts. Beans don’t like frost and so you may need wait until your last frost date.
When you plant your first bed of beans, you will wait a couple of weeks or maybe a month to plant the next bed of beans.
STEP 5. PLANTING DATES:
Look up your local extension office and find out what the bean planting dates are.
In most areas you’ll find out it’d be like May through June to plant beans. Then maybe again in September you can get another harvest, or a couple of harvests before it all freezes in the winter.
Check out your planting dates and then plant through that window. Start at the very beginning of the window and make your last planting of beans at the end of that window, and then you’re going to have lots of beans.
You can do this with a lot of different crops, provided your weather allows you to do it. Just plant early. You may need to plant before the last expected frost dates in case you didn’t get a late frost. You would plant in the middle, and then plant after to get crops coming in.
You’re going to make sure that you get beans no matter what happens.
Another benefit of staggering is that in the event of a drought period that takes out some of your later beans, you are diversifying your crops through different weather patterns. Increasing your chances of successful crops
The idea is to time it out over time so you’ve got a continuous harvest coming in, and if you can dedicate bed space to it. You have to keep digging beds and putting in more beans if you want to do it, but you can stagger over time and end up with harvest for a much longer period.
This technique can be used with most crops. It is a great way to increase the output of your crops while minimizing risk. I hope you found it useful.