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Onderhoud Seizoen

End of May or early June: harvesting and freshening up your boxes

Summer is in the air and the garden is growing like crazy. You've harvested so much that the first vegetable patches are looking pretty empty. So: time to refresh your soil mix and add nutrients to your garden. 
Add some MM-Plantfood to refresh the soil mix
The Makkelijke Moestuin around this time: full beds, large lettuce heads competing with each other, sometimes more harvest than you can handle.

Here are some tips for taking care of your vegetable garden beds during this time of the year.

Empty vegetable patches

Harvesting means that your square patches get emptier and emptier. When you harvest all your radishes, you're left with a bald spot. 

Maybe last year’s parsley has gone to flower or the arugola is too big and is starting to taste bitter.
Arugola grows too big and will start to bloom
The trick is not to dwell on goodbyes. Just harvest what you still want and get down to business: empty that patch.

Remove the plants - roots and all - and loosen up the soil mix all the way to the bottom of the box. 

Then add a scoop of MM-Plantfood so your new plants get enough nutrients.

You can read more about MM-Plantfood here and why we use that instead of other kinds of compost.

Sow again after harvesting

If you have replenished the nutrients, you immediately sow something new in the bed.

If you use the app, it will give you the best choice.

If you don't use it, then choose a different plant family than what was there before. So from a packet with a different color. If that doesn't work out, don't make it too difficult. Consider it as a guideline, not as a rule 😉
Freshly sown bed

Taking care of your plants

Taking care of your plants in our garden boxes is a breeze and takes almost no time. It boils down to this:


Water once a day if needed.

Ideally, you water the base of the plants to get right to the roots. You not only save a lot of water, but the rest of the patch won’t get too soggy. That means fewer snails and slugs.

Keeping a bucket by your garden box is super handy. And, the sun warms up the water a little. The plants like lukewarm water best.
Fill a little deli container from a bucket
Plants don't like ice cold water, but water that is too hot will kill them.

So, take care if you use a garden hose on a hot day. The stagnant water inside can quickly get above 30°C. Check the temperature before watering your plants

You can read more about watering here.
A garden hose gets hot in the sun

Room to grow

Give your plants enough space and stick to the distances recommended in the app and on the seed packets. You sow just a couple of seeds per hole usually. A few seedlings will come up, but for many vegetables, you’ll only need one per hole. The rest you have to thin out. 

I know, it's tough. But if you don’t do it, the plants will start competing with each other for light, nutrients, and water. They won’t do as well if they’re crowded together. They literally need room to grow.

And yes, it will look a bit bare at first:
Plants growing at the right distance from each other
And when you see a weed, get rid of it right away. I usually grab them with my thumb and pointer finger. Sometimes I loosen up the soil mix with a fork afterward.

Plants that don't understand boundaries

Some vegetables grow so well that they push their neighbors aside. Parsley, chives, and lettuce for example, and later in the year, chard.

And what about that winter purslane:
Winter purslane: too big for het patch
The solution is: harvest a lot, even if you don’t think you can eat it all. You can use almost anything in green smoothies, soups, and summer stews. Or give them away and make your own neighbors happy 🙂

And if you're over it, just empty your square patch partly or completely:
Harvesting all at once
Around this time I harvest the winter purslane completely, also the plants. If I leave them, they'll grow back. While I prefer to sow something else now. Winter purslane is great for autumn and early spring because there is not much growth then, but now there is more than enough choice.

The same applies to winter lettuce. It is now growing huge, even though I have already harvested a lot of leaves from it.
Crowding in the field
I'll harvest the remaining heads in the next couple days:
Tomorrow, you guys are next

Keep things tidy

As your plants grow, remove any weeds right away. Remove busted-looking, yellow, or dry leaves too: they're food for fungi. They also can attract slugs and other pests.

Support your tall plants and climbers

Help climbers like snow peas and pole beans find their way up the trellis.
Give peas some extra support with a cord
Legumes hold themselves up with their tentacles, but in high winds, they appreciate some extra support. All you need is some string or rope.

Beans, winter peas, and sugar snaps: they could use some support from a mini-trellis. 

With a mini-trellis, you immediately keep them neatly within their square patch.
A growing rack for the peas

Tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, and climbing zucchinis.

For all these vegetables, you attach the main stem to the trellis. These types don't climb on their own 😉

Our climbing zucchini gets a long stem that you can attach to the trellis and guide upwards. Start doing this from the very beginning, because once the stem becomes stiff, you won't be able to do it anymore. The same applies to pumpkins.
Attach the climbing zucchini plant to the net.
I use clips, string or tie wraps to attach the stem to the trellis net.

More about tomatoes and zucchini here.
Carefully wind the tomato stem around the climbing net

Don't wait to harvest: sooner is better

It sounds weird, but I know how it goes: your head of lettuce looks so beautiful that it seems like a shame to pick it.

Your radishes still could grow more and the leaves of the Asian salad mix are still small.

Here I'm already kind of late:
Asian salad mix is plenty big
Vegetables harvested early are tastiest. Don’t wait too long. They grow quickly and before you know it, they’re past their prime: bitter, too tangy, or gnarly, or whatever.

Beautiful plants are fun to look at, but put those in your ornamental garden. Fresh vegetables on your plate: that's what you do it for, right?

And, harvesting frees up space for the next round: prepping, sowing and, before you know it, harvesting again.

MM-Plantfood and our mix can be found in the shop, as well as tasty summer vegetable seeds.
Have fun 🙂

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