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The Perpetual Harvest Hack: How to Grow A Continual Harvest of Fresh Food All Year Long Without Losing Your Mind Doing It

Paul Dysinger
Seedtime

Paul Dysinger is the co-founder of Seedtime. Together with his Dad Edwin they design ground breaking garden/farm planning software and teach thousands of people from around the world how to grow their own nutrient dense food at home.

Paul and Edwin, are 2022 Superfood Garden Summit presenters, airing June 22-25 2022.

Their talk is called “The Superfood Perpetual Harvest Hack”

You know, I could probably start this post out by writing some fancy introduction or story or something…

But something is telling me, how about we jump straight to the chase? What do you think?

You game?

Ok, here goes…

How would you like a perpetual harvest of fresh veggies out of your garden every single week of the year (or greatly extending your growing season)?

I’m talking about fresh lip-smacking tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons during the summer, crunchy leaf lettuce and spinach in the fall, buttery Brussels sprouts with some powerful cabbage salad in the winter, and then back to spring peas, carrots, or beets.

It’s like replacing your grocery store with fresh food directly out of your backyard (think dollar signs!).

Or turning your garden into your living refrigerator.

Does that sound cool or what?!

The problem is… to pull off a perpetual harvest can be a little complex unless you have a good system to do it with.

Let me explain.

Have you ever heard of succession planting? Or I like to call it leapfrog planting.

See, the key with a continual harvest is that you need to always have something growing in the garden – all the time.

And every plant has its own life cycle.

There’s a time to seed it. It grows. And then it’s harvest time.

Eventually harvest time ends (different for each crop) and the cycle starts over.

This means that if you’re going to effectively plan a continual harvest in your garden you’ll need to understand the following:

  1. You’ve got to figure out when to plant your first crop
  2. Then how long before it will be harvested
  3. How long of a harvest window you can expect from it
  4. And then when to plant the second “leapfrog” or succession crop so that it is ready to go in when the first crop is harvested so you keep that garden space occupied
  5. Plus figure out how long in the season each crop can be grown (is it a warm season or cold season crop?)
  6. And then repeat that for every crop because they are all different

If you think that’s a little complex or overwhelming – you aren’t alone.

In fact, how in the world are you going to keep track of that for 20+ different crops, line them up, arrange them so they stagger after each other, all year long – without going crazy or losing your mind?

Yikes!

The good news is that there is a way. And we call it our Perpetual Harvest Hack.

See, back in the day my Dad Edwin and I made a bit of a rash promise to our gardening students when we told them that we would give them custom weekly checklists of what to do in their gardens based on their current locations.

We soon discovered that was a lot bigger of a task than we bargained for and none of the gardening tools we could find really made it much easier.

Granted, there are some tools out there to help know when to seed your crops in the spring or fall, like Johnny’s Seed Starting Calculator (here’s the fall version) or Away to Garden’s Seed Starting Calculator.

In fact, Johnny’s even has a succession planting spreadsheet.

But none of these really made it easy. Let alone automate a way we could give our students weekly checklists of what to do in their areas.

But a promise is a promise. So after intensive research we finally pulled off turning some massive gardening spreadsheets into our first simple Click ’N Drop Gardening Calendars.

And when we first showed them to our students – let’s just say they went crazy…
I’ve never seen gardeners so excited about anything in my entire life.

But the problem was, though our first calendars were one of the best products on the market, they weren’t fully customizable. And while they made planning a year-round garden easy, they were generic.

Our students needed something better. They needed a gardening plan they could personalize.

Which brings us to what we call our “Perpetual Harvest Hack”.

Or in other words we call it – Seedtime.

Seedtime is the first garden planner (that we know of) that makes it extremely easy to visualize exactly when to seed, transplant, and harvest crops in your garden all year long – based on your local area.

Which means when it comes to a continual harvest, there’s finally a way to line up all those plantings without crazy spreadsheets or headaches.

Let’s take lettuce as an example.

If you’re wanting a continual harvest of lettuce, you can quickly and easily drop your first planting into the calendar.

Then with a couple clicks you can drop in a succession planting a couple weeks later.

Throw these onto the timeline view and you can easily get a quick big picture of when each planting is going to be seeded and approximately when you can expect to be harvesting from them.

You can then repeat that process to add more plantings…

Or, if you’re dealing with a specific location in the garden you can change it up a bit.

Let’s say you want your second planting of lettuce to be ready to transplant into the garden when the first one is done harvesting.

Before, you’d have to manually calculate the days to maturity and harvest window, then backtrack about four weeks before the first planting is done harvesting to set the seeding date of your second planting so that it’ll be ready to transplant when the first crop is done.

Wow… that was complicated just trying to type that out.

But now, you can simply click and drag the transplanting task of your second lettuce planting and move it to the week after your first planting should be done harvesting – and everything else will automatically adjust.

Sweet!

That’s the power of click ’n drop garden planning.

And get this, you can do this with literally any crop! In fact, you don’t even have to follow one crop with the same one – you can follow the first crop with a different one.

Let’s take peas and green beans as an example.

Peas like cool weather so it is best to grow them in the spring. And when they are done harvesting, it is often a great time to plant a crop of green beans.

Just line up the seeding times and with a few clicks your schedule is set up.

But it gets even better!

Once you have your garden plantings setup, you can jump over to a weekly or daily task list that automatically compiles from your garden plan.

That’s what we call a game changer.

Now staying on track in your garden is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

And that’s not to mention the fact that you can click on the tasks in your task list for a quick description of what to do, how to do it, and links to visual demonstration or training videos showing/telling you how to get each task done like a pro.

So if your mind is spinning right now… just know that this is the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a lot more you can do with Seedtime than I can fit into this one blog post.

But the key takeaway here is this:

If you want a continual harvest out of your garden – it just got a whole lot easier.

Your garden matters. Your family matters. Your health matters. And we’re on a mission to make it so much easier for you to focus on the fun parts of gardening without getting bogged down with all the planning/organizing tasks that can be such a chore.

In fact, if you throw in some simple protection methods like a quick hoop with a row cover or two, you can drastically extend your season or grow all year round in many places.

So are you ready to knock it out of the park this season?

Let’s get that perpetual harvest growing so you can replace the grocery store with your garden.

At the time of writing this, Seedtime isn’t open to the public yet. But if you want to get started with your own free account – here’s a special invitation link where we’re inviting Grow Your Own Vegetable readers to get early access:

Get your free Seedtime account here

You’ll get full access to everything for 14 days and then will automatically continue at the Free Forever plan level – or you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade if one of the higher plans fits your needs better.

Here’s to your success and a continual harvest of lip-smacking fresh veggies out of your very own backyard!

Wow! Go check out Seedtime, set up your FREE account, and share your insights here!

Read and Donate to SAVE THE BEE!

Why Should We SAVE the BEE?

Honey bees are the only insect intricately tied to our food supply. One-third of our diet is currently derived from plants that require pollination, and in the U.S., honey bees are responsible for 80% of agricultural pollination! Without the services of honey bees, there would be no almonds or many of the other healthy fruits and vegetables we take for granted. 

The widespread loss of honey bees in the last decade has been linked to pervasive pesticide use, parasites, loss of foraging habitat and poor nutrition. With annual population losses averaging 40% nationwide, action is needed now more than ever.

SAVE the BEE is inspiring positive change to ensure the future of honey bees.

Led by GloryBee, the SAVE the BEE initiative is a partnership of researchers, beekeepers, businesses and consumers committed to protecting honey bee health by:

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♥ Increasing awareness of the role honey bees play in a healthy food supply

♥ Funding scientific research on the causes of declining bee populations and on solutions to enhance colony health

♥ Providing “best practices” education for farmers, gardeners and beekeepers

We are thrilled to have GloryBee Honey and Save the Bee as a sponsor for the Superfood Garden Summit.

Watch this short video to learn some fun facts about Honey Bees and to learn more about what GloryBee is doing to help SAVE the BEE!

Superfood Garden Summit is happy to have Save the Bee as a Summit Sponsor. Want to help save the bees? DONATE HERE and help support our favorite pollinator!

5th Annual SGS w_Berries (1)

Share your favorite ‘BEE’ Story!

Superfood Garden Summit Sponsor: GARDEN TOWER

Indoor gardening for BIG harvests

There’s a tool we want to share that is especially useful if you…

♥ Don’t have a lot of space to plant
♥ You want to have a garden that can grow food year round

You see gardening in a tiny space teaches you a lot… but it can also be challenging!

♥ You never feel like you can grow EVERYTHING you want!
♥ You wonder if your plants are getting enough sunlight, nutrients, or water to get the harvest you saw on the seed packet.
♥ It’s easy to feel a little envious when one of your friends posts a picture of their full, lush garden planted in 4 raised beds in their backyard.

We know all those feelings…
But what we want to show you today solves a LOT of these issues.
It lets you take small-plot growing to a whole new level (and we love it!):

♥ You can grow over 50 different, individual plants and vegetables in just 4 sq. feet! That’s less space than most coat closets.
♥ You can grow indoors or outdoors however you like. Perfect for growing year round in any climate!
♥ This tool lets you vermicompost right inside your garden! No need to move compost around or waste food scraps. Plus all those wonderful vermicompost nutrients end up right in your food!
♥ You’ll be able to use this tool for years to come… it lasts for up to 12 years even in harsh climates.
♥ It’s 100% safe for the environment and your family (no BPA or PVC toxins leaching into your foods)!

So what is this tool we are so excited to show you?

It’s the Garden Tower 2 from our friends over at the Garden Tower Project.

 

Save the Bee Logo

It is actually one of the Grow Your Own Vegetables Team’s favorite gardening products!

Yes, it does look a little strange… but the harvests from your garden tower will definitely make your mouth water! 😋

AND here’s the cherry tomato on top. We talked to the Garden Tower folks and asked if they could get YOU a special deal since you’re a Grow Your Own Vegetables reader… They said YES!

As a sponsor of our Superfood Garden Summit, they’re willing to give you a special discount on your next Garden Tower. Go Here to see their offer.

The Garden Tower Project makes all their garden towers right in the USA. So they are able to keep up with all the people new to gardening! 

Part of the reason we like it so much is that it is simple to use. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener. It’s easy to set up and only takes 6 cu. feet of soil to fill completely. Then you just add water, compost scraps, and worms as needed.

Go check Out Our Favorite Product, The Garden Tower 2

Who knows… maybe you’ll be sharing YOUR huge harvest from your Garden Tower in our Facebook group soon! 🍅🌱🍆🍠

Superfood Garden Summit is happy to have the Garden Tower Project as a Summit Sponsor.

This article contains links to a product that we are a referral partner for. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Have you been enjoying the Superfood Garden Summit? Share your take-a-ways with us!

Superfood Garden Summit – Get healthy and NOURISH yourself with SUPERCHARGED foods grown right at home

Remember the moment you FIRST ate a fresh-picked tomato and you thought, “Oh my gosh… everyone should know how awesome this is!”??? Well, now’s your chance to spread the love of REALLY fresh, homegrown food. Imagine if YOU were the catalyst for your friends and loved ones to start gardening and enjoying an even GREENer lifestyle… How much could that transform their lives?

There are already over 25,000 attendees for the Superfood Garden Summit. That is AMAZING!  Because EVERYONE deserves fresh, organic food for a long, healthy life. Growing your own food is one of the best ways to do just that. 💚 And if everyone brought a friend, we could reach even more growers!

It would mean so much if you could help us connect with more people who need this vital information. Share this link: SuperfoodGardenSummit.com

There are so many problems with our food system. And this is an opportunity to be part of a solution… imagine the impact that this community of superfood growers will have towards an even healthier planet. ;)​​​​​

Not Registered? Go Here now! SuperfoodGardenSummit.com

Watching the Summit? Share your favorite presentations and takeaways!

Are Weeds Really ‘Bad’?

Rob Herring
Need to Grow

Rob is airing a short film at the 2022 Superfood Garden Summit, airing June 22-25 2022.

The film is called “We Decided to Become Farmers.”
Be sure to register here:

Rob Herring is an environmental filmmaker and musical activist. He directed/produced/wrote The Need To GROW, winner of multiple Best Documentary awards and seen in 175 countries around the world. Rob worked on the critically acclaimed GMO OMG, and is a Producer on the follow up to the world famous Zeitgeist Trilogy.

As a musician, Rob writes songs for health and eco activism, and headlined the Rock For Nature concert in Berlin for 25,000 people. He is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and is the co-founder of Integrative Pediatrics.

By: Rob Herring, The NEED to Grow Film

Weeding in your garden?

Maybe you shouldn’t.

Contrary to our decades-long battle against weeds, such as in lawns and in gardens (and especially where I live in America)…

…most weeds are around for a (natural) reason.

No, I’m not saying you should let weeds crowd out and choke your plants! (That’s not good, either).

As with many topics, we want to approach it with nuance as best we can, and recognize that if we allow some weeds to dwell near garden beds or on the lawn, they might provide benefits that get easily overlooked (beyond the obvious beneficial pollinators).

You may be doing a double take right now. How could weeds possibly be beneficial?

Especially plants like dandelion and even (gulp) thistle?

If you’ve got a green thumb, a lawn care passion, a landscaping hobby, or if you only garden from time to time, here are the top benefits of weeds that you need to know…

…so you can spend more time doing the more enjoyable stuff, while letting the wild green things do their beneficial stuff.

Erosion Control

Good advice for gardeners: why kill weeds in your garden, only to leave the soil open and barren?

While gardeners (and farmers, too) can get stuck on having neat, clean, and bare soil come winter— or when their plots are not in use…

…this can cause erosion during hard rains and floods, which makes you lose topsoil, soil life, and amazing nutrients for your plants next year!

Instead of cleaning up, let some of the low-lying weeds hold the soil in place. The root systems are doing Nature’s work underground.

Clumpy weeds like chickweed and ground ivy can be ideal to keep around for this.

Nutrient Availability 

Soil compaction is the worst enemy of gardeners and farmers.

That means soil is so pressured and hardened that water and roots have a tough time working their way through.

While sprouting weeds around your young plants can be terrible in some ways, they can be amazing allies against soil compaction on the other hand!

Next time you’re eyeing some weeds and thinking it’s their time to go…

…think twice about if your soil is nutrient deficient, compact, or if there are hard pan issues.

Weeds with very long taproots are amazing at paving the way for next year’s plants, and these include dandelion, sow thistle, and even cockleburs (a.k.a. burdock).

Helpful Cover (and doing the weeding for you!)

Yep: you heard me right— some plants can help you cut down on weeding!

Especially if you struggle with grasses (the bane of gardeners)….

…there are some plants you should keep around, which can help fight and outcompete these peskiest of weeds such as on garden borders, paths, and right in your lawn (if you’re wishing for a more biodiverse lawn, that is).

These weeds accomplish this by having wide, thick leaves that overshadow grasses and lateral roots that spread quickly, easily choke out grasses (both horizontally and vertically) if you encourage them to stick around.

Some great examples are (again) dandelion, red (or white) clover, violets, and purslane (which is also delicious by the way!)

Oh, and of course, that’s another perk too…

….many “weeds” are edible, too (but be careful and make sure you know what you’re considering ingesting, or speak with a qualified herbalist or native plant expert in your region before you go randomly experimenting).

Are Weeds Really ‘Bad’?

We should always remember that the concept of a “weed” is a human idea…

A belief that one plant is more desirable than another, can sometimes come from a short-sighted approach, focused solely on productivity specifically for human consumption or extraction.

Nature thrives from biodiversity and while some plants can be detrimental if not kept in check, it may be helpful to consider the possibility that the certain plants may be serving more important roles in the ecosystem than our human minds can even comprehend.

If they arrived on site, the system may have “called them in”.

There may be a function they are playing, or a ‘role’ they have in the succession of the ecosystem.

Humility is key. We must not pretend we understand the complexity to Nature’s system. We must work with Nature and listen to her as well.

COMMENT!

We’d love to hear from the community:

→ How have you found weeds to sometimes be beneficial?

Are there certain plants described as weeds that have helped your garden, farm, or ecosystem at large?

→ Are there certain weeds you’ve used for their nutritional or healing potential?

Why You WANT Pests in Your Garden

That’s right, you heard correctly. You want to have some pests in the garden. It seems counterproductive to knowingly harbor these food criminal masterminds 😂. But there’s a good reason you might want to knowingly be an accomplice.

“…if you have no pests, then the beneficials won’t have any food. If there’s no food available, your garden protectors aren’t going to stick around and your garden will be left exposed to infestations.” 

When we think of the living creatures in our garden, we like to simplify them into two categories: pests and beneficials. This oversimplification can actually hurt our gardens and prevent us from reaching our goals. With a black and white mentality, there’s often only one goal: eradicate the pests.

But if you have no pests, then the beneficials won’t have any food. If there’s no food available, your garden protectors aren’t going to stick around and your garden will be left exposed to infestations. So a small pest population can help keep your beneficials around, minimizing crop loss.

Plus, trying to eliminate pests is exhausting! If you’ve ever seen a grower weaving in and out of the garden waving a dust buster in the air, then you know exactly what I mean (not that I’ve ever done that… 🤫😂).

So instead of trying to eliminate the pests all on your own and ending up exhausted and feeling like you have no choice but to result to sprays and dusts (yes, even organic ones are harmful), it can help to switch your mindset. Instead of asking how to get rid of the pest, ask yourself what beneficial species would love to be invited to a feast! Then your garden doesn’t just feed you, it feeds the garden protectors too.

By approaching your garden journey from a space of sharing, you’ll be honing in on what it means to be a steward of the land and your chances of getting the abundance you want from your garden increases. Meanwhile, the effort you have to put in to get all that fresh food decreases. That’s a win for everyone! The pest population is allowed to eat a little, the beneficials have plenty of food, and you can cross dust busting the garden off your list! You’ll be utilizing the laws of nature to benefit everyone.

Now, this doesn’t mean never taking action if you get an infestation. On the contrary, if you notice a crop competitor coming for your food, you’ll absolutely want to act. But if the action is just you having to directly deal with the pest, you’re putting more work on yourself than you need now, and in the long run. Because you can dust bust those pests all day long, but eventually, they’ll be back. When they come, you’ll want to have a strong ecosystem in place so that you don’t have to do all the work by yourself. So you’ll want to take actions to create a strong ecosystem.

It takes diversity in a garden to create a strong ecosystem and abundance in the garden. Diversity helps establish a balanced ecosystem. Less diversity encourages imbalance and fragility of the whole system. Mono-crop farms are a perfect example of this. In mono-crop farming, only one crop is planted. This then draws the pests that attack that specific plant. With no plant diversity or crop rotation, there’s nothing to deter that pest population. So you’ll want more than just one or two species of beneficials to help ensure you’re always ready if a pest decides they’re going to try to overpopulate and take over.

Which beneficials you’ll want will depend on what’s happening in your garden. That’s a topic for another blog. The important thing to remember is that the first step in getting more fresh food with less effort is to switch your thinking from pests being something bad you have to eliminate, to them being an offering for your beneficial guests.

Have you ever used beneficials successfully?
Have you tried to use beneficials but failed?
Are you new to the gardening world and want to create a healthy, thriving ecosystem?

Share your beneficial stories, comments and questions in the comment section below!