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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.
“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!

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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!

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Productivity Tips on How to Lay Out a Garden

Jason Matyas
Seeds for Generations

Jason is a 2022 Superfood Garden Summit presenter.

“Starting Seeds & Caring for Seedlings”

Jason Matyas is a husband, father of seven, homesteader, lifelong gardener, 20-year Air Force veteran with 9 worldwide deployments including two tours in Afghanistan, and visionary entrepreneur and public speaker. He is the founder of a family business with his children called Seeds for Generations that provides heirloom garden seeds and inspiration for gardening as a family. Jason is also the Executive Producer of the documentary film Beyond Off Grid, and founder of the Return to the Old Paths project devoted to inspiring and equipping you to reduce your dependence on the modern economy and seek true freedom by Returning to the Old Paths of productive households and local community interdependence.

In previous posts (see entire blog series here), we’ve already discussed the most important planning considerations for your garden, but there are a few other considerations that you may find helpful as you’re finalizing your plot. Keep these things in mind while considering how to lay out a garden.

Considering Garden Size

In an earlier post (see entire blog series here), we touched on garden size (i.e., available space), but it’s worth repeating here. The size of your garden is determined by which growing method you use. There are many different methods, but the most basic methods are row gardening, square foot gardening (popularized by Mel Bartholomew), and container gardening. You can also use vertical growing methods, which are great for small spaces.

Regardless, you’ll want to maximize your planting area by placing paths only where absolutely necessary. Generally, you don’t want more than four or five feet between your paths, because most people can only reach two and a half feet, so keep this in mind.

Laying Out Your Garden

Once again, your layout entirely depends several factors, including sunlight. Like we mentioned previously (see entire blog series here), you’ll want to orient your plot towards the south to get the maximum sunshine potential, which will help plants grow better. If you’re growing plants that may struggle in a lot of direct sun and heat or bolt (i.e., go to seed) in hot conditions, consider planting those varieties where they’ll be protected from afternoon sun.

Positioning Crops in Your Garden

How you position crops together may impact their productivity, so consider using companion planting techniques to create synergy and play off of natural relationships between different plants. Plants like basil and tomatoes grow well together, for example.

In addition, sometimes you can plant two different crops in one space during the same growing season, such as lettuce with cabbage. If you do this, you will have harvested the lettuce before the cabbage grows completely into its space. If you don’t know how many days the plant takes to grow to maturity, check the seed packet–that information should be listed there.

Also, while planting, ensure that you have adequate access for harvesting later. If you don’t harvest winter squash or corn until late in the year, for example, you usually  don’t need to make it very accessible during the spring and summer. But tomatoes and cucumbers that will need picked every other day? You’ll need to access them easily, without crushing other plants.

Productivity Tips on How to Lay Out a Garden – Conclusion

Garden size, garden layout, and garden plant positioning. That’s all you really need to know when it comes to learning how to lay out a garden. Now get planting!