Spring Gardening

Snatch that Space in Your Spring Garden

Increase your spring harvest by adding “snatch” crops like lettuce, arugula, and fava beans to your garden. (Photos: Joshua Burman Thayer)

We’re now in that great season of leafy green growth following the spring equinox. For gardeners, that means a special opportunity to plant “catch” or “snatch” crops. These are faster-growing edible species (harvested in 60 to 80 days) that can be tucked in around the longer-lasting summer crops before those main crops get a lot larger and start to fruit. 

For example, while plants promising summer splendor like tomato, pepper, and squash are still relatively small, your catch/snatch crops are growing fast and furious. You’ll harvest them just before the dry heat of summer begins to change the landscape. 

Under or around your summer crops, try planting sugar snap peas, Italian pole beans, Mexican bush beans, and fava (good until daytime temperatures start to climb above 75°). If you have space on the north edges of your garden beds, you can try planting a longer-lasting summer crop like scarlet runner beans.

Spring greens that make good snatch crops include:

  • Arugula (cut to 3 inches tall every 2–3 weeks)
  • Miner’s lettuce (easier to grow than spinach)
  • Lettuce mix
Sow lettuce seeds directly, and when the plants begin to crowd others, cut microgreens with scissors.

Want to learn more?

Check out Joshua’s Gardener’s Notebook article in our current issue, and visit his design site: www.nativesungardens.com or 510.332.2809

Permaculture designer and educator Joshua Burman Thayer is a regular contributor to Edible East Bay. In his monthly Gardener’s Notebook feature in Edible East Bay’s free e-newsletter, he offers lots more advice on how to implement gardening ideas like this one. Sign up for the newsletter here. Josh has also written for Mother Earth News and Edible Silicon Valley. Find him and his work at nativesungardens.com, and follow him on Twitter at @nativesungarden.