Looking for more production in your vegetable garden? Try succession planting. You’ll enjoy multiple harvests from a single garden patch in the same growing season by sowing seeds again after a set time has elapsed depending on what you're growing. More on that below.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines succession planting as:
1: Sustained seasonal production of a particular crop, either by repeated sowings or by selecting varieties maturing at different times.
2: The culture of two or more short-life crops planted in turn.
How Do You Plant A Succession Garden?
Begin with seed crops that are ideal for succession planting. These include quick growing and cool season vegetables (list below).
To have a consistent supply of harvestable produce throughout a season, use these rough intervals of one to six weeks to sow seeds again in spaces from which you have harvested.
Sow every 1-2 weeks: Salad mix (leaf lettuces), radishes, spinach, baby lettuce, bok choy, peas, bush beans, scallions
Sow every 2 weeks: Head lettuce, arugula, determinate tomatoes, turnips, beets, corn, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
Sow every 3 weeks: Carrots, cucumbers, mustard greens, melons, kale
Sow every 4-6 weeks: Summer squash, Swiss chard, zucchini
Different Succession Planting Methods
There are a variety of terms you may see that are slight variations on successive planting: staggered planting, second planting, and companion planting are all practices that allow you to simplify growing food to produce a continual supply over a season or to take advantage of plants that support each other’s growth and health.
Same crop, staggered planting
Ideal for quick crops like lettuce and spinach, root crops, and cool-season veggies like carrots and beets, and strawberries and raspberries to ensure a sustained supply through the growing season.
Different plants, same space
These charts from our friends at the University of Illinois Extension show seasonal rotations of vegetables to maximize harvests by planting during seasons/times when the produce will thrive. The chart shows a few suggested plant layouts by harvesting season.
This planting custom puts non-competitive, complementary plants in the same space. Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) is a well-known companion combination. Planting basil and marigolds near your tomatoes can ward off pests, another benefit of companion planting.
Plant different cultivars of the same crop type that mature at different rates. Broccoli and peppers offer many types with different days to maturity.
What Can Be Planted in Succession?
Arugula, peppers, basil, bush beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cilantro, corn salad, dill, endive, green onions, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, bok choy, radish, rutabaga, spinach, potatoes, Swiss chard, and turnips.
Do You Succession Plant Tomatoes?
If you plant determinate tomatoes, you can succession plant them approximately every 14 days. Determinate tomatoes will ripen at the same time (whereas indeterminate tomatoes will ripen over weeks). By succession planting a few weeks apart, you’ll ensure fresh tomatoes over a longer growing season.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Natalie Carmolli, Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice® shrubs
The Pantone color of the year is Viva Magenta. Pantone describes it as a “brave and fearless, pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration…” For a list of woody ornamentals that show off this outstanding color,
click here .
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!