Learning how to succession plant in your vegetable garden has so many benefits. It allows you to have continued harvests, be more useful with your vegetables, and use your garden space more efficiently.
Part of being a successful gardener is trying and testing out new strategies. But there are so many ideas and strategies out there it can be overwhelming to try them all or to even know which things to try at all.
Personally, I try to only test out one new strategy each season so I can try my best to master it instead of trying out multiple things at once and then not knowing what was really best.
Some planting strategies include companion planting, relay planting, and succession planting and in this article I am going to cover succession planting.
What is Succession Planting
Succession planting is when you regularly plant small quantities of a crop at different times in order to get a continued harvest throughout the season. Verses planting one huge crop once and getting only one big harvest.
For example, instead of planting 100 carrots at once you could plant 10 carrots every 2-3 weeks and have spaced out harvests.
How to Start Using Succession Planting in Your Vegetable Garden
The great thing about this planting strategy is that it’s very easy to implement and will just take a bit more planning ahead of time.
All you’re really doing is planting a few of each plant every 1-4 weeks so you can have spaced out harvests.
Then once certain plants start to decline you can pull them out and have room to plant something new.
The things to consider for the most success are:
Is the crop short season, half season, or long season?
Short Season Crops:
- Lettuce, Baby Mix
- Lettuce, Heads
Half Season Crops:
- Beans, Snap
- Swiss Chard
- Summer Squash
Long Season Crops:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
How much garden space do you have?
If you have a small amount of space you can plant vegetables that require less space like beets, carrots, lettuce, and okra.
Or as one crop is harvested take it out and use that space to plant something new.
Is it a cool season crop or warm weather crop?
Certain vegetables such as beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and spinach don’t do well in really hot weather and so depending on how hot your summers get, they will likely grow best planted early on in spring or later in your fall garden.
But other vegetables such as beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and squash grow well in the heat.
When are the first and last planting dates for your area?
You can find them all here in my free vegetable planting schedule.
How to Plan Your Succession Planting for Continued Harvests
Short and half season crops are the ones that are most beneficial to plant in succession because you can stagger your plantings and get continued harvests throughout the growing season.
Longer season crops can still be planted in succession such as peppers, tomatoes, and winter squash but they’ll have to be planted closer together and early enough that they still have time to reach maturity.
Download the free planting schedule below to see exactly how often to plant each vegetable.
Vegetables that should be planted weekly are:
Every 2-3 weeks:
- Beans, snap
Every 4 weeks:
- Swiss Chard
This should be a pretty good outline for how often to plant, but just be sure to check on the needs of each variety. If a vegetable doesn’t grow well in the heat you may have to take a month or so break from your succession planting.
How to be More Useful With Your Harvests
When you’re still in the planning phase consider what you want the vegetables for.
If you only want the vegetables for yourself you should plant less but space out your plantings so you have multiple smaller harvests.
If you want to have a bigger harvest to preserve, make sure that you plant a larger crop at once.
You should also keep in mind that certain crops have a very short harvest window if you want them to be the best quality.
Short harvest vegetables include arugula and lettuce and they should be planted weekly in order to have a continued supply of high quality harvests.
But crops such as beets, carrots, and bush beans will keep their quality for longer periods of time, meaning you can plant them every few weeks versus weekly while still maintaining quality.
Tips for a Successful Garden
1.) Plant vegetables that thrive in your climate and during the time of year when it’s the correct weather for that variety.
2.) Plant at the correct spacing.
3.) Use succession planting to get continued harvests and make the best use out of your space. The Spruce website has a great article with tips on succession planting here if you’d like more information.
There are many things that will contribute to the success of your garden but doing these few things will make a huge difference.
If you’d like to learn more about gardening this book is my go to for everything vegetable gardening related! It is amazing!
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