Understanding Succession Planting

Posted · 16 Comments

Good Morning Garden Soldiers!  This is part 4 of our gardening series, Succession Planting.  Succession planting is a method of staggering your planting in order to extend your harvest.  It’s through succession planting that we learn what grows during what part of the season.Some plants take all summer to produce their crop where others will only grow in cooler weather.  Careful planning will allow us to grow a succession of plants in the same place throughout the season to maximize the production.  This is especially important to those of us with small spaces.

There are a few different methods of succession planting

1. Staggering the same crop (planting the same crop in different intervals of time) – Using this method, you will plant the same crop 2-3 weeks apart in order to continue your harvest.  I utilize this method in early spring with my radishes and peas.  once a row of radishes has faded, I usually replace with a warm weather crop such as beans.  I also utilize this method with my warm weather crops such as beans.

2. Different vegetables, from cool to warm weather. With this method, we are simply planning our garden to utilize our space efficiently.  We are purposely planting cool weather vegetables in the spring with intent to replace them with warm weather crops as soon as they fade.  For example, peas are a cool weather plant.  Once the warm weather sets in, they will need to be pulled and replaced with a warm weather crop that can tolerate the heat, such as beans, eggplants, or cucumbers.

3. Planting the same vegetable with different maturity rates. Many people use this technique with tomatoes.  Planting different variety of tomatoes with different maturity rates can guarantee you’ll have a harvest of tomatoes throughout the months of July-September.  For Example, early girl tomatoes should be one of the first to produce.

Before we start planning our garden with succession plantings we need to understand and learn which plants are cool weather crops with a short production and which are warm weather crops with an extended production.

Cool Weather (Spring Planting)
Crops that occupy the ground only the first part of the season

*these crops will extend into the summer longer than others.

  • Peas
  • Beets
  • *Early Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • *Onion Sets
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • *Broccoli
  • *Cauliflower

Warm Weather

crops that occupy the ground the major portion of the season
  • Bush and Pole Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Muskmelons
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Swiss Chard

Cool Weather (Fall Planting)
Crops to be planted in July or later for fall and winter gardens

  • Bush Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Collards
  • Lettuce

I’m sure I’ve left some veggies out, but this gives you a good idea of what is growing when.  Now that we understand succession planting it’s time to start our seeds and start planning our vegetable gardens.  I’ll actually be ordering my seeds this week (I’m late, lol!) so next week we’ll go ahead and start our garden plan and I’ll reintroduce the process of starting your seeds at home from one of my posts from last year.  I’ll introduce different methods of gardening as well such as the square foot garden, raised beds, and container gardening.

If you have any questions at all up to this point, please let me know in the comments section below!  Now that I’m back from New York City, I’d like to regroup and think about how others can help with this series.  If you have any suggestions or ideas for a gardening blogging event, please let me know.  I would really like to set up a link within where we can start sharing what we are doing in our gardens from our own blogs.  Also a “Look What I Grew Badge” with a photo of each of us with something we have grown once that time comes!! I am so excited about this series and seeing what each of us is doing to grow our own organic veggies!

So until next week Garden Soldiers!!

Part 1: Ordering Seed Catalogs
Part 2: Understanding the differences between Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO, and Organic Seeds
Part 3: Planting Zones, Frost Dates, and Planting Calendars
Part 4. Understanding Succession Planting
Part 5. Spring Time is Near! It’s Time to Start Those Seedlings!
Part 6. Growing Seeds Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
Part 7. Tending your seedlings
Part 8. Methods of Urban Gardening

16 Responses to "Understanding Succession Planting"
  1. Dimitry says:

    No GMO in my garden.

  2. Ed Schenk@ Detroit Eats says:

    Great post! I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says:

    Great post! You have lots of great information here… Every time I read one of your garden posts, I get excited about my garden this summer!!

  4. Cristie says:

    I am so looking foward to spring to get my hand in the dirt. Thanks for the info and inspiration.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Genial post and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

  6. Bethany says:

    I think I've decided to give square foot gardening a try this year. I got several books from the library, including "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew, and am pretty convinced that is the best way to go! He talks a lot about succession planting too. Weird that I never thought of staggering planting before… it seems so obvious! lol So anyway, seed ordering is on the docket this week for me as well. I can hardly wait! :)

  7. Cookin' Canuck says:

    Very helpful post, Diana. My husband built me a wonderful raised bed this year and I would like to use it more efficiently this Spring and Summer.

  8. Hope says:

    Have you ever heard of lasagna gardening?

  9. Jennifer says:

    Having just a small spot that gets enough sun for gardening, we have to do succession planting. It is a great way to get more out of a small space.

  10. Rachael says:

    This post is printing out as I type this–SO helpful!

  11. Sustainable Eats says:

    diane – where are you at that you can grow beans in the fall? Here in Seattle I have to have all my fall/winter/spring crops in by mid summer or there aren't enough sun hours left for them to establish enough that we can eat from them over winter. And beans are a summer thing here for sure. Or maybe there is a variety I've not heard of that is cold tolerant?

    I grow all our veggies year round so that would be of particular interest to me! Because we eat a heck of a lot of overwintered carrots, kale, cabbage and collards in the winter since that is about all that continues to produce.

  12. Raine Saunders says:

    Great post Diana! I am so excited to start growing stuff this year. I read your other post about gardening with the links to seed companies, and that really got me motivated. I first read it some weeks back (I think that post was from January), and then in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "I really need to order my seeds soon!" Well, yesterday I ordered from Heirloom Acres site and I'm so looking forward to getting them in the mail.

    I am working on a post about my gardening experiences and although I'm a rookie, I'm so enthused and excited, and have one full successful year of gardening under my belt. I still have a lot to learn, and I'll be coming back to your posts about gardening frequently throughout the season. Thanks for the great information! Hope you and your family are doing well!

  13. juliecache says:

    I've been a cubed foot gardening since we moved here! nice article.

  14. jennifer says:

    I have a question about doing this in lets say a garden box. Could you do this in a garden box? Our yard is terrible, before we moved into the home where we currently live, the yard was sprayed with bottles and bottles of weed killer. We dont want to plant in it just yet so we are considering purchasing the garden in a box kits but I still was to do succession planting. What are you thoughts?


  15. Diana Bauman says:

    Jen, you can definitely do some succession planting in a grow box. I did this last year. I started one box by planting cucumbers and once they were done finished with some garden lettuce. You could do the same by planting an early spring green and switching either to a summer or late Fall crop. I LOVE my grow boxes by the way 😀 Best wishes!!

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