Utilizing as much space as possible in the garden is a top priority for many home gardeners. Succession planting is one of the best techniques to use for reaching that goal. Planting seeds or plants weeks apart from each other guarantees a prolonged harvest. Instead of a single large (and maybe a little overwhelming) harvest, this method produces multiple easy-to-manage yields to keep you in the harvest longer. Here are some of MIgardener's top tips for getting the most from your garden!
Let's get started!
Prolong Your Growing Season
No matter how far north you are, you can extend your growing season with a few simple structures. Frost fabric, cold frames, shade cloth, greenhouses, or starting seeds indoors are wonderful ways to keep the season going. These structures will allow you to utilize the full-time frame of your growing season as well as taking on weeks before and after your typical season for a longer harvest.
Sow Seeds in Intervals
Harvest a single crop multiple times by planting seeds in intervals. Planting groups of seeds 7-21 days apart will allow plants to grow a constant harvest. Once every plant gives a harvest, you can decide if replanting is necessary. Plant a lot of what you love with this technique! Many families find planting staple crops in successions like beans, peas, lettuce, and even summer squash to be the most beneficial. If you don't want to plant weeks apart, look for varieties that are early, mid, and late-ripening types and plant them all at once!
Succession planting can also be used to avoid weather spikes. Alternating a spot in the garden can allow you to harvest off crops that like different temperatures. For instance, you can start your season with a cool-weather crop like peas. Transition to a warmer weather crop like summer squash, and once that finishes up, you can transition back to a cool-weather crop such as kale to utilize the space constantly throughout the season.
Succession planting is not just for large-scale farmers. Many of the methods used by farmers can be downsized to accommodate a home garden. For example, many farmers use a "trap crop" method of preventing pests. If any of the succession planted crops don't succeed in your garden, leave them for the pests to distract them from the healthier plants down the line.
Replace The Nutrients!
Remember to amend between crops to keep soil vitality high for each harvest. When growing multiple rotations in one spot, you need to consider using resources in your soil. Replenishing azomite and trace minerals used up after each crop will help the next planting succeed. Topdress each round of plants with compost and add a serving of fertilizer to each crop.
What Should I Plant In Succession?
Greens: Arugula, corn salad (mache), endive, kale, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, bok choi, spinach, swiss chard, tatsoi, broccoli rabe
Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, chicory
Roots: beets, carrots, radishes, rutabaga, turnips
Beans: All the beans! Bush or pole both grow fantastically in succession.
Bonus: kohlrabi, summer squash
Tip: Planting in blocks instead of rows helps to keep the order of succession plants. Along with having a wider selection of plants to choose from for your next rotation. For example, planting in a block allows me to plant a zucchini plant after my radishes!
– Kaitlynn from MIgardener
Did you enjoy this post? MIgardener is passionate about sharing free gardening tips and information! If you are looking for inspiration in the garden, make sure to check out our Pinterest page. Check us out at MIgardener.com or on youtube, Instagram, and Facebook.