Succession Planting

Have you heard the term ‘succession planting’ and wondered what it means?  

Succession planting is the practice of planting crops at 7-21 day intervals to maintain a consistent harvest throughout the growing season.  Succession planting can also involve planting a new crop after the first crop has been harvested.  

Succession Planting May Be For You If:

  • If you are gardening in a small space  
  • If you have a larger garden but do not want to be overwhelmed with a harvest all at once
  • You want a consistent harvest of some of your favorite garden veggies all summer
  • You want to use your whole garden space all summer long

What Crops Works Best for Succession Planting?

  • Lettuce (Cut & Come again; Whole head)
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Kohlrabi
  • Peas
  • Bush beans
  • Beets
  • Endive
  • Arugula
  • Carrots
  • Swiss Chard

Examples of Succession Plantings

  • You wish to harvest fresh lettuce all summer long.  You begin the season with a frost tolerant variety such as ‘Winter Density’ that you harvest the whole head from.  You plant several seeds one week apart to have one head of lettuce per week.  When one head of Winter Density is harvested, it is replaced with a heat tolerant variety like ‘Slobolt’ or ‘Summertime.’  One could also plant ‘Cut & Come Again’ types of lettuce one week apart for a constant harvest.
  • You wish to maximize your gardening space.  Plant a quick growing crop like radishes 30 days before you’d like to plant your tomatoes.  In the Belgrade, MT area you would be planting radishes on May 1st, harvesting around June 1st and then planting tomatoes or peppers in the same place that you just removed the radishes from.

Green Thumb Tips

There are many possibilities with succession planting–even in short growing seasons like Gallatin Valley.  Additionally, there are countless different varieties of the crops listed above with a range of qualities.  Before purchasing a variety, make sure it fits into your succession planting scheme.  

 

Keep in mind that fertilizing between crops is going to be an integral part of producing a high volume of food.  Since you’re growing more than one crop during the season, each crop is pulling out nutrients from the soil.  The nutrients need to be replaced for the next crop.

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