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Maximizing Your Vegetable Garden Harvest with Succession Planting

Updated: Jan 30

As the days grow longer and the weather begins to warm up, the anticipation of spring vegetables filling our gardens is truly exciting. Kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, Swiss chard, seed potatoes, and onions – the list goes on. Filling your entire garden with these delightful crops all at once is tempting. But before you do, let's talk about a gardening practice that can help you make the most of your harvest season: succession planting.

Succession planting is a straightforward yet highly effective technique that involves planting different crops in the same space at various times to ensure a continuous harvest. In this article, we'll delve into the specifics of succession planting, focusing on practical tips to make your vegetable garden thrive.


1. Know Your Crops

Understanding which crops are suitable for succession planting is crucial. Some vegetables, like potatoes, tomatoes, and squash, are typically planted once in a growing season. These are known as single-crop plants.


2. Choose Fast Maturing Crops

For a successful succession planting strategy, opt for fast-maturing crops. Leafy greens, annual herbs, and some root crops are ideal candidates. These vegetables reach maturity relatively quickly, allowing you to replant and keep your garden productive.


3. Consider Planting from Starts

Planting from starts, which are young plants already established in pots or trays, can accelerate your harvest. Starts tend to mature faster than crops grown from seeds.


4. Monitor Soil Temperatures

Most seeds require soil temperatures of around 50-55ºF to germinate successfully. However, starts are more forgiving and can tolerate slightly cooler soil conditions. Monitor your soil temperature to determine when to sow seeds or transplant starts.


5. Pay Attention to Day Length

The lengthening of daylight hours also plays a role in succession planting. Consider the time between plantings based on day length. For instance, lettuce seeds may take 60 days to mature when planted in March but only 30 days when planted in May due to increasing daylight.


6. Choose Cold-Tolerant Varieties

To ensure a successful succession planting season, select vegetable varieties that can withstand lower temperatures and possible frosts, especially at the beginning or end of the season.


7. Adapt to Seasonal Changes

Switch to heat-tolerant varieties as summer arrives to prevent bolting and bitterness in your leafy crops. These varieties are better suited for the rising temperatures.


8. Plan for Fall and Winter

Don't forget about fall and winter crops like Brussels sprouts and cabbage. These should be planted using starts in late July or early August from seed or in late August or September. Planning ahead for the colder seasons will extend your harvest.


In summary, succession planting is a practical approach to making the most of your vegetable garden. By choosing suitable crops, considering soil temperatures and day length, and being mindful of seasonal changes, you can ensure a continuous harvest throughout the growing season. So, as you prepare to plant your garden, remember the value of succession planting, and enjoy a bountiful harvest from your well-managed garden beds. Happy gardening!

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