|Succession seed starting in pots|
Sunday, April 12, 2015
A key strategy to getting the most out of your garden space and harvests is to leverage succession planting. Never have an empty spot. Be ready as soon as you harvest one plant or crop to fill the space with its replacement. When you do plant, don't plant all at once so that your plants come to maturity one after another versus all at once. And plant different varieties with different maturity dates. All these strategies will significantly boost how much your garden gives you!
Planning is key. You will need to lay out your garden bed by each season so you can see what you need when. As soon as the cool season crops like lettuce, beets, spinach, radishes and carrots are spent, it will be time to replace them with warm season crops like beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash.
To lengthen the harvest of each vegetable, you should also stagger your planting through the season.
Here is a list of succession planning by vegetable for continuous harvests:
Beets-every two weeks
Bush Beans-every two weeks
Pole Beans-give continuous harvests naturally
Broccoli-best accomplished by planting types with different maturity dates
Cabbage-best accomplished by planting types with different maturity dates
Carrots-every 2 weeks
Cauliflower-best accomplished by planting types with different maturity dates
Chard-give continuous harvests naturally
Corn-best accomplished by planting types with different maturity dates
Cucumbers-once after last frost and then 2 months later
Eggplant-give continuous harvests naturally
Lettuce-every two weeks (be sure to switch to heat tolerant varieties a month after your last frost)
Peppers-give continuous harvests naturally
Spinach-every two weeks until last frost
Tomatoes-best accomplished by planting types with different maturity dates; indeterminate varieties give continuous harvests naturally
Zucchini-once after last frost and then 2 months later
Another thing to keep in mind is how much a plant produces. Some vegetable plants will give you continuous harvests and some will give you only one or two vegetables (like corn). Dwarfs are also a great idea for small garden spaces and containers. Here is more on maximizing harvests: This year's garden plan and How do you decide what to plant for small spaces??
Happy, productive gardening!