QUESTION: What is succession planting and should I try it? I heard something about how you get more out of your garden that way, which sounds great. But why do you get more out of it? – Yvonne P
GARDENING CHANNEL REPLIES: Succession planting is a way of staggering out your planting process to prolong your harvest and avoid being overwhelmed by too large of a harvest at any given time.
This is especially important for crops which don’t preserve well. It’s also important to note that succession planting works best for determinate crops.
Succession planting is commonly thought of planting a crop every two weeks. In reality, some crops do best when planted once per week, some once every two to three weeks, some once per month, and some planted up to three times throughout an entire growing season.
The type of plant you’re growing, its time to maturity, and how much you enjoy the plant will determine how frequently you should succession plant.
Also, some people consider succession planting as planting the same item within specific intervals. In reality, you may succession plant various crops.
For instance, if you start by succession planting lettuce for a few weeks and realize you’ll have enough lettuce to sustain you for a while, you may wish to start growing something else.
After you harvest the lettuce, you may plant a different crop in its place even though the growing season for lettuce hasn’t ended yet. This is still considered succession planting.
Overall, succession planting is a way of sowing seeds to ensure you don’t harvest everything at one time.
The next question is: Is succession planting right for you? This will depend upon what you’re growing, where you’re growing, and your intent for your crops.
If you’re growing your crops in an area with a shorter growing season, it may not be wise to succession plant. In extremely cold climates, it’s important to get your crops in the ground and to mature before the cold weather comes back.
Yet, if you’re in a growing location with a longer growing season, then succession planting may be a good option for you.
Next, consider what you’re growing. Again, if you’re racing a clock and your crop doesn’t have a fast maturity rate, don’t risk it.
If you’re an avid canner who likes to get your food preserved promptly, then succession planting may not be for you either. If you’re someone who likes to take your time with preserving food, then succession planting may make this easier for you.
Finally, this growing method also allows you to get greater utilization out of your growing space. You may wish to consider this growing method if you have a smaller garden area that you need to get the maximum amount of use from.
In summary, succession planting is a way to stagger the planting of determinate crops over a growing season.
In turn, this prolongs the harvest which may allow you to get more use out of a smaller garden space, keep up with food preservation easier, but may also cause challenges for those in a planting zone with a shorter growing season.
Succession planting may not be right for everyone. Utilize this information to decide if this growing method is right for you.