Imagine doubling or even tripling your garden harvest without enlarging your garden space. This can be done through succession planting. Succession planting is a way to grow many vegetables, without the disadvantage of having a lot of vegetables maturing all at one time.
This is usually considered in the spring garden, and I will come back to it then. But succession planting, as I alluded to in an earlier post, can successfully be done in the fall garden.
Remember, in the fall garden, we are working against a deadline of the first fall frost, when the garden, except for a few winter-hardy plants, will be done for the year.
If you have been following along with our fall gardening series, you will already have looked at the seed packets for dates to maturity. With this information, you can plan multiple plantings before the first frost.
There are several types of succession planting. You can plant crops one after the other. You can plant the same crop, in a staggered planting. You can inter plant one crop with another. You can plant the same crop, but varieties with different maturity dates, some early, some later.
In the fall garden we have been discussing, you have planted several crops that will grow until the frost date. Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Kale, Parsley and Peas are the crops I suggested planting earlier. You can also plant another crop of these in the weeks ahead.
But now, in mid- to late-October, you can begin planting fast-maturing crops that will be harvested in waves. Each week until the frost, you can plant leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes and greens. Plant several of each plant, then next week, plant some more, the week after that, plant some more. Your first crop will be ready for harvest, and there will be several more crops in various stages of growth.
Beets and Cauliflower will go into the ground around this time. You can plant more beets every two weeks from now on. Plant carrots about every three weeks; these crops, being underground roots, can survive a frost, and be harvested later in the winter.
An idea to consider when you are planning a succession crop is: Replace what you harvest with other plants. Another method, more suited to fall, is to plant seedlings in trays about a month before the current crop in the ground is ready to harvest. Then, when you harvest the first crop, the second crop is already up and growing, giving you a head start on the second crop.
Be sure you are planting cool-weather crops, like lettuce and spinach, carrots or beets. Don’t bother with warm-weather crops, as they probably won’t be mature when the first frost comes in December.
Don’t delay—remember we re racing against the clock and mother nature in the fall garden. The sooner you can plant, the sooner you can get a harvest, and with succession planting, maybe several harvests.
So, tell me in the comment field below, what do you plant in the fall? What are your strategies to increase your harvest?