4 Types of Succession Planting – REGENERATIVE.com

4 Types of Succession Planting

Succession planting is a useful technique for maximizing the vegetable yield from a permaculture plot. Used in vegetable plantings it can mean that you can harvest a number of crops across the whole growing season – and avoid having a glut as when everything ripens simultaneously. A bit of planning before planting can ensure that you have access to fresh vegetables for as long as possible through the year, and that you are not overwhelmed with any one crop. Furthermore, succession planting also reduces the risk of crop failure, as you don’t have all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. If you have single crop with all specimens planted at the same time, a period of adverse weather or a pest insect population bloom could leave you with nothing for the whole season. Succession planting, therefore, is not only efficient; it is a safeguard for providing you and your family with a consistent supply of vegetables from the permaculture garden.

With any of these methods, there are several variable factors that you need to consider before you decide what and when to plant. The first, and arguably most important, factor is the length of the growing season. Analyze the climatic conditions in your geographical location, as well as the microclimate effects in the planting areas. If you live in an area that has short summers and long, cold winters, you choices of succession crops will differ from a permaculture gardener whose plot experiences long summers and mild winters. The choice of plants is the second important consideration for a successful harvest. If, for instance, your growing season is short you may choose quicker growing vegetables such as radishes, salad greens and spinach, or species that can handle a light frost, such as arugula, so you can still harvest edible produce even when the temperature drops. Consider also, that some vegetables, such as carrots, beets, peas and beans can be harvested before they are fully mature. These ‘baby vegetables’ are ideal for succession planting, and have a deliciously different taste from their mature contemporaries. As a general rule, whatever your local conditions, you are looking for varieties that grow reasonably quickly and mature to a harvestable crop fast. It can pay to research varieties of vegetable that you may not typically think of for a conventionally grown bed, as more exotic species, such as bok choi can make excellent succession plats.

Different Crops in Succession
The first method involves planting an area with one crop then following it with a crop of a different species that will be suited to the changed conditions later in the growing season. For instance, a planting of a crop that matures in the cooler temperatures of spring, such as cabbage or peas, might be followed by a crop that will benefit from the higher temperatures and increased sun exposure of summer in order to mature, such as eggplant.

Same Crop in Succession
This takes the same timing principle and applies it to a single crop. It is a good method if you have a lot of seed of one type of vegetable, or you need access to fresh produce of a certain species over a longer period of time, perhaps if you run a food business.

Staggered plantings of the crop are made at regular intervals so that they mature at different dates giving you a continuous crop. Salad greens are commonly used in this method. Plant rows of lettuce two weeks apart. By the time you get to your fourth or fifth row, the first will be ready to harvest, with the subsequent rows maturing in order.

Different Crops Simultaneously

This method only requires a single session of planting, albeit of different varieties of vegetable. The succession aspect comes from the different maturation dates of the crops, meaning that harvesting is staggered rather than planting. This method is sometimes called ‘intercropping’ and involves planting two or more crops on the same garden bed that will mature at different rates while not causing a detrimental effect to the other species. An example would be planting kale and lettuce together. The lettuce matures faster than the kale, and it is ready to harvest before the kale gets too big to shade the lettuce out and inhibit growth. Then, once the lettuce has been harvested, the kale has extra room in which to grow into fully mature specimens.

Same Crop, Different Varieties
Similar to intercropping, this method, instead of planting different species of vegetable together in the same bed, uses different varieties of succession plantingthe same vegetable with different rates of maturation. This is beneficial if you have specific soil or microclimate conditions that are particularly suited to a certain type of crop. An example would be tomatoes. You can plant a garden bed with a range of tomato varieties, from small cherry tomatoes that ripen early in the season and continue producing fruit until early fall to large oxheart tomatoes that, being larger, take longer to mature and offer harvestable fruit from late summer to lat fall.

It can be a good idea to keep a spreadsheet of your succession planting so you know which species were planted at which time and when they should be viable for harvesting. You can also note down when the next planting should take place, as well as important information such as the date of the first frost. Add in when you harvested each crop and the condition of the produce. That way you can make adjustments as necessary for the next year. With several years of succession planting under you be you should be better able to predict harvest dates and weather events.

It is also advisable to rotate crops through your permaculture plot over several years. By avoiding planting the same vegetables in the same location in successive years, you prevent soil diseases and populations of pest insects building up. Ideally, you don’t want to plant the same species in the same location more often than every three years.

150 comments
Lou

Great article, it will serve me well, now and in the future. Thanks for posting

Eduardo

Good advice, many posibilities make for better choices.

doesn’t work in regions with short growing season

That is a great article!

really short growing seasons- you are right. It’s full steam ahead to get as much as possible while it is possible- especially if most of it is to be put up. Somethings can’t be preserved and are best fresh- like lettuce. We’re in zone 5b- so still enough time to do succession planting of several crops.

Beautiful vegetable garden .

Farmers can exercise succession planting schemes on their acreage to ensure a constant supply of vegetables throughout the year. But this high intensity farming method requires a lot of preparation and knowledge of plants and cropping techniques. Succession planting extends the harvest season because you either stagger planting times for a single crop or plant a different crop after one is harvested.

Love the process!

How do you harvest when everything is frozen solid, and what sprouts when it’s under 30 degrees for weeks on end.

^that’s why it’s “for as long as possible” instead of “all the time” or “year round”, Tim – and although I haven’t read the article completely yet – if you have the space / facility for it, there’s plenty of stuff that can be done for those weeks on end when it’s cold – seeds can be started at that time so that you have thriving plants to put out when the weather warms rather than waiting for everything to start from that point; and you’d also be surprised how soon some plants can be put out in cold frames in spring. 🙂

Hot boxes and row covers.

yes I have done this. here in texas one can plant a garden in the spring and in the fall. I just harvested 30 pounds of tomatoes. and I have onions, 3 types of lettuce, beets, carrots, brocolli, kale and cabbage in the ground right now. .

in the north, i can plant 3-4 successions of green beans.. well- i used to be able to, not the last two years of short cool summers… spinach, lettuces, all get replanted during the season.. we hve a rather short season, it seems, lately

start with rhubarb, asparagus, green onions, lettuce

cabbage, kale, collards, swiss chard, carrots, onions, garlic, now,
lots of lettuce, spinach, spring/fall,
but my best is Amaranth producing lots and lots of green during summer heat to firs frost

i try to do this

I’ll check these out

Antonia Wallace

Robert

Just that-sprouts! Some of the best sprouts I have Ever seen were grown for 200 days under snow and ice! This long season produces the same size of sprout that you can get in much less time, yet this Canadian farm’s sprouts have up to ten times the nutrition of short season sprouts.

I think it is the best way to use a small garden space. My plan this year has 3 crops per bed…Spring, summer and fall and some spring crops like lettuce, peas and spinach will be a continual plant before being replaced by summer crops.

Every year greens & herbs are replaced with tomatoes which are replaced by squash which are replaced by peppers & eggplants . Every year I move that crop to the next bed like musical gardens….

I think anyone that applies permaculture would automatically apply the basics of succession planting. This especially applies to anyone that has a smaller garden since succession planting maximizes space. Perhaps the better question would be, what type of succession planting to you use? My answer to that would be, I use all 4 approaches simultaneously or at different and/or overlapping times. Basically, I go with the flow, the seasons and my tastebuds.

Pete S. Netherton for later reading!

Interesting!

It was a way of life for my dad , he grew lots of produce.

Great info ! Thanks for sharing it <3

Colleen Gary

Succession planting is tricky here in our very short season (northern ND), but it will work with things like radishes that are very quick to produce and crops such as carrots and kale that can stay in the garden after cold weather returns.

Very tricky here in WA! Works with lettuce.

I have let many things seed out and have a natural succession fro may of my greens, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. They seem to know when to sprout!

Nick Nielsen, doesn’t this look like my back yard?… next season?

For 33 years… And companion planting too!

Krista Gaudio this is what I want us to do

i love gardening

Wow, I could look at this picture all day

Bucky DaVega

Been doing it for 17+ years, it’s the only way to grow food

I love this place and want to live here.

The Utica Community Gardens practice succession planting companion planting and rotation planting with great success.

where in Utica are the gardens Cassandra?

one of the most dramatic succession plantings I do, is basil following green/sugar snap peas-thanks to the nitrogen fixing qualities of the peas the basil grows monster big-the only down side is it takes so long to pick the flowers off because there are just sooooo many of them…I know, I can hear ya’ll saying, “awwww, what a horrible problem to have”….truthfully, its probably the best smelling job in the garden

Absolutely. Raised beds filled with organic growing medium.: composted horse manure. The first one just off of the corner of Linwood Place at Eagle Street.

The second is on Jay Street between Mohawk and Hubble.

Poggioli Rob

Destiny Hunt- ideas…….

always, except for long-season crops.

Anyone out there in organic gardening land love TowerGarden? ???
You can grow 12 months/ year indoors and outdoors.

So Joan Blackhall, this is your project for next Spring ??? In your back yard???

Maybe if I were still in Ohio….not out here!!…looks like something you and Kathie should do in Wakeman…lots of fresh produce for your cooking projects!!

It’s a look like

What is permaculture

/I have done a form of this over the years, I call it lasanga planting, my friends call it my jungle feast!

I have got to check into this. I’m liking it.

Jennifer Sereno

Robert Paul Griffiths

We call it ‘recession’ planting.

only some vegetables,….and using a greenhouse for year round harvesting.

sugar snap peas went in early, followed by squash, zucchini and peppers before the peas were completely spent, then more peas for a late crop in the fall. the good thing about no till gardening is its easy to get the next crop started before the last one comes out..

Mae Edwards, do you plant the basil before you pull the pea plants? I will definitely have to try basil in my peas..

Love that garden (garden envy).

nice garden

WE do this in our Market Gardens.

What real food looks like!

I have been so unsuccessful growing anything.

I have NEVER see a garden that looks like that. So don’t expect it. Florida has two garden seasons, so plan should work.

Beautiful!!!!!!

Have you done this?

My friend Lou Anne taught my daughter and I all about succession planting a few years ago. Here in Costa Rica our gardens can look that the one in the pictures!

Yes… carrots were seeded last as they can take 2 season’s to produce seed- so they were seeded in August 2014 in Canada and are still growing under their blanket of snow in Zone 3a- the end of May 2015 – is when I hope I will be able to harvest all 11 varieties of Heirloom Carrot seeds 😉

We have a very short growing season so I just throw it all in at the same time and lots of it!! Then I dry, can, freeze and put in cold storage whatever I get. I do plant radishes and lettuce/spinach a few different times though before the season is over.

yes, but not on this scale! (photo). I do lettuce and herbs so that I’ll have them from early spring to fall in my home garden. I also do intensive and 4-square gardening. I find that with intensive gardening succession gardening is hard because the larger plants over shadow the new ones. Any advice?

I want to live here!!

HAS ALWAYS WORKED IN MINE

Thanks Eric!

Ohhhh yes!!! I have

Neil Jasmin Campbell!

Good to know… And Gorgeous enough to share on Garden Gossip… <3

I had good luck with cool weather plants like lettuce, radishes and spinach

You should see my yard where I grow me tea !!!! Maukatea.com!! I have layers of food large citrus and spice trees like cinnamon , all spice, bay leaves , lower canopy on camilla senisis , and ground level herbs and mints like lemon grass, mint, anise , rosemary !!! Best and most beautiful way to produce food 🙂 aloha!

Stan Chmelyk

I’m a commercial grower for the last 30 years. I know that things don’t always go add you plan. But always good to space your crop. I supply the NZ Cambridge farmers market now for 5 years and doing quite well with a continues supply. Still there are surprises.

I wanna do this & Hugels at Spirit Mountain Ranch.

Sarah Tonin

Nicole Dymond check out this page. X

Most beautiful!

Tomatoes get planted in the middle of my actively growing spinach. As tomatoes groe, they shade the spinach and let it grow a little longer.

Carmen Trotter

Sharing this gives a fantastic 64 page e-book download. Thanks Rosmarie!

I’m going to have to look at this! Thanks for sharing……

Thank you for sharing

You could feed a neihborhood like this!

Andy Roberts and Morrill Nason!

I clicked on this link because I thought it was going to an article. I don’t do ebooks 🙁

i wish this was my farm

that looks ok!

Sarah Evans Horn

Following. I have never been very successful with this.

I would love to have this much space to garden in!

Michael Noveroske

Must be nice to not have herds of deer eating this lovely garden!

Check it out

Or the seasons of wind, 14 degrees mid May, blistering heat, then hail.

I love you guys…Can you keep it to 6 pcs a day. You are feeding us too much info and it is becoming a blurr

Fresh, veggies love them.

Want to learn more about this

Beautiful garden, I do remember my parents gardens in SC.

Tamee N Luis Perales

Like this

My ideal garden.

Hay que belleza!!.. Love it…

I want to

I grew up with a garden like this,beneath the garden was the orchard of apple,cherry,and plum trees.we had bees.i still have a garden.brussel sprouts and kale now

Not sure what you would call my gardening techniques. I call edible chaos.

good one

Would like to try it out when the good opportunity pops up.

Remember to feed your soil. It feeds you, return the favor

regardez mon jardin en 2015 cé beaux hein essayer de battre

I want to love there

Whoops live

Zoë Smith Zack Hutchinson

Definitely into doing it along these lines this year. We planned our garden fairly well last year but we’ll probably go even farther this year.Thanks for the link Connie!

I plant in row that are built up 12″ by 3′ they work great

No but I will

At the farm we have bunnies lots of them …..to feed the soil ,sounds interesting

We started doing this when I was a child. They did not have a name for it then. They just called it “smart planting.”

Not everybody was lucky enough to grow up on a farm. It’s good to have this knowledge available. Thanks.

my dream garden

Why yes I have in Snohomish Washington

Anonymous

Love this article

Anonymous

People if you have the space put up a greenhouse. They’re getting cheaper everyday. You can build your own and by the cover. Then you can grow year round

Anonymous

I am in an a apartment situation -, so don’t waste your time and money
. If I still lived in Woodford I would probably be involved. So leave me out.

Sierra Brose

Velas garden, Toni Phillips

Can I put lobster shells in my garden that I just finished eating

Nathan Bailey

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