Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Successful Succession

by Susan Littlefield

It's always exciting to get those first seeds planted in the ground. But don't put away your gardening gloves too soon! With many crops, you can keep on planting for a continued harvest of delicious, fresh vegetables. This is called succession planting and it's a great way to get the most out of your garden space -- plus continue the fun of sowing and growing!

Succession Strategies

There are several ways to go about succession planting. First, you can sow a small amount of seeds every few weeks for a continued harvest as long as the weather is suitable. This works great for extending the harvest of crops such as beans and salad greens.

You can plant early, mid-season, and late maturing varieties of one crop all at the same time. They will ripen in succession, providing you with a continued fresh harvest from one planting session. Try this with crops such as sweet corn and peas.

When a fast-maturing spring crop is harvested, follow it with a later-season crop, or follow a summer crop with a fall crop. The number of crops you can fit in depends on the length of your growing season and how quickly a crop matures. For example, spring spinach could be followed by tomatoes, which could be followed in turn by fall lettuce.

Interplanting is a good way to use your garden space efficiently and harvest the most in the least amount of space. Plant fast-maturing crops in among ones that mature more slowly. By the time the slower growers need the space, the fast growers will be harvested and gone. You can plant lettuce between your tomato plants or radishes in with your cabbages. You'll have harvested the lettuce and radishes by the time the tomatoes and cabbages need growing room.

Here are just some the many vegetable varieties we carry that are suitable for succession planting.

'Early White Vienna' Kohlrabi (55-60 days)-- Harvest the fine-textured green bulbs when they are about 2 inches in diameter.

'Ruby Red' Leaf Lettuce (53 days) --Slow bolting and resistant to heat and fading, this compact, red-pigmented variety is a good choice for summer crops.

Mizuna (40 days) --Great for mixed salads, this finely cut, slender-leafed salad green has a mild flavor and will regrow after cutting.

'Sugar Ann' Edible Pod Pea (56 days) --Early and stringless, this pea bears sweet, crisp, delicious pods, and the vine does not need trellising.

'Early Scarlet Globe' Radish (23 days) --The globe-shaped roots are deep scarlet with crisp, mild, white flesh.

'Nobel Giant' Spinach (43-46 days) --A slow-bolting variety, it has huge, smooth, triangular, dark green leaves.

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