A Comprehensive Guide For Succession Planting in The Garden

Succession planting in your backyard could seem daunting if you’re simply beginning out, however I’m right here to inform you, you are able to do it, and it’s price it.

At this time I’ll stroll you thru why succession planting is necessary, how finest to plan out your backyard plot and your season by the month and talk about how one can create your personal sowing schedule utilizing succession planting. Let’s dig in!

About Succession Planting

Succession planting, generally referred to as successive planting, is the intentional staggered planting of the identical crops in your backyard that may permit you to harvest repeatedly all through the season.

This manner of planting may also aid you prolong your season and permit you to develop completely different varieties acceptable for varied components of the season.

Why You Ought to Succession Plant

Succession planting permits for steady harvest and prevents illness and pest points.

Succession planting is nice for a lot of causes, together with the continual harvest of your favourite crops. It means that you can thwart illness or pest stress by shifting the crop to a brand new space of your backyard, and since some crops merely gained’t keep wholesome and completely happy all season, you can begin contemporary once more each few weeks!

Crops That Work Finest With Succession Planting

Relying in your rising zone and the way lengthy your gardening season is, you possibly can succession plant absolutely anything. Right here I’ll talk about 9 generally grown crops that may be grown successively and are simple to do if you’re new to this method.

Head Lettuce

Close-up of growing lettuce vegetables in the garden. Head lettuce produces beautiful, rounded heads consisting of rounded, broad, bright green leaves with a smooth, buttery texture.
Head lettuce is a perfect crop for newbies in succession planting.

If in case you have by no means succession planted earlier than, head lettuce is the right crop to start out with. There are numerous types of head lettuce, every with distinctive traits, a super finest time of 12 months to develop, and rising habits. You possibly can attempt a number of in a given season to see which of them be just right for you and which don’t.

When rising head lettuce, one factor to recollect is that the regrowth will rely upon the way you harvest. The choices are cut-and-come-again or slicing the entire head.


You possibly can harvest a number of leaves right here and there for sandwiches, and the plant will regrow. Select this manner should you don’t undergo loads of lettuce shortly or don’t have a lot rising area.

Two Methods to Harvest

Technique 1: Reduce the entire head out on the base

Slicing the stem under the floor gives you an entire head of lettuce, however no regrowth will occur. Select this manner should you plan to plant one thing else as an alternative.

Technique 2: Reduce the top above the rising tip

This gives you an entire head of lettuce and permit the plant to regrow itself.

A fantastic factor to recollect about lettuce varieties is there’s something for everybody available on the market as of late. Most seed corporations supply a filter for cold-tolerant and heat-tolerant rising situations, so you should definitely analysis and get what’s going to work finest for you all season lengthy.

Tango, Inexperienced Forest, and Rouge d’Hiver are unbelievable cold-tolerant choices, whereas Panisse, Crimson Cross, and Adriana are identified for his or her warmth tolerance and prolonged harvest home windows.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
4-8 weeks About 3 weeks About 4 weeks earlier than the primary frost

Professional tip: For those who develop in zones the place summers are sizzling and dry, attempt hooping your head lettuce and protecting it with a 30% black shade material. This can diffuse 30% of the solar’s UV rays and may decrease temperatures a number of levels beneath whereas nonetheless permitting correct airflow.


Close-up of growing cucumber plants in the garden. The plant forms upright vines, with large, broad, heart-shaped leaves, dark green in color, with a rough texture and serrated edges. The fruits are oblong, firm, covered with a shiny dark green smooth skin.
Succession planting is very really useful for cucumbers resulting from their productiveness and medium feeding wants.

Cucumbers are typically laborious employees, are medium feeders, and are susceptible to pest and illness stress, so succession planting is a superb choice for this crop. You would possibly even get fortunate and break the pest breeding cycle between successions. Apart from, who can have sufficient cucumbers?

Despite the fact that many cucumber varieties can be found with excessive illness resistance, crops are likely to peter out shortly if they’re picked closely, and situations aren’t excellent, so I discover that planting a number of successions per season affords the very best outcomes.

A number of of my favourite choices which have some resistance to downy mildew, powdery mildew, and cucumber mosaic virus are Max Pack pickling cucumber; Diva, which is a smaller, thin-skinned, and seedless selection excellent for each greenhouse and discipline rising; and Corinto, an amazingly productive slicing cucumber.

Professional tip: My normal rule of thumb is to sow the subsequent succession of cucumbers inside a number of days of transplanting out the earlier succession. If you’re behind on transplanting resulting from inclement climate, however your sowing schedule requires extra of a sure crop to be sown, push the date again, noting the rationale in your backyard journal. For those who proceed with the sowing, what would possibly find yourself taking place is you’ll have two successions very shut to at least one one other and find yourself with approach too a lot of that crop. 

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings Final really useful sow date
50-70 days 3-4 weeks 4-6 weeks earlier than the primary frost.

If in case you have a greenhouse and may set up crops earlier than it cools down within the fall, cucumbers is usually a nice producer, even in cooler rising climates.


Close-up of a gardener's hands in gray gloves holding a bunch of freshly picked carrots in the garden. The plant has long thin taproots and feathery green leaves. The leaves are arranged in a rosette shape and grow straight from the top of the carrot plant. They are finely divided into several leaflets that give them a delicate fern-like appearance. The roots are cylindrical, with narrowed tips, bright orange.
Homegrown carrots surpass store-bought in taste, requiring a number of successions for steady provide.

When evaluating store-bought to homegrown carrots, the flavour distinction is simple. The crunch and the juicy sweetness of a carrot pulled straight out of the earth is one thing all of us ought to get to get pleasure from for so long as we will.

Nonetheless, as it’s possible you’ll know, carrots take fairly a very long time to mature. Mark your calendars for about 75 days after sowing your seeds beneath excellent situations for full-sized carrots.

In USDA hardiness zones 7+, carrots may be sown as early as February. Basically, they are often sown about 3 weeks earlier than the final anticipated frost within the spring. Meaning you might get in 4-5 successions in a single season!

For those who reside in a reasonably sizzling rising zone, attempt an early carrot selection like Mokum, which matures extra shortly and tends to carry its sweetness even when it’s sizzling. For those who reside in zones 3-6, attempt getting your final sowing spherical to determine earlier than the primary frost. The chilly will sweeten up your carrots. You possibly can even attempt over-wintering carrots should you can preserve the critters away.

Though they’re technically thought-about cool climate crops, germination charges won’t be nice if the soil is just too chilly. So, preserve watch of your climate forecast when sowing early within the season, it doesn’t matter what zone you develop in. Sowing a brand new carrot succession each 3-4 weeks ought to provide you with a continuing provide for summer time snacking.

Professional tip: After direct sowing carrots, cowl them with a row cowl and water every day. Carrots require even moisture to germinate, so preserve this up till you see them beginning to sprout, which might take as much as 3 weeks. Take away the row cowl after germination.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
55-80, selection dependent 21-30 days About 3 months earlier than the final frost within the fall


Close-up of a tomato plant in a sunny garden with ripening fruits. The plant has pinnately compound leaves, consisting of oval green leaflets with serrated edges. The fruits are medium in size, round in shape, covered with a thin shiny skin of red-orange and green.
To maximise tomato manufacturing, think about planting each indeterminate and determinate varieties.

Tomatoes are within the floor for a very long time, so most gardeners will solely plant them in a single succession, particularly in rising zones 3-5, merely because of the shorter season.

Nonetheless, you might attempt beginning with planting indeterminate tomatoes and planting out determinate tomatoes a month or so later. This can permit you to get a flush of fruit in a brief period of time to course of them into objects like salsa, tomato sauce, or dried tomatoes whereas persevering with to have regular manufacturing of the indeterminate varieties.

To get extra bang in your buck, you might attempt taking a big slicing from considered one of your tomato crops mid-late season, pot it up instantly within the soil, or preserve in water till roots type, after which transplant it outdoors in about 2-3 weeks.

This course of is named propagation by cuttings. You may repeat this course of a number of occasions and check out overwintering your cuttings, supplying you with a head begin on spring plantings.

If you’re rising in a hotter local weather, your tomatoes will proceed to develop till the primary frost or till situations are not ideally suited, though development will sluggish when temperatures are cooler and days are shorter.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
50-85 days 4 weeks 60-80 days earlier than your first frost date, though not really useful in rising zones 3-5


Close-up of a growing radish in the garden. Radish plants have bright green leaves and crunchy, edible roots. The leaves of the radish plant are arranged in a rosette and grow straight from the root. They are oval, with a rough texture, with jagged edges. The roots of the radish are round, firm, edible, pink-red in color.
Radishes are perfect for succession planting, permitting for experimentation with varied varieties.

Radishes are one of many best and most dependable crops to develop successively. They’re very fast from sowing to reap, which implies you possibly can attempt a lot of completely different varieties in a single season or produce a lot of your favorites.

Among the finest features about radishes is that they’re so fast-growing and are such mild feeders that they are often sown alongside many alternative bigger, longer-growing crops corresponding to cucumbers, tomatoes, or summer time squash. This intercropping course of means that you can get two crops from one area!

Radishes are frost-tolerant as soon as established, however should you reside in cooler zones, it’s possible you’ll need to think about using a row cowl when newly sown to maintain the greens wanting good. For those who develop in zones 9+, radishes will do finest when grown fall-spring and won’t do effectively within the peak summer time warmth. Radishes require even moisture and like about one inch of rain per week.

If they don’t obtain this, they are going to start to separate, and shapes will grow to be misshapen as they stretch their roots searching for water. Additionally, ensure to not depart them within the floor after maturity, as they are going to grow to be pithy and inedible.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
3-5 weeks 2-3 weeks About 4-6 weeks earlier than the primary frost

Chilly-hardy Leafy Greens

Close-up of a growing spinach in a sunny garden. Spinach plants are distinguished by bright green delicate leaves. Spinach leaves are usually broad, flat and smooth, with a characteristic heart or arrowhead shape. The leaves are bright green in color and have a slightly wrinkled texture.
Succession planting of cool-weather greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula ensures steady harvest.

Cool-weather-loving and nutrient-dense greens corresponding to spinach, child Swiss chard, and arugula develop finest early season and late season when soil and air temperatures stay cooler.

When beginning with succession planting, plan for 2-4 successions within the spring (relying on zone) and 2-4 successions within the fall, as the height summer time warmth doesn’t deal with these guys effectively. Positive, we’d like to get pleasure from all of them season lengthy, however the first chew of spicy arugula every spring makes it definitely worth the wait!

Equally to go lettuce, you possibly can attempt rising leafy greens in the summertime in zones 5-7 through the use of shade material, however you should definitely present a lot of moisture, or they are going to possible bolt because of the stress.

Spinach is without doubt one of the quickest greens to bolt, particularly when there’s a dramatic enhance within the daytime warmth like a lot of america experiences in some unspecified time in the future within the spring. Excessive fluctuations in temperature will usually ship crops right into a tizzy and trigger them to ship seeds out.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
21-40 days 2-3 weeks This can take some trial and error. You need to cease sowing earlier than it will get sizzling within the spring and, as soon as it cools down within the fall, earlier than the primary frost.

Bush Beans/Cowpeas

Close-up of bean bushes in a sunny garden. The leaves of the bush bean are medium to dark green in color and consist of three leaflets arranged in an alternating pattern along the stem. The leaves are large, have a smooth surface and a slightly serrated edge. The pods are long, narrow, pale green in color.
Bush beans are productive and versatile, requiring a number of successions for steady provide.

Bush beans are extremely productive and one of many best crops to pickle or freeze for later consumption. They’re additionally nice uncooked as a wholesome snack. I’ve discovered that I prefer to put in a minimum of three successions every summer time. This helps to make sure I don’t run out.

Bush beans want soil temperatures between 70-80° for optimum germination. I sow these seeds in trays and preserve them on a warmth mat. Then I permit them to develop for about 2 weeks in my greenhouse earlier than transplanting them outdoors. As soon as planted outdoors, bush beans carry out finest when temperatures are 65-85°, making them a super spring-summer crop for a lot of rising zones.

As soon as once more, I’ll point out and suggest having shade material available within the occasion of a sudden enhance in temperature. If you’re rising in hotter rising zones, try Pinkeye Purple Hull Bush Cowpea or California Blackeye #5 Bush Cowpea varieties, that are extra tolerant to drier situations and better warmth.

Professional tip: If in case you have beetle stress, use insect netting to maintain them from laying eggs in your bush bean leaves. You may also attempt intercropping inexperienced onions or garlic, whose odor may assist deter pests. Planting tansy close by is one other nice choice!

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
50-75 days 3-4 weeks 10-12 weeks earlier than the primary frost

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap pea plants are climbing vines that produce delicate leaves and delectable pods. The leaves are bright green and consist of several pairs of leaflets, with a tendril emerging opposite each leaflet. The leaflets are oval, with a smooth texture and a slightly glossy appearance. The pods are plump, crispy and juicy. They are elongated, and slightly curved, bright green in color. Inside the pods, peas are arranged in rows.
Sugar snap peas are a pleasant crop that may be grown in a number of succession.

Right here’s one other crop I really feel I can by no means develop sufficient of. If I’m being sincere, I most likely eat greater than sufficient whereas I’m harvesting them! So what higher technique to have extra of a very good factor than to plant a number of successions of an amazing crop like sugar snap peas?

Fortunately for cooler zone growers, peas are one of many first issues you possibly can direct sow within the spring. They’ll deal with cooler and wetter situations than most others. Simply prep a mattress and create a trench down the middle or two trenches on both aspect of the middle.

Put a pea seed each inch or so, cowl them with soil, and gently tamp them down. After peas begin to emerge and develop to about 2-3 inches, add a fence so your peas might be supported as they develop up. Sow extra in about 3-4 weeks, so you could have a constant provide of sugar snap peas!

I all the time consider sugar snap peas being the actual intro to summer time crops, however don’t be afraid to attempt planting some within the later a part of summer time for a pleasant fall crop.

Professional tip: For those who solely need one mattress of peas however don’t need them to all are available concurrently, construct your fence and stagger your sowing alongside that fence. To actually maximize your area, plant lettuce alongside the sting of the mattress that may mature and be out earlier than your peas are full measurement.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
55-75 days 3-4 weeks or extra when shifting from spring to fall sowings 6-8 weeks earlier than the primary frost


Top view, close-up of a growing basil on a garden bed. Basil leaves are medium to large in size, bright green in color and have a smooth, slightly glossy texture. They are distinctly oval or lanceolate in shape and grow in pairs opposite each other on the stem.
Successive basil plantings forestall crop loss, using disease-resistant varieties and pest management.

All of us need to get pleasure from basil all season lengthy, proper? It so generously livens up early spring salads, may be eaten with the primary contemporary tomatoes as caprese, and can be utilized later within the season to season our tomato sauce we plan to freeze for winter consumption.

Nonetheless, basil can fall sufferer to numerous fungal ailments throughout notably humid summers or get chewed by beetles, so having a number of successions helps keep away from shedding the entire crop.

Fortunately, many basil varieties available on the market right this moment supply excessive illness resistance if that is one thing you battle with.

Relying in your basil consumption, 2-3 successions per season ought to suffice. Bear in mind, basil is extraordinarily delicate to chilly and can completely not survive frost. Maintain this in thoughts when planning out your sowing dates in your rising zone.

Wait till the possibility of frost is lengthy gone earlier than transplanting outdoors, and use row cowl on chillier nights. If you’re rising in hardiness zones 8 or 9, you possibly can sow your first succession of basil as early as February 1 or March 1, respectively. If you’re in zones 10 or 11, you possibly can develop basil all 12 months!

Professional tip: Basil is a superb companion to tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant, amongst many others. Their sturdy scent makes them a pure pest deterrent, and a few growers even imagine basil improves the expansion, efficiency, and taste of some companions, corresponding to tomatoes. Attempt planting every succession with one thing new and be aware of the outcomes.

Time to maturity** Time really useful between sowings* Final really useful sow date
65-70 days however may be harvested a lot sooner 3-4 weeks 6-8 weeks earlier than the primary frost

*The time really useful between sowings is simply an estimate and can rely upon how lengthy your rising season is and the dimensions of your successions every time you sow.

This can rely in your want for every crop. It’s going to even be based mostly in your outcomes, you possibly can regulate how a lot you sow every time. The fantastic thing about creating your personal succession planting sowing schedule is that you would be able to change it in actual time.

**The times to maturity are rising zone and selection dependent

Easy methods to Plan Your Backyard With Succession Planting

Top view, close-up of a man's palm with a handful of seeds on a blurred background of a garden bed. Seeds are small, brown. In the garden bed there are various seed bags and a large black watering can.
Plan your backyard by gathering seed data, making a map of plots, and growing a sowing schedule.

Upon getting selected crops you’d prefer to develop, collect your seeds so you could have entry to the knowledge on the seed packets. Then draw a map of your backyard plots/raised beds. Embody mattress width and size in inches or toes. This data might be necessary when planning how a lot area you want for every succession.

Now you’re going to create a sowing schedule that may embrace the crops you’ll be rising. It ought to embrace the times to maturity, the typical first date of harvest, and maybe most significantly, the size of time in your season that you really want every crop accessible for harvest. This data will aid you determine how lengthy between successions you’d prefer to plan for.

Bear in mind to rotate your crop households the very best you possibly can every season and subsequent 12 months to maintain illness and pest stress at a minimal.

This may also preserve your soil from being completely depleted of 1 nutrient. Basically, crops that keep within the floor for a very long time will take extra vitamins from the soil, and it’s necessary to know which vitamins as this allows you to replenish as wanted. Tomatoes and peppers are heavy feeders. Be certain that to amend your soil accordingly and soil check as wanted.

Making a Sowing Schedule Utilizing Succession Planting

Utilizing a spreadsheet app of your selection, create a easy desk. Begin with the fundamentals, corresponding to crop, selection, days to maturity, spacing suggestions, and the backyard space you intend to place every crop into. As you grow to be acquainted with the app and achieve expertise with succession planting, you possibly can add columns with different wanted data.

Every season, you possibly can tweak the sowing dates based mostly on previous expertise. As an illustration, should you had been sowing radishes each 4 weeks however have been operating out after 2.5 weeks, merely push the date up 7-10 days so you could have a steady harvest. I like to recommend including this data to the notes column so you possibly can reference the next season and know why you could regulate the sowing dates. The extra data, the higher!

Beneath is an instance of a primary sowing schedule earlier than many notes have been added.

basic sowing schedule table

And there you could have it! A sowing schedule at first of every season will aid you kick your season off on the appropriate foot. It’s going to aid you keep organized and preserve your entire plans and what really occurred in a single place.

Often Requested Questions

Sure! This can be a nice technique to trial new varieties and examine the leads to a season. For instance, when you have two sorts of zucchini that you just wish to attempt, sow some seeds of the primary selection throughout your first succession and a few seeds of the second in your subsequent succession. Take notes on germination, development, true date to maturity, yields, and so forth. This can assist jog your reminiscence when it comes time to order seeds for subsequent season.

Sure, this is a superb technique to reap the benefits of your area. Attempt popping inexperienced onions in between your lettuce heads. They are going to be prepared to reap across the similar time, and also you’ll get two crops out of 1 plot!

You may also plant basil together with your tomatoes, radishes alongside your cucumbers, and head lettuce by the center of a long-season inexperienced corresponding to kale or chard. The radishes might be harvested earlier than the cucumbers begin to vine out, and the top lettuce might be harvested earlier than the greens shade them out.

Last Ideas

For those who’ve ever thought of succession planting, let this season be the one you begin. It’s an amazing alternative to attempt new varieties, prolong your season and actually reap the benefits of your backyard area.

One of the simplest ways to start out a sowing schedule is to start out after which add particulars that make sense for you. Maintain a lot of notes and even take footage to vividly recall annually. This can aid you keep in mind what labored and what didn’t so you may make every subsequent season even higher.

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