In this gardening video, we show you how to stagger your vegetable crops with succession planting so you get a bigger harvest from your space!
What is Succession Planting?
Succession cropping means planting one crop immediately after an earlier crop has finished to keep the harvests coming.
Filling gaps in the garden soil as soon as crops are harvested will maximize the amount of food you can grow.
Keeping the soil covered by growing crops for as much of the year as possible also helps to suppress weeds, and protects the soil from wind and rain erosion.
Learn how to plan succession crops and which crops are best for growing this way. Plus, we offer some tips for successful summer sowing whatever your climate
Preparing for Succession Planting
Vegetables that can be followed with a successional crop include:
- bush beans,
- early potatoes
- many salad greens
After the first crop is finished and removed, weed then rake the soil. You can add a thin layer of compost if you feel your soil needs a boost. You can then plant young plants or seeds straight away. The warm soil and high light levels will help these second crops of the season to quickly grow.
Some crops may need to be planted out as young plants from sowings made earlier on, or from transplants, to ensure they reach harvesting stage before the season ends. These include many of the cabbage family plants such as kale, cauliflower and cabbage, plus Florence (bulbing) fennel, beets and lettuce. Some will be harvested in the fall, while others will give a small crop in winter before the main harvest in spring.
Plants to grow from seed include chard, Oriental vegetables such as bok choy, herbs like parsley and cilantro, and salad greens such as endive, spinach and arugula.
Planning for Succession Crops
Our Garden Planner’s Succession Planting feature can help you to plan where to sow your successional crops. Double-click on a crop to bring up the Plant Edit box, then set the dates it will be in the ground. Repeat for all your crops.
You can then view your garden plan in a particular month and quickly see where gaps appear when earlier crops are harvested. Use the Filter button to the left of the plant selection bar to narrow down the choice of crops for starting off in that month: either choose to show only those suitable for sowing or planting by month, or select the ‘Suitable for Fall Planting/Harvesting’ button.
Some crops, such as leafy vegetables and salad greens, need cooler soil temperatures to germinate. You can help cool the soil down by watering into seed drills before sowing. Sow under shade cloth, or sow into pots in a shady part of the garden to plant out once the soil has cooled towards the end of summer.
Some plants, such as many cabbage family plants, can struggle in the heat. Shade cloth will help.
If you love growing your own food, why not take a look at our online Garden Planner which is available here: https://gardenplanner.almanac.com