Succession planting is the process of planting one crop after another. This sometimes means planting something every two weeks (like bush green beans or lettuce) so that you can have a continuous supply. Other times it means the gardener (snarky or not) will plant something in the spring (like spinach or peas) and then when it peters out with the warming weather, put in something else (like corn or squash), then when summer comes to a close, grow fall crops (like turnips or mustard or spinach). For my garden, I do both with a preference for the spring/summer/fall system, as I like to grow as much as possible for as long as possible (insert smugness here).
Here’s an example with my summer potatoes and then my fall turnips, peas, and corn salad.
Here is my monthly garden progression so you get the idea of succession over a whole season.
In April, I decided to use Cascade bush peas to get my Three Sisters corn/beans/squash mounds started. They make a good spring time filler while the gardener waits for the temperatures to stabilize above freezing.
By the way, this was the first time I coerced my Three Sisters garden to actually work out in three years, with the beans going up the corn like they were supposed to instead not growing at all. Persistence pays off this time – yeah me.
The turnips in the top middle near the potatoes were totally accidental as I let one of my Purple Top turnips go to seed. I’ll try to use the same technique next year by moving some of my overwintered turnips (bottom left quadrant in September) to other parts of my garden. I planted the upper row of Tendergreen bush beans first and then the second row about 2 or 3 weeks later. I would have done a third row in August but the pumpkins ended up taking over from the west. This area will be planted with Roma tomatoes next year. (Yes, I’m already neurotically planning next year’s garden, including a new one in my front yard next to my tree line).
The Ho Mi Z mustard in the upper right corner is currently going to seed as of this November post. I’m going to collect as much as I can, but there will definitely be random mustard all over the place next year. Again, I love to have edible weeds (or volunteers as they are sometimes called). The mustard was planted as a “cover crop” as I knew I was putting in potatoes in that area next year. Mustard is supposed to help potatoes by countering nematodes and weeds. Plus you get delicious greens for salads, etc and seeds for cooking and making mustard. I picked Ho Mi Z (aka Dragon Tongue) because it was on sale at Johnny’s Seeds last year.
The Tyee spinach, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia), and Cascade peas will be covered with leaf mulch this fall and uncovered in the middle of next March. This will allow them to overwinter and be ready to go in the spring, saving a month or two of potential growth. This will be my first year trying this, so I’ll post my findings for your enjoyment and knowledge.