Thursday, July 26, 2012

Succession Planting

Submitted by Megan Bucknum and Michele Sokoloff

Succession Planting
Keeping the Good Times Rolling In the Garden
It’s July and it’s time to plant .  .  . again .  .  .  some more.
You’ve planted your garden and perhaps, maybe, are focusing on weeding, watering and harvesting. Crop and garden planning can wait until next winter, right?  Well there’s a window of opportunity happening for you right now!
It’s called “Succession Planting.” All you do is follow one crop with another. It’s a great way to maximize your garden’s yield. What can you plant right now so you can harvest in the Fall? Succession planting and planning is the way to go. Even just a couple or a few additions to your garden will make you feel over-the-top satisfied. If you are a gardener with limited space, you will select the vegetables you really like for your Fall picking pleasure. Here are some tips on keeping your crops coming:
1.  Make a wish list of the foods you want to grow within the season. Do a quick check about each plant’s needs and preferences.  This information can easily be found online or on the back of the seed packets; when to plant, days until full growth, space and light needs and weather tolerance.  
2. Take into consideration the time it takes for each crop to come to maturity.  Vegetables with shorter maturation time can even be planted multiple times.
3. Use a “succession planting chart” for a handy reference. It can be valuable for deciding which crops will do well together and when to plant them.
4. It is actually quite helpful to make a diagram of your garden space for each season; spring, summer, fall and winter.  Keep these diagrams on file throughout the years. You might even go back and check the pros and cons of certain plants, if you bother to write a note or two. This can help you deal with nasty pests as well.
Get on out there and do some succession planting. Early evening or early morning are the best times. You’ll be glad you did!
 Below are some great succession planting resources:

Planting Notes
Bush Beans
many varieties are ready in 50–60 days and can be planted until mid-July; late plantings avoid the ravages of the Mexican Bean Beetle
direct seed into a well-prepared nursery bed, and then transplant throughout the garden when seedlings are 4–6 weeks old
same as broccoli; however, varieties over 90 days to maturity may not reach full maturity if planted in July
Chinese Cabbage
same as broccoli
same as broccoli
plant only varieties such as Hookers or Triple Play that mature in 60–70 days.
the longest maturing varieties require 75 days
eaves can be harvested in 60–70 days, or roots can be harvested in 100 or more days
loves the heat, and matures quickly
from transplants
same as chicory
a cold-hardy root that requires a fairly long, cool season for best results
Summer Squash
great for quickly filling in empty spots in a mid-summer garden

Planting Notes
varieties requiring 80–100 days to reach full maturity, eg. Kurota ChantenayJapanese Imperial LongScarlet Keeper, and St. Valery, may not reach full size if planted at this time
can be planted even later but yields will decline
same as broccoli above
same as broccoli
a narrow planting window of opportunity for producing a fall crop

Planting Notes
if grown with protection such as a cloche or hoop house, can be planted well into the fall season
Broccoli Raab
same as broccoli above
wait until the end of August as soil temperatures begin cooling, and keep soil moist for best germination results
plant every three weeks throughout the summer for continual harvests; can be planted in September but yields decline significantly
sow in nursery bed and then transplant throughout the garden
planting at this time produces tasty greens in October
all roots are extra sweet

Planting Notes
versatile, quick green that will re-seed and emerge early the following spring
rapid-growing green that can be planted throughout the winter if grown under cloches or a hoop house
in climates with minimum winter temperatures above 10ยบ F (Zone 8 and warmer), short–mid day length-adapted varieties such as Riverside andValenciacan be planted throughout the southern U.S; long day length-adapted varieties such as Siskiyou Sweet can be planted in western Oregon and Washington
quick-growing roots have milder flavor in cool soils
planting at this time produces small plants in the fall that go dormant during the winter and resume growing in early spring; harvest begins in late March, ensuring continual production throughout the spring
This chart is courtesy of Seeds of Change -
Other Fabulous Resources:
  1. “Succession Planting:  Keep it Coming” by Organic Gardening
  2. “Succession Planting (or ‘Don’t Stop Now’)” by Seeds of Change
  3. “Succession Planting Guide” by Johnny’s Selected Seeds
  4. “Succession Planting:  Lettuce, Carrots and More” by Mother Earth News
  5. “Succession Planting.” Notes from the Vegetable Garden.  Penn State Master Gardeners in Cumberland and Perry Counties.
  6. “Succession Planting” by Veggie Gardener
  7. (Online Garden Planner)
  8. Philadelphia Master Gardener’s Horticulture HortLine is free and a live person will be there to respond back to any gardening question you may have!
  1. (215) 471-2200 x 116
  2., with “Hortline” in the subject line

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