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Succession planting in the vegetable garden

Stagger melon plantings so they do not all ripen at the same time.
Stagger melon plantings so they do not all ripen at the same time.Becca Badgett

Make the most of your garden space by using the practice of succession planting. This is a simple way to use your space in the garden effectively. Succession planting can start when you plant the cool season veggies in late winter or spring and continue through the planting of summer yielding produce.

What is Succession Planting?

Planting in succession means planting at intervals. Stagger planting times by a week or two for a harvest that is smaller and more frequent. This helps eliminate those leftovers that may go bad before you can use them.

Growing fewer plants means taking up less space in the garden, allowing you to grow more crops. However, succession planting does not mean to plant as you harvest each crop. Take into account the number of weeks or months until maturity and plant so that you always have a ready harvest.

Planting Suggestions

Begin with the cool season crops you plant first. Many have 60-day maturity times, so instead of planting three rows of radishes, plant one of radish, one of lettuce and one spinach. A week or two later, repeat the plantings.

You may also hold back some of your seedlings by withholding fertilizer and leaving them in the small container. Keep them watered until other like plants have a good growth spurt and then plant them into a permanent location. This manipulation of garden planting is an effective way to prevent waste and have a steady supply of fresh produce.

Replant cool season crops as harvesting makes space available in your garden. Remember to rotate crops as required by the family of vegetable or fruit you are growing.