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How to Succession Plant in Your Vegetable Garden

Learning how to succession plant in your vegetable garden has so many benefits. It allows you to have continued harvests, be more useful with your vegetables, and use your garden space more efficiently.

Green beans growing in the garden at different phases

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Part of being a successful gardener is trying and testing out new strategies. But there are so many ideas and strategies out there it can easily get overwhelming.

Personally, I try to only test out one new strategy each season so I can try my best to master it. Versus trying out multiple things at once and then not knowing what worked best.

A few great planting strategies include companion planting, relay planting, and succession planting and in this article, I am going to cover succession planting.

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What is Succession Planting

Succession planting is when you regularly plant small quantities of a crop at different times in order to get a continuous harvest throughout the season. Verses planting one huge crop once and getting only one big harvest.

For example, instead of planting 100 carrots on the same day, you could plant 10 carrots every 2-3 weeks and space out your harvests.

How to Plan Which Vegetables to Plant In Succession

The great thing about this planting strategy is that it’s very easy to implement and only takes a bit more planning ahead of time.

All you’re really doing is planting fewer of each plant every 1 – 4 weeks instead of planting everything at once.

Then once the harvest is complete or the plants start to decline you can pull them out and have room to plant something new.

But there are a few things to consider before you plan which vegetables to plant in successions.

  1. Is the crop short, half, or long season?
  2. How much space do you have?
  3. Is it a cool or warm-season crop?

Depending on your answers will help you decide what and how often to plant.

Audrey getting ready to plant in the vegetable garden

Crop Life Span

It’s important to know the lifespan of each crop so that you can plan out when your harvests will be and how long each crop will be in the ground.

Short-season crops grow quickly and are ready to harvest in 30 – 60 days from planting.

Common vegetables include,

  • Arugula
  • Lettuce, Baby Mix
  • Lettuce, Heads
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Half-season crops take a bit longer to reach maturity and are typically ready to harvest in 50 – 80 days from planting.

Common vegetables include,

  • Beans, Snap
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Swiss Chard
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes

Long-season crops take the majority of the growing season to mature and are usually ready to harvest in 70 – 120 days from planting.

Common vegetables include,

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • Melons
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Rutabagas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash

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How much garden space do you have?

If you have a small amount of space you can plant vegetables that require less room such as beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and peas.

Or as one crop is harvested take it out and use that space to plant something new.

For example, you can use one garden bed to plant short-season crops, and as soon as you harvest you can remove those plants and plant half or long-season crops.

Is it a cool-season or warm-season crop?

Certain vegetables such as beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and spinach don’t grow well in hot weather.

So depending on your weather, cool-season crops will likely grow best when they are planted in early spring or in your fall garden. But if you have mild summers you may be able to plant cool-season crops in succession all summer long.

But other vegetables such as beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and squash grow great in the heat and so they can be planted in succession throughout the warm months of summer.

How to Succession Plant

Once you know all of the basic crop information you can decide what vegetables to plant, how many, and how often.

Short and half-season crops are easiest to plant in succession because they reach maturity quicker.

For these crops, you should stagger your plantings every 1 – 4 weeks during the growing season that is best suited for each vegetable.

Longer season crops can still be planted in successions but they’ll have to be planted closer together and early enough that they still have time to reach maturity before the weather won’t allow it.

A succession planting example,

  • Plant 10 carrots once a week for a month in early spring and again in the fall while the weather is favorable for carrots.
  • Plant 1 cucumber plant and 1 zucchini plant every two weeks starting on your first spring planting date until mid-summer.
  • Plant 2 different plantings of winter squash a few weeks apart in spring and then you’ll be able to harvest them a few weeks apart in the fall.

Hopefully, this outline gives you a good idea of how to implement succession planting.

The goal is to plant smaller quantities over an extended period of time so you get continuous harvests.

But just remember if a vegetable doesn’t grow well during cooler or warmer weather, you will need to take a break from succession planting during that season.

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How to be More Useful With Your Harvests

When you’re still in the planning phase consider what you want the vegetables for.

If you only want the vegetables for yourself you should plant less but space out your plantings so you have multiple smaller harvests.

If you want to have a bigger harvest to preserve, make sure you plant a large enough crop at once.

You should also keep in mind that certain crops have a shorter shelf life after harvest.

A couple of examples include arugula and baby mix lettuce. So these vegetables should be planted weekly in order to have a continuous supply of high-quality harvests.

But crops such as beets, carrots, and summer squash will keep their quality for longer periods of time which means you can plant them every 2 -3 weeks versus weekly while still maintaining quality.

A bowl of freshly harvested summer vegetables

Tips for a Successful Garden

When it comes to growing a successful garden, it’s not just about growing a ton of plants. It’s about growing as much as you can to have a consistent supply of fresh harvests for you and your family.

But depending on the amount of space you have, that may mean you can only have a few plants on the patio and that’s perfectly okay!

Anything you can grow versus buying from the store is a huge success.

To maximize your success year after year, the best thing you can do is have a planting plan and record-keeping notes specific to your own garden.

So I’ve created a Gardening Planner that will help you with just that!

With this Gardening Planner, you will be able to plan and track gardening tasks and results every season!

Get Your Gardening Planner

Keeping vegetable gardening notes & records is the key to your gardening success!! Be sure to grab yours today!

Pin it for Later

Green beans planted in successions in the vegetable garden

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  1. Really great article! You really summed up the idea of succession planting. Also great outline of how frequent to replant/seed. Any tips on direct seed succession vs transplanting?

  2. Hi there! Thanks so much! I am so glad it was helpful. When it’s early in the season I recommend direct seeding unless the plant should only be planted as a transplant (like tomatoes and peppers for example) but I also have two articles posted, one about plants that should only be direct seeded, and the other about plants that can be planted as both transplants or by seed. But then as it gets further into the growing season transplants are better because it gives the plant a head start to fully mature for another harvest

  3. Great advice on succession gardening. I tend to try to cram all I can in my 12 x 16 garden and another 3×8 a long a fence line. I do like to try differant plants each year for growings sake. Along with 3 bird feeders my garden has plenty of company and keeps me plenty busy. Thanks again.

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