How to Succession Plant for a Marathon Vegetable Garden Harvest
Did you know that all those glorious vegetables you planted in the spring can be planted again in late summer? Many people forget about planning for the fall harvest in the vegetable garden. Since we garden up in the cooler northern climate of Minnesota we take every chance we get to grow more in the Eco Garden raised garden bed! Succession planting allows you to harvest and replant for continual growth.
When it comes to succession planting, you can’t beat lettuce. While greens prefer cooler weather, there are many varieties of heat-tolerant lettuce on the market these days. This allows you to plant lettuce all gardening season long – spring through fall (and winter in milder climates). Here are some tips for harvesting endless greens.
Ready to extend your other crops? We answer frequently asked questions about succession planting to help you get the most out of your vegetable garden:
What vegetables can I succession plant?
Almost anything, but especially cooler weather vegetables that you planted in spring, like peas, broccoli, arugula, kale, green onions, and swiss chard. Beets, carrots, and beans are also great choices. Heat-loving vegetables like peppers and tomatoes won’t fair well if planted in the fall. Radishes are fast growers and are perfect for planting between slow growers like carrots. This also helps you save space so you can plant even more in your garden. You will find that many vegetables can be seeded every few weeks so you have a continuous crop—a fantastic thing for fast growing vegetables.
How do I know when to succession plant?
An important thing to do is to read your seed packets, which will tell you how often you can sow seeds for continuous harvest. Also pay attention to “days to maturity” on your seed packet. Choose vegetables with shorter days to maturity to ensure you get a harvest before a freeze. Also, growth will slow as the weather cools, so add a couple of weeks to the days to maturity to make sure you truly have enough time.
You can also start seeds indoors all spring and summer to speed up the process.
How do I keep vegetables warm enough when temperatures drop in the fall?
Make use of a heavier weight shade cloth to keep the warmth in when the nights cool down, giving plants a “greenhouse” effect. An Eco Garden has a water reservoir that helps regulate temperature, giving you a longer growing season—learn more here.
I planted a second crop for fall, but my plants aren’t looking as healthy as they did in the spring – what can I do?
Always make sure to amend your soil between plantings with fertilizer and mulch. Plants soak up nutrients which need to be replenished each time you plant.
Don’t delay – get your fall planting done now for a great fall harvest before the cold weather shuts down the vegetable garden. And don’t forget to add succession planting to next year’s vegetable garden plans.
Tell us: What are you planting for your fall harvest?