How To Maximize Your Harvest: Succession Planting For Continuous Harvest

How To Maximize Your Harvest: Succession Planting For Continuous Harvest

Hey there, fellow garden enthusiasts! As we soak up the sun in June, it's prime time to talk about a game-changing strategy for your garden: succession planting.

It’s tempting to consider the garden “planted” and “done” after the frenzied 'sprint' of spring planting and transplanting. Believe me-- I get it. Change your mind and go for the 'marathon' strategy to replace the 'sprint' mentality. The 'sprint' just limits your fun!

So, what does a succession planting ‘marathon’ look like? Well, it's basically the secret sauce to keep your garden pumping out fresh veggies all season long. Let's dive into why it's a game changer and how you can rock it in your own backyard—no matter what size of garden you have.

Picture this: instead of a massive veggie overload all at once—like that glut of lettuce that suddenly comes to an end-- succession planting lets you spread out your harvest. That means a steady stream of delicious lettuce hitting your plate, without any going to waste—or suddenly going to seed! Plus, it's a win-win for your taste buds and the planet – talk about a green thumbs-up!

Now, here's where it gets exciting-– making the most of your garden space. Whether you're working with a tiny urban plot or a few containers on your balcony, succession planting is your ticket to growing a variety of crops in a limited area. It's like a veggie ‘Tetris game’-- but way more rewarding when you get to enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your labor.

When you harvest those early-season goodies like peas, radish and spinach, have a new generation of plants or seeds of a different crop ready to pop into those harvested spaces to keep the party going. Ready to kick off your succession planting adventure?

Make a plan
Start by mapping out when you planted each of these crops and when they will be ready to harvest. Think fast producing veggies, harvested for their leaves-- like lettuce, cilantro, or quick producing radishes, and beet greens. The ones you harvest early and are already enjoying. These crops thrive in the long days of June, grow to harvestable size quickly, and can be planted in quick succession for a continuous harvest. They're perfect for filling in the gaps between main crop harvests.

Start a new generation of transplants a couple weeks ahead of harvest and be ready to fill in those holes. Or plant some seeds next to the plants you plan to harvest soon—so they'll germ, grow and take over the space just as the previous crop gets harvested. Keep track of what you've planted so you can keep the good times rolling all summer long.

Heat concerns
If you're succession planting lettuce, one to thing to aware of is-- lettuce seed has an internal thermal protector. If the seed senses that the soil is too hot, it will just refuse to germinate and wait for cooler temperatures.

So as it's getting hotter, start lettuce seeds inside where it's cooler and when it's time, transplant where it gets the benefit of some shade during the hottest part of the day, to help prevent it from getting bitter or bolting too quickly.

And as we move towards the heat of July, consider substituting for crops that don’t do well with high heat! Instead of lettuce and spinach, sow alternatives like swiss chard, amaranth, or beets for beet greens—avoiding the frustration of bolting before you even have a chance to harvest.

Extending harvest windows
Another strategy is to plant a second round of harvestable crops, like beans about 3 weeks after your main crop was planted. So plant now! These will start to produce just as your main crop starts to wane—keeping you in beans for an extended period time. And if you like to put up beans for the off-season, this will extend the window of time for you to pick, process and put up all that you need and want.

In a nutshell, succession planting in June, July and August is your garden's best friend for a non-stop supply of fresh, homegrown goodness. With a minimal planning, the right crops, and a sprinkle of gardening perseverance, you'll be reaping the rewards of your green-thumb efforts over and over again.

So, grab your sun hat, your favorite trowel, and get ready to watch your garden thrive with succession planting this summer! 🌱🌞

Your garden coach,