Increase your harvest with this gardening technique
Succession planting is defined as a planting method that increases yields of edible crops by more efficiently using space and time in a growing season.
With the cost of food rising every month and the worry of contamination from crops being brought in from other countries, it's more important than ever to grow some, if not all your edible crops yourself. And with many gardeners facing the challenges of space and time, any edge that you can have will certainly make your crops more bountiful and successful. In this article, I will talk about how to plant in succession and give you some examples of what to plant and when as well as some tips on how to incorporate proper crop rotation in your succession planting schedule.
Types of Succession Planting
- Planting one crop, harvesting that crop and then planting another crop in it's place. This is were crop rotation can work into your plans. The length of your growing season and climate can affect what crops you plant.
- Planting a small crop of one variety and then planting another crop of the same a few weeks later. This will ensure you have a longer season of harvest. Works great for smaller families who may have trouble using up one harvest in a small amount of time. Also an excellent way to extend your favorite crop.
- Planting two or more of the same type of crops that have different maturity rates.
- Inter-planting one crop with another. This is where companion planting can really come into play. You can read more about companion planting here.
Success with Soil
For succession planting to be successful, you must have a healthy fertile soil to start with. You will be utilizing the soil to its fullest potential, so it's important to add compost regularly and throughout the garden season. Compost is the best soil condition and slow release fertilizer you can have and it's free if you make your own. I would also add bone-meal and blood meal to the soil at the beginning and middle of the growing season. Just follow the directions on the package to determine how much to add to the size area you are using.
Success with Raised Beds
I would suggest using raised beds for your vegetable gardens when possible. Raised beds warm faster in the spring and generally have looser soil which allow plant roots to grow faster. Raised beds can also be easier to weed since you don't have to bend down as far. In fact, if you construct them with a built in seat on the top, you can sit and weed at the same time. A 10" or 12" tall raised bed is ideal for most vegetable plants. Just make sure you do not construct the beds from pressure treated wood. I like to use cedar, field stone or concrete blocks.