Why You Should Start Succession Planting

Succession planting is the key to maximizing your kitchen garden harvests. Every summer, my goal is to avoid the grocery store as much as possible. Each year I get closer and closer to becoming completely self-sustainable. If you want your garden to give throughout the whole season, succession planting is how you do it.

That being said, succession planting is sometimes like a logic puzzle and can take a lot of mental work upfront. If you’re going to start succession planting, you are going to have to plan. Even if you’re not naturally someone who does a lot of planning in the garden, this is going to require you to grow a little and step out of your comfort zone!

How to Plan for Succession Planting

1. Invest in a garden journal like my garden guidebook so you can keep track of your succession planting plan. 

Especially for first time succession planters, it is imperative to keep track of what you are planting, where you are planting it, and when you are planting it. Don’t forget to mark down expected harvest dates! After years of succession planting, if I had to recommend one tip, it would be to write everything down. While I like to think my brain can remember everything, my guidebook is the only way I can stay organized throughout the season. Whether it’s the notes app on your phone or a legal pad, figure out a plan for documenting your season before you even start your seeds.

2. Extend your gardening into cool seasons.

One way to dip your toe into succession planting is to start by extending your growing season. Determine your cool season, and then pick varieties of plants that are cool-tolerant and grow well in your zone. Salad greens are always a safe bet for cool season growing. Crops like spinach, kale, and arugula mature quickly, fit in small spaces, provide multiple harvests, and the taste often actually benefits from the cooler weather.

My other favorite cool season crops to grow include:

    • spinach 
    • arugula 
    • bok choy 
    • green onions 
    • carrots 
    • beets 
    • radishes 
    • broccoli 
    • cauliflower 
    • fennel  
    • parsnips 
    • peas 
    • leeks

3. Overlap your cool and warm season plantings. 

Once you’re comfortable extending your planting schedule into cooler seasons, the next step is figuring out how to blend the cool and warm seasons. This is another step where my garden guidebook comes in handy, because I teach you how to map out your garden so you can fit in as many plants as possible without overcrowding your garden or wasting valuable space.

During cool season, you’ll probably be starting your warm-season seeds. As your cool-season plants die off, pull them out and replace them with warm season varieties. Remember to track everything in a journal or keep a garden calendar for seedling and sapling care, planting dates, and harvest dates!

4. Don’t forget about soil health!

When you’re succession planting, you are really putting your soil to work. Don’t let it get depleted! The basis of a nutritious vegetable is the quality of the soil it is growing in. So make sure you add a little extra compost to your soil in between plantings.

As you select the crops you are going to succession plant, remember that even different varieties of the same vegetable have different maturity rates. You can deep dive into orchestrating different maturity and planting dates and get really meticulous about planning how to maximize your garden space. Or just keep it as a tip in your back if you’re ever stumped on how to use up space in your garden – research if there is a longer/shorter maturing variety you can put in that spot that fits with your plan.

Remember, my garden guidebook has every single tool you need to be successful at succession planting. Lists, calendars, diagrams, tips & tricks – anything you think you might need, it’s in the book. 

cedar raised bed gardens with trellis connecting showing succession planting in the beginning of warm season gardening