Last week I talked about Succession Planting by using varieties that have different times to maturity. There are two more easy kinds of Succession Planting you can use to you have a steady source of the best-tasting food and to make the best use of your space.
Plant the same crop at intervals.
The seed packet again gives you the information you need. It says things like “plant at two-week intervals.” This is a great idea for crops like lettuces and carrots and beets or similar crops that just taste best when young. If you plant all your carrots at once, you’ll have nice young carrots mid-season but by the end of the season, you’ll be pulling big gnarly carrots out of the ground. Sometimes these can taste great and sometimes they get too woody. Likewise, you’re going to want to have fall carrots because they get so sweet when the weather gets cooler. If you planted all your carrots in May, you’re either going to run out of them, or the stress they went through during the heat of summer will have made them tough.
I help myself remember to plant at intervals by picking specific calendar dates. I pick the 1st and the 15th of each month as days to plant again.
Plant two or more crops in succession.
This technique is especially good for people with limited space or who practice square-foot gardening. You start a cool season crop such as greens or radishes in an area. When they are ready, you harvest and eat them, and then you plant a summer crop such as corn or beans in that spot. It’s like having twice the garden space. Sometimes I’ll “interplant” crops such as green onions or carrots and tomatoes. Tomato plants stay small until the heat of summer kicks in, so I’ll plant green onions and carrots in front of the tomato plants. By the time the tomatoes start to get really big, I will have already harvested the onions and carrots and the tomatoes have lots of room. The more things that are planted and growing in an area, the fewer weeds you’ll have to pull. And that’s always a good thing. So keep an eye out…if you’re pulling up a crop that’s finished, plant something new.
Crops to plant every two weeks:
Beans Carrots Corn Green Onions Lettuce Spinach
Crops to plant one after the other:
Peas followed by Corn Radish followed by Zucchini Green Onions followed by Peppers Cilantro followed by Beans