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Succession Cropping

Crop succession1

Crop successionSuccession cropping will help you get the most out of your vegetable garden.

Here are two succession cropping strategies:

• Plant a portion of a specific crop a little bit at a time; for example, plant a row of beans today and a second row three weeks from now. This will allow for a staggered or succession of harvests.

• Plant a crop today and after harvesting the crop, plant a second crop in the same place for a second harvest. For example, plant beets in the cool spring and follow with a crop of peppers during the warm summer.

When planning your succession cropping keep the following in mind:

Days to maturity and date of expected harvest. Each plant requires so many days from sowing to reach harvest. The days to maturity for a crop and a succession crop must fit comfortably into your growing season–the total number of frost-free days or growing days for each crop. (Or you must plan to protect your crops from killing cold weather.) Be sure to plant warm-season crops so that they will come to harvest in warm weather.

Nutrient requirements. Crops from the same family are best not planted in succession; they have the same nutrient requirements and will leave the soil lacking in specific nutrients if planted one after the other. Allow for crop rotation or be sure to work well-aged compost or manure into the soil before sowing the second crop. Crops from the same family also will be susceptible to the same pests and diseases.

Here are succession-cropping suggestions that might work in your region:

Crop coming out Succession crops to follow
Artichoke, globe Green bean, pea
Broad bean, fava bean Brussels sprouts, late spring cabbage,corn, squash, kale, cardoon
Bush green or snap bean Main lettuce, endive, summer and winter spinach, kohlrabi, parsley
Pole green or snap bean (longer cropping season than bush bean) Cauliflower, autumn sown cabbage
Beet Broad, bush or pole green or snap bean, kale, pepper, chicory
Broccoli Celery, leek, maincrop potato, corn, kohlrabi, tomato, sunchoke
Brussels sprouts Early and second early potatoes, beet, celery, leek, mint, shallot, sunchoke
Cabbage (spring harvest) Radish, beet, kohlrabi, onion
 Cabbage (autumn harvest)  Early potatoes, cucumber, radish, pepper, celeriac, chives, squash, sunflower
 Carrot  Bush or pole beans, autumn harvest cabbage
 Cauliflower  Pea, maincrop potato, summer spinach, rutabaga
 Celeriac  Broad bean
 Celery  Garlic, mint, onion, shallot, savory
 Chicory  Broad bean, Brussels sprouts, carrot
 Chives  Broad or green bean, spring harvest cabbage, endive, corn, lettuce
 Corn (sweet)  Autumn harvest cabbage, pea, kohlrabi, lettuce, New Zealand spinach
 Cucumber  Maincrop potato, onion, pea, autumn harvest cabbage, carrot
 Garlic  Broad or green snap bean, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, autumn harvest cabbage
 Kale  Broad bean, pepper, early potato, carrot, rhubarb, celeriac
 Kohlrabi  Pea, summer and winter spinach, broad bean, autumn harvest cabbage
 Leek  Tomato, green bush or pole bean, cucumber
 Lentil  Corn, cauliflower, corn salad, endive, kohlrabi, onion, radish
 Lettuce  Potato, celery , leek
 New Zealand spinach  Maincrop potatoes, corn, autumn harvest cabbage, Brussels sprouts
 Onion  Spring harvest cabbage
 Parsnip  Kale, broad bean, pepper, rhubarb, sunflower
 Pea  Brussels sprouts, celery, spring harvest cabbage, autumn harvest cabbage, carrot, turnip, tomato, autumn harvest cauliflower, cucumber, squash, autumn-sown onions, winter spinach, leek
 Pepper  Lettuce onion, radish, winter spinach
 Potato (early)  Spring harvest cabbage, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, tomato
 Potato (second early)  Kale, cabbage, savoy, pea
 Potato (maincrop)  Sprouting broccoli, spring harvest cabbage
 Rutabaga  Broad bean
 Spinach  Celery, second early potato, onion, tomato
 Squash  Tomato, spinach, parsley, kohlrabi, chervil, cauliflower
 Sunflower  Cabbage, winter squash
 Tomato  Onion, green bean, radish, lettuce, pea, beet, autumn harvest cabbage,
 Turnip  Pea, green bean

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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    • When cantaloupe and melons come out of the garden, renew the soil by adding aged compost or organic planting mix. You can also sprinkle the soil with a slow-release organic fertilizer. After you have renewed the soil, you can plant leafy crops or root crops.

    • Okra is a heavy feeder. Follow okra with lettuce, onion, radish, winter spinach–light feeders. If you have a very long growing season, you can plant a second crop of okra.

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