Succession planting is the practice of planting a new crop in the same spot where another crop has just been harvested.
Crops for succession planting in early- and mid-summer are cool-season crops—crops that mature and yield best when temperatures average in the 60s and 50sF, not the 70s and 80sF, temperatures preferred by warm-season crops.
Crops to plant for fall harvest include: snap beans, lima beans, cabbage, carrots, Chinese cabbage, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, bunching onions, radish, spinach, winter squash, and turnips. Warm-season crops can be succession plantings but the weather must stay warm enough into autumn for them to ripen.
Successful succession cropping requires timing: make sure there is enough time for the succession crop to germinate and grow to maturity before cold weather arrives. (Check the seed packet to learn how long a crop will take to germinate and reach maturity, then make sure there are enough days left in the season before the date of the average first frost in your area.) A frost and freeze will knock down and even kill some cool-season crops, but some cool-season crops can survive a frost or freeze if they are close to maturity and harvest.
When choosing succession crops, be sure that they get enough sunlight and are not shaded out by neighboring warm-season crops nearing maturity.
Here is a list of warm-season crops and suitable cool-season crops to follow in succession planting:
- Basil→ follow with lettuce, spinach, or peas.
- Snap Beans→ follow with lettuce, chard, or onions.
- Corn→ follow with beets, cabbage, collard, or lettuce.
- Cucumbers→ follow with peas, chard, or spinach.
- Eggplants→ follow with chard, lettuce, spinach, or bunching onions.
- Melons→ follow with peas, lettuce, kale, or spinach.
- Okra→ follow with spinach or lettuce.
- Onions→ follow with peas, lettuce, kale, or spinach.
- Peppers→ follow with lettuce, spinach, kale, bunching onions, or Chinese cabbage.
- Potatoes→ follow with peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, or bunching onions.
- Summer squash and zucchini→ follow with peas, lettuce, spinach, or Chinese cabbage.
- Sweet potatoes→ follow with peas, lettuce, kale, or spinach.
- Tomatoes→ follow with peas, lettuce, spinach, bunching onions, or Chinese cabbage.