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Savvy Succession Planting: Extending Your Harvest Season

June 26, 2024

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Savvy Succession Planting: Extending Your Harvest Season

Cultivating a Bountiful Harvest All Season Long

When it comes to gardening, I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of succession planting. It’s the key to unlocking a veritable cornucopia of fresh, flavorful produce throughout the growing season – and beyond. As a member of the Thorndale CSA, I’ve seen firsthand how this simple yet strategic technique can work wonders, transforming even the smallest of plots into a veritable oasis of culinary delight.

Mastering the Art of Staggered Sowing

The secret to succession planting lies in the art of staggered sowing. Rather than planting an entire crop all at once, the savvy gardener spaces out their plantings at regular intervals. This allows for a steady, manageable harvest, rather than being overwhelmed with a sudden flood of produce.

Take my arugula, for instance. Last spring, I started my seeds indoors about a month before the last expected frost, following the advice from Savvy Gardening. Once the soil had warmed up, I transplanted the seedlings into my garden, spacing them about 4-6 inches apart. But that was just the beginning. Every two weeks or so, I followed up with another round of sowing, ensuring a constant supply of peppery leaves for my salads and sandwiches.

By staggering my plantings, I was able to enjoy a veritable arugula buffet, from the first tender leaves in early spring to the robust, spicy ones that carried me through the summer heat. And when fall rolled around, my trusty perennial arugula just kept on going, providing a delightful harvest even after the first frost. It’s a testament to the power of succession planting – with a little planning and foresight, I was able to extend my arugula season by months.

Maximizing Your Growing Space

But arugula is just the tip of the succession planting iceberg. This strategic approach can be applied to a wide range of crops, helping you make the most of every inch of your growing space.

As The Fernie Fix notes, quick-growing crops like spinach, mustard greens, and salad turnips are particularly well-suited for late-summer sowing. By planting these in the spaces left behind by earlier harvests, I can enjoy a bountiful autumn harvest without sacrificing prime growing time.

And it’s not just about filling gaps – succession planting can also help you manage the natural ebb and flow of your garden’s productivity. When my early-summer crops like lettuce and radishes started to bolt in the heat, I simply pulled them out and replaced them with a fresh round of cool-weather favorites. This way, I never had to worry about wasted space or a lull in my harvest.

Embracing the Unpredictable

Of course, gardening is never a perfectly predictable endeavor. Mother Nature has a way of throwing curveballs, and that’s where the true art of succession planting shines.

Last summer, for instance, my first round of tomato transplants succumbed to a late-spring cold snap. But thanks to my staggered planting schedule, I had a backup plan in the form of some extra seedlings I’d started a few weeks later. By the time the initial crop was lost, I was able to quickly fill the gap with my ready-to-go replacements, ensuring a continuous supply of juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes all season long.

Similarly, when my spring-sown carrots fell victim to a particularly ravenous flea beetle invasion, I didn’t panic. Instead, I simply turned to my succession planting strategy, sowing a fresh batch in the newly vacated bed. By the time the pests had moved on, I had a whole new crop of tender, sweet carrots just waiting to be harvested.

A Bountiful Harvest, Season After Season

Ultimately, the beauty of succession planting lies in its ability to help us adapt to the unpredictable nature of gardening. By staggering our plantings and staying nimble, we can ensure a steady, reliable flow of fresh produce, no matter what challenges Mother Nature throws our way.

And as a member of the Thorndale CSA, I can attest to the joy of being able to share the fruits (and vegetables!) of my labor with my community. Whether I’m delivering a fresh batch of arugula or a bounty of late-summer carrots, it’s immensely satisfying to know that my hard work and careful planning have resulted in a bountiful harvest that everyone can enjoy.

So, if you’re looking to extend your growing season and make the most of every inch of your garden, I highly recommend giving succession planting a try. With a little bit of foresight and a lot of gardening enthusiasm, you too can cultivate a veritable cornucopia of fresh, flavorful produce – season after season.

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