DOUBLE Your Harvest with Succession Planting
What is Succession Planting in the garden?
Why is succession planting important?
What crops are best for succession planting?
The 10 Best Fast Succession Crops
- Arugula: A few great varieties include Astro, Winter Blend, and Esmee.
- Beans: A few great varieties include Gold Rush, Royal Burgundy, and Ferrari!
- Beets: A few great varieties include Avalanche, Detroit Supreme, and Beet blend,
- Turnips: A few great varieties include Purple Top, Silky Sweet, and Hakurei.
- Bok Choy: A few great varieties include Dwarf White, Jade Spring, and Mei Qing Choi.
- Kale: A few great varieties include Winterbor, Lacinato, and Red Russian Kale
- Lettuce: A few great varieties include Red Salad Bowl, Dillon Organic, and Buttercrunch.
- Peas: A few great varieties include Super Sugar Snap, Bolero, and Oregon Giant.
- Radishes: A few great varieties include French Breakfast, Amethyst, and Black Spanish Round.
- Spinach: A few great varieties include Olympia, Seaside, and Giant Winter Organic.
The 10 Best Long Succession Crops
- Broccoli: A few great varieties include Aspabroc Broccolini, Calabrese, and Green Magic.
- Cauliflower: A few great varieties include Mardi Organic, Trevi, and Shasta.
- Potatoes: A few great varieties include French Fingerling, Yukon Gold, and Warba.
- Carrots: A few great varieties include Little Fingers, Scarlet Nantes, and Neptune.
- Parsnips: A few great varieties include White Spear, White Satin Coated, Tender and True Organic.
- Winter Squash: A few great varieties include Table Queen, Mashed Potato, and Shokichi Mini Kabocha.
- Cabbage: A few great varieties include Red Scarvita, China Express, and Integro Coated Organic.
- Zucchini: A few great varieties include Black Beauty Organic, Raven, and Goldy Organic.
- Kale: See the examples in the section above for our favorite Kale crops!
- Onions: A few great varieties include Walla Walla, Kelsae, and Patterson seeds.
What supplies do I need for Succession Planting?
- Seeds: Of course we'll need some seeds on hand if we want to be starting a succession crop! Be sure to check our seed supplies to make sure you have the crops you're most excited to try as a succession crop!
- Seed Cells: We will start our Long Crops in seed cells so that they can begin germinating and growing while other vegetables finish their growing cycle in the garden. Once harvested, we'll transplant the Long Crop from its seed cell to the garden.
- Worm Casting Seedling Mix: Because we'll be starting our Long Crops in Seed Cells, we will want to have some Worm Casting Seedling Mix readily available to start them in. And for our Fast Crops we can use this same Worm Casting Seedling Mix to amend the soil that was just harvested. This will help replenish both nutrients and microbes.
- Worm Castings: For our Fast Crops, we will cover them with Worm Castings to improve the germination rates and ensure the seeds have nutrients and microbes available to them immediately. We recently ran some experiments on this and saw amazing results!
- Organic Fertilizer: As our succession crop begins to grow, we'll want to ensure it has all the nutrients for its big growth spurt. Having an organic fertilizer on hand, such as our 4-4-4 Superfood, will ensure your plant babies have everything they need to thrive!
- Hori Hori Knife: Having a Hori Hori Knife on hand makes succession planting a breeze. From harvesting the original crop, to amending the soil, to spacing out the succession crop - you'll be using it every step of the way!
Worm Castings, Organic Fertilizer, and a Hori Hori Knife will help make succession planting a breeze!
When do I start my Succession Crop?
- Add Worm Casting Seedling Mix: Spread 2 litres of Worm Casting Seedling Mix per square foot. Gently massage it into the top 1" of soil.
- Spacing: Make 1cm divets at the correct spacing intervals for the type of plant that you are starting (i.e. 8 per square foot for Beets, 4 per square foot for Arugula. Every vegetable is outlined in the guide above).
- Add Seeds: Place 3 seeds into each divet.
- Add Worm Castings: Cover each divet with 1cm of Worm Castings to help with germination. Water thoroughly to begin the germination process.
- Thinning & Fertilizing: After 14 days, thin the seedlings to one per divet by pinching the main stem of any extra seedlings. Once thinned, apply 2x tablespoons per square foot of an organic fertlizer (such as our 4-4-4 Superfood).
Before you know it, you'll have a succession crop well on its way to your next harvest!
For the Long Crops, you will need to be a little bit more measured with your timing to ensure they have enough growing days before winter:
- First Frost: Google the name of your city and the words first frost (i.e. Squamish First Frost) to determine the end of your growing season. Add this into the Succession Planting Guide (available for download above).
- Days to Harvest: Using the Days to Harvest Infographic (also in the Succession Planting Guide, available for download above), determine the number of days your crop will need to grow (i.e. Broccoli = 100 days to harvest).
- Days Remaining: Now simply google the number of days to harvest and the first frost date (i.e. 100 days until October 10th) to determine what day you need to start your seeds on in order to have a long enough growing window for the plant to reach harvest. (i.e. Saturday, July 2nd for Broccoli)
- Fill Seed Cell with Worm Casting Seedling Mix: Use 3" Seed Cells and fill them to the top with worm casting seedling mix. Tap the bottom of the seed cell on the ground to gently compact the seedling mix, creating about 1cm of space from the top of the seedling mix and the top of the seed cell.
- Add seeds & water: Place 5 seeds on the top of the seedling mix in each seed cell (i.e. 5 beet seeds per seed cell). Once the seeds are placed, add 2x turkey basters of water to create a moist environment for the seeds to germinate.
- Cover with Worm Casting Seedling Mix: Cover the seeds with about 1cm of worm castings seedling mix so that it is in line with the top of the seed cell. Add a third turkey baste of water to begin the germination process.
- Water Every 2-3 days: Place the back of your hand on the top of the seedling mix every 1-2 days. If you don't feel any moisture, add the next 1x turkey baste of water to ensure the seeds are always in a moist and warm (+70F/21C) environment for germination.
- Transplant: 14-21 days after starting the seeds, transplant the seedlings into your garden. Refer to our Garden Planning Guide for spacing and then dig your transplant holes accordingly. Add 1 handful of worm castings and 1 tablespoon of 2-6-4 Rooted Food to the transplant hole. Transplant the seedling into the transplant hole. Backfill with the surrounding soil. Add an additional 1-2 handfuls of worm castings and 1-2 tablespoons of 2-8-4 Rooted Food per square foot as a top dressing to the garden space you just planted into.
After 14-21 days, you'll have a beautiful set of seedlings ready to be transplanted into the garden beds as a succession crop!
So there you have it – everything you need to know about extending your growing season! Just remember to plan ahead, order your supplies early, and get ready for an abundance of fresh produce this year!