Succession Planting: Grow More Vegetables in Your Garden

Posted on Mar 8 2011 - 2:40am by Mike Lieberman

About two weeks after I started my garden from scratch, I did some succession plantings. Since I’m gardening food to eat, not look at, this will help me to grow more on my balcony garden and eat from it more than twice in a year.

Succession planting is when you plant a new set of seeds about 2-3 weeks after your initial planting. The purpose of this is that it will keep you with a continual harvest. When you harvest the first set, the second set is growing right behind it. Make sense?

When I did the first round of plantings, there were two rows planted in each of the containers. For this succession planting, I added two more rows to each of the containers.

Now each container has four rows of seeds planted. This should allow me to grow more vegetables on my balcony and hold me accountable to my word.

Have you ever done succession planting? What other tips are there to grow more vegetables?


29 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Donald Calvin Joseph Rice March 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm -

    succession planting is the way to go. also, mostly ignore seed packets when they tell you how to space your plants. most can grow a lot closer than the packets indicate.

  2. Hannah (Culture Connoisseur) March 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm -

    I’ve actually never thought of it. But this has been a concern of mine. I just planted some bibb lettuce (you inspired me!) and I’m thinking, “when I harvest enough for a salad, that will be the end of that plant.” All that to say, I’m taking note and will try this in the future.

  3. Laura S. March 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm -

    I like how you use a rock as a label– I’m gonna steal that idea.

  4. Amanda Howe March 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm -

    I think you’ve got the basic idea down. In my balcony garden, I mix transplants with seedlings (remember that I have 10 ft long containers). I plant one transplant, then a strong seedling, then a few seeds. There are anywhere from two weeks to a month of maturity between these three plants, but I’d say it’s about the same as what you are doing from scratch. I find it’s always good to have a seedling tray going at the same time, in case something happens to a direct sowing and messes up the succession. I think you’ll get a feel for the success timing on certain plants. Some of the grazing greens, like swiss chard and spinach, will be around for a long time after the second crop has matured. But it’s total trial and error.

    You’re on the right track! Good eating is nigh!

  5. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm -

    Hahha. Nice. I usually leave about 2-3″ between plants. Don’t actually measure it all out.

  6. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm -

    Why start in the future? Start now 😉

  7. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm -

    Just don’t steal my rocks.

  8. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm -

    ohh rub it in. word. I’ll figga it all out..somehow.

  9. Rachael March 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm -

    Good post, as usual, Mike. Succession planting can be implemented across 2, 3 or 4 seasons as well with cool vs. warm weather veggies as well.

  10. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm -

    Cool. Didn’t know. Appreciate the info.

  11. Christina Pearson March 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm -

    Some of the leafy greens are “cut and come again” so if you start a succession rotation, you wont necessarily need to replant, just wait for them to grow back. Spinach and a lot of lettuces grow this way.

    I saw that you’re planting cilantro. That’s one of the few plants I’ve personally decided is for OTHER peoples gardens. Its fast to bolt, but is always cheap and abundant at the coop. Hats off to you sir.

  12. Mike Lieberman March 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm -

    I’m impatient now and don’t wanna wait for them to grow back. Gonna keep it constant…at least that’s the plan.

    I grow cilantro because I’m gangsta like that 😉

  13. Christina Pearson March 9, 2011 at 12:05 am -

    Just saying you don’t need to RE-seed. Definitely start your succession plating, but after the first batch it gets quicker since you don’t need to start from scratch. With your epic California growing season, and your shady balcony you should be in spinach/cilantro heaven.

  14. Mike Lieberman March 9, 2011 at 12:14 am -

    Cool. Love the epic SoCal season. Thanks for the info.

  15. Meemsnyc March 9, 2011 at 7:51 am -

    I do that with radishes and lettuce.

  16. Mike Lieberman March 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm -

    Cool. Have never done radishes before. You recommend?

  17. Matthewpetrosius March 10, 2011 at 12:57 am -

    hey what seeds are better and easier to grow corn,carrot,cabbage,pea,watermelon,pumpkin?

  18. Mike Lieberman March 10, 2011 at 1:31 am -

    Depends what you like, space you have and what you are growing in.

  19. Brad Linder March 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm -

    I’m planning to succession plant some bush beans in the same planters I’m using to grow my snow peas right now. It’s my first year trying this method though, so I’m just hoping I get the timing right.

    Thanks for the link, it looks helpful!

  20. Donald Calvin Joseph Rice March 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm -

    mike , radishes are easy to grow and mature in about a month. good for filling up space while waiting on other things to grow in.

  21. Mike Lieberman March 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm -

    Will have to give them a try then.

  22. Kellyt from Boise July 4, 2011 at 4:43 am -

    I have been grating radishes onto salads and into soups.  It adds a nice zing and they are so easy and fast to grow

  23. Mike Lieberman July 5, 2011 at 8:08 am -

    I’ll have to do that. Thanks!

  24. Cathy Green July 28, 2011 at 11:50 am -

    Skimmed through the comments real fast…In our home garden we use radishes to mark where things are planted, ie: a circle of radishes planted around a squash hill. This year we tried out pickled radishes, really good 🙂

  25. Mike Lieberman July 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm -

    Good tip on that one. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Hblaise August 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm -

    I love how you use rocks as markers. It looks great, and has a nice organic feel. Plus it’s free! I’m going to do that. Thanks for the tip. 

  27. Mike Lieberman August 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm -

    Glad you likes.

  28. Cindy August 31, 2011 at 6:09 am -

    My kids tried their version of succession planting the other day. To hide the fact that they picked some carrots too soon, they replanted some half eaten in a new row. A nice straight line of wilted carrot tops kinda gave it away! 

  29. Mike Lieberman September 7, 2011 at 12:02 am -

    Hahahhaa. It was a good effort though.

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