Do you get plumb ill when your tomatoes (or insert any vegetable name) become diseased and it seems like you just started harvesting? Or the lettuce you planted is done and you still want salad Many gardeners make the mistake of relying on one planting of a vegetable to be sufficient for the entire growing season. There’s a ‘thing’ called succession planting that may help out.
Succession planting is a gardening practice that involves planting tomatoes (or any vegetable) at intervals throughout the growing season. It’s also described as planting a new crop after an old crop is done. Planting this way, successively, ensures that, as older plants mature and end their production cycle, new ones start to produce. This article will focus on planting vegetables at intervals during the season. Using this technique requires planning and maybe adjusting varieties based on days to maturity or heat/cold tolerance.
Lettuce and radishes are popular vegetables to successively plant. Sow seeds every week into prepared soil, the reward is a good supply of fixings for salads during the spring months. For summer harvests, heat-tolerant varieties are recommended.
For vegetables like tomatoes or peppers, 2 to 4 plantings during the season is a good suggestion. However, this means you must have transplants ready to go in the ground on those dates. Planning is a must for this type of gardening.
For tomatoes and pepper, the first safe planting date for Central KY is May 5-May 15. The last safe planting date for central KY is June 15 to July 1. Many gardeners push these dates on both the early and late ends. An example would be planting tomatoes on April 30 (cold protection needed), May 30, and June 30. A fourth planting could be attempted on July 30 (or earlier) using a tomato variety with 50-55 days to maturity. This last planting would potentially need cold protection as well (see Table 1).
Beans, sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, and carrots are other vegetables that are easily planted in succession. See the Table 2 for recommended intervals.
This method works well for those gardeners wishing to enjoy fresh garden produce for as long as the season allows. For gardeners wanting to preserve, more garden space should be devoted to larger plantings with roughly the same harvest date.
Using succession planting, a gardener can harvest more and better quality produce from a garden site during a given growing season. Gardeners know their garden site and can adjust planting and seeding times in the table below. Here’s to a great 2021 vegetable gardening season!
Table 1: Tomato or pepper planting and seed starting dates for succession planting
|Plant outside||Start seedlings||Notes|
|April 30||March 15||May need cold protection Any maturity date|
|May 30||April 15||Any maturity date|
|June 30||May 15||Any maturity date|
|July 30||June 15||May need cold protection 50-55 days maturity|
Table 2: Seeding/transplanting intervals for vegetables and herbs
|Crops||Interval between sowings/plantings|
|Leaf or baby lettuce Radish Spinach Cilantro||7 days|
|Sweet Corn Bush beans Head lettuce||10 days|
|Beets Turnips Parsley Basil Dill||14 days|
|Cucumbers Melons Carrots||21 days|
|Summer squash||30 days|
Recommended intervals from Johnny’s Seed (https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/vegetables/succession-planting-interval-chart-vegetables.html
Submitted by Beth Wilson, Agent for Horticulture, Pulaski County Cooperative Extension Service