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Succession Planting: An Easy Trick to Harvest More Food from Your Veggie Garden

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Extend your harvest season by utilizing the succession planting method. It’s an easy way to make your garden work harder.

And be sure to add some of these easy-to-grow vegetables to the plan, too!

succession planting to extend the harvest season.

Instead of simply cheering on the first of the radishes or ogling the tiny beans on your plants, it’s a good idea to think ahead.

What happens when you pull out those mature radishes and add them to your table? Unless you’ve planted another crop to follow the first, you’ll be out of radishes. Here’s how to extend your harvest season with succession planting.

Some plants – like squash and some tomatoes – will produce fruit continuously. Others, like radishes and beets are done the moment you harvest them, while crops like beans and peas tend to have a nice peak and then slow down in production.


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Succession planting to extend harvest season

Succession planting allows you to keep crops producing in your garden continuously during the growing season, essentially extending the harvest season. Planting an entire bed full of radishes at once will net you a huge harvest of radishes at one time.

Unless you really like radishes, a better bet is to utilize succession planting. Succession planting is a great way to maintain ongoing production from many of your garden crops. Radishes mature very quickly; plant a new row once a week and you’ll have a continuous supply of ripe radishes at the ready. Other crops work well for succession planting, too.

colorful red, pink, and purple radishes in a flat rectangular basket
  • Plant spinach and leaf lettuce weekly.
  • Corn, beans, peas, and turnips can be planted every 10 to 14 days up until eight weeks before your first expected frost.
  • Carrots, cucumbers, and melons take longer to mature, but a second planting about a month after the first will assure a longer harvest season for these as well.
green beans in a wooden box

I planted bush beans in early April and then pole beans in May. I’ve already harvested the beans from the bush plants and pulled them out because they were looking spent and not producing much. The pole beans were ready for picking just as the bush beans came to a halt.

Succession planting depends, of course, upon your weather, your frost dates, and what you’re planting.

  • Crops like sweet peas, spinach, and lettuce don’t do well in the heat, so instead of planting more of those crops, you’d be better to use that space in the garden for a different crop that prefers the warmer weather.
  • Make sure that anything you put in the ground will have time to mature before the first fall frost.

Need help keeping track of your crops and what you planted when? Consider keeping a garden notebook so you can refer to it year to year.

TWO red radishes with dirt on the roots

This post was originally published in June, 2011; it has been updated.

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Meet the Author

Kris Bordessa

Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She's a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.

6 comments… add one
  • Erin @ Blue Yurt Farms Apr 18, 2014, 8:48 am

    Such a great reminder. We’re still about a month away from our last frost date here, but love keeping a crop of radishes and arugula going as long as I can through succession planting!!

  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart Jun 28, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I thought of another question… what’s more efficient (for things like lettuce or spinach) … to pick and entire plant and reseed, or to grab just a few leaves from several plants and let the mature ones continue to grow?

  • Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart Jun 24, 2011, 12:29 pm

    None so far. We still have just wimpy seedlings on most things. :o(

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 27, 2011, 4:36 pm

      Aw. I think it’s been a lousy garden season for lots of people. I know I’m still struggling with lots of rain and cool temps; my tomatoes just don’t love it.

  • Yelena Jun 23, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I was just wondering about the same thing today. My yellow squashes and zucchinis are pretty much done. Another few days and I’ll pull them and free up the entire 4×6 bed. Not sure what to put there next though. Too hot for lettuces and radishes, but I’m afraid everything else will just take too long to grow. So maybe I’ll plant mini gourds.

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 27, 2011, 4:35 pm

      Does your season allow you to plant more squash? I find that basil does really well in the heat and matures quickly. Maybe a big patch for pesto?

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