Garden Blog

Succession Planting for Extended Harvest

Succession planting for a pro longed harvest!


Succession planting involves planning your garden to keep the space productive throughout the growing season.  It enables us to harvest diverse vegetables continuously over a longer period of time.  Succession planting includes replacing spent plants with fresh ones appropriate to the time of year and planting every week or two during the planting window to ensure a staggered harvest.

This type of garden planning is essential to those who want to produce as much food as possible in a small space but also to people who do more extensive preservation of their produce.  I personally want my tomatoes ripening over several months rather than all in one week.  Admittedly, the harvest always feels like a windfall.  But it gives me more time to properly can, dry or freeze the gems without losing any to the inevitable delay due to general life (vacations, illness, etc.).  With a staggered harvest I can give away the ripening tomatoes while I am gone for the weekend and then there are still many to eat fresh or store when I return.

In order to do this well, you’ll need a pencil and paper.  You’ll need to make a map or spreadsheet of your garden beds.  (WHAT?)  Yes, during this crazy time of year when all you want to do is crawl into the nearest garden bed, roll around and breathe in that ever intoxicating smell of warm earth – you must take a moment to PLAN.

OK, well maybe I am being over-dramatic, but admit it—I know you gardeners. You are crazy with fever, for sun and wind and soil under your nails and in your nose. I get it. Let’s make this short and sweet.

First of all, make your spreadsheet or map and for each bed decide what you want to plant in the spring and what might follow it.  Remember this isn’t necessarily set in stone if you don’t want it to be.  Use your own style and change your mind if you like.

If you use the principles below you’ll find everything falls into place nicely.

  • Succession planting for a longer harvest, gardening tips from Sow True Seed Asheville NC.

Succession Planting Principles for your Garden

  • Plant seeds every week to two weeks during your planting window for veggie types that have a small harvest window – beets, carrots, radishes, other root crops, lettuce, cucumber, summer squash, bush beans.
  • Plant transplants and seeds of the same vegetable at the same time.
  • Plant early, mid and late ripening varieties at the same time.
    • For example, plant Golden Bantam 12-Row Improved (79 days) , a dent corn like Hickory King Yellow (90 days) and the popcorn Pensylvania Dutch Butter Flavored (102 days) at the same time! Three varieties with different uses, ripening in succession. 
    • Follow short season vegetables with long season ones: For example, follow lettuce or radishes with tomatoes.
    • Do not plant vegetables from the same family in succession. For example, follow Broccoli with Beans. Dry beans are good for later season and they feed the soil following the heavy feeding of broccoli, Provider or Black Turtle Beans are good varieties.
    • DO NOT follow Broccoli with Brussel Sprouts.  Being from the same family they share disease and insect pests.
    • Use heat tolerant varieties in the spring to extend them into the warmer months. This is not such a concern in the fall. Parris Island Romaine is a great heat tolerant romaine to consider.
    • Interplanting is another way to make the most out of your space. For example, radishes can line the bed of chard.  Carrots can grow below tomatoes.


And remember, while you might keep your decorum in the garden, it’s not necessary……especially when you have a wealth of garden produce at your feet or in your freezer year round.



Article Written by: Angie Lavezzo

About the Author: Angie Lavezzo is the former general manager of Sow True Seed. Beyond her professional role at Sow True, Angie's passion for gardening extends into personal hands-on experience, fostering plants and reaping bountiful harvests.