Saturday, June 2, 2012

Successive Planting

As most of you know who follow this blog regularly we eat from our gardens from about April to the end of October. For the other 5 to 6 months of the year we eat predominately what we can in jars, freeze or dehydrate from those same gardens. We have found that plantings made at timed intervals, to mature at staggered dates, establish a continuous harvest over a long period. This makes it possible to eat fresh vegetables most of the spring and summer and even early into fall. In the picture above we have broccoli being harvested as well as younger broccoli plants for the next harvest. Once the older plants quit bearing they will be pulled up making way for a different crop and the younger plants will be ready to harvest. In mid July we will again plant a new crop of broccoli for picking in Early October. 

Another trick..notice in the picture above how I have planted corn on the left side of this broccoli and there is a pea fence on the right side. By mid June the corn will be tall enough to help shade the broccoli which tends to prefer it a little cooler. The pea fence once harvest is complete will be planted with cucumbers again helping to shade the cooler loving plants once it covers the fence. 

Having a thick mulch will also help to conserve moisture and shade the roots of the plants also helping them to withstand the hotter temperatures of summer. The mulch above is nothing more than grass clippings from the lawns. 

The same practice applies to peas. It is the last day of May and the peas are being picked from our first planting of peas. These were planted just before St. Patrick's Day.

But on the other side of the garden are 2 more rows of young peas in a more shaded portion of the garden waiting to take their place producing not only meals with fresh peas but also peas to put in the freezer for later in the year. Between the rows of corn and the peas a row of mustard and lettuce has just come out and this row will be planted with horticulture beans. Once the peas are done they will be replaced with cucumbers to climb on the fencing. 

And still yet a third planting of peas. A row of hybrid bush peas that are supposed to be more heat tolerant and also not require fencing. These are somewhat of a gamble and depend greatly on the weather. If it stays cooler for another month or so we will have peas. If not they will simply not make and be tilled into the soil to enrich it.  Some years that gamble pays off and some years it doesn't. Welcome to gardening!

Like with so many crops corn is planted successively also. We like planting earlier because the later corn tends to be more bothered by worms. Again we have corn about 4 foot high in the smaller garden shading the broccoli and cool weather crops that are still in the ground. 

Then in the summer garden we again have 3 rows of corn only a few inches high as a second crop. And for all of you who always comment about how weed free my gardens always are. SEE I HAVE WEEDS TOO!! But hopefully not for long I just don't hoe as fast as I used to..

With just a little forethought and ingenuity your harvest can be extended from last frost date to first frost of fall and beyond.  Over the years we have learned that these areas of fertile land are indeed prime real estate. By keeping the crops rotating in and out we can keep our family and to an extent our animals fed most of the year. We try to take advantage of every square inch. When a crop is not being grown a cover crop is.

For all of you gardeners out there..

What do you plant successively? 

Blessings from The Holler


  1. I've never been good at planting successively-but I'm trying harder to achieve it this year : )And your post is good inspiration-as well as an educational too!

  2. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience of gardening and food preservation! I feel like it is an online gardening workshop because I am learning so much! Your gardens are beautiful...Martha Stewart should be jealous....tee hee hee! Out of curiosity, what percentage of your food must be purchased from the grocery store? It must be a small amount. That is my goal and successive gardening is exactly what I need to accomplish it.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and I am truly flattered. We buy less than 1% processed food. I buy grains oatmeal, grits, flour and rice. I buy dairy when I can get it from a local dairy as well as fresh butter or cream. I cannot always get it. I buy oils, coconut, olive and occasionally vegetable oil. I produce my own lard for soap making and some baking. I buy alcohol, peroxide and some toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant but I try to purchase that with as little bad stuff as I can find. I purchase some spices. I purchase sugar and buy honey from a local farmer. I also purchase vinegar, baking powder and baking soda. We produce probably 80% of our own meat including pork, chicken, rabbit and turkey. We kill and butcher several deer every year and occasionally eat wild game including wild turkey, fish, frog legs and turtle. That about wraps up my shopping list : )

  3. I love your post today; the pictures of your garden are beautiful and inspiring. My garden desire is to plant all of our crops in succession to ensure plenty of harvest throughout the season.

  4. Wow! What a marvelous garden . . . How wonderful it must be to have the space to grow enough food to eat all summer and put up for the winter. I loved your post on going to seed, too. My sister-in-law, is worried about her asparagus going to seed. I'm going to give her your blog address. I think this will help her, relax and go with it. Have a wonderful weekend, Connie :)

  5. Great, educational post today, CQ. Thank you so much for always being so informative and helpful.
    Hope you all have a blessed day!

    P.s. If I don't comment much it's because I really can't stand the new blogger comment thing. It's worse than before. :/

  6. I know you said something about cover crops. I was wondering what the "best" cover crop is in your opinion? I have never done cover crops and was wondering about doing that this year.

    1. I use different cover crops. My favorites are regular old mustard greens I eat what I want and can what I want and the rest gets worked into the soil other than a few that I leave to go to seed for the beneficials and seed. The same with field peas. I plant lots of field peas as cover crops and green manures. I save a few for myself also. I have used buckwheat also. Let it go to seed as the chickens love it! The other cover crop that I use regularly is cheap bird seed. Usually a mixture of millet and sunflowers I plant it and let it grow for 30 to 45 days and till it in or just mow it. Instead of buying expensive cover crop seed I buy dried beans or peas from the grocery store. Yes they will grow and make great cover crops. Let them grow until they bloom and then mow or till into the soil. Cover crops and green manures do not have to be expensive. Have old seeds that you don't like throw them out and let germinate and then till into the soil.

  7. Wonderful information! I'm still new enough to gardening that we don't even think about succession planting. I'm hopeful to start changing that next year when I go to plan out my garden. I know I'll be coming back here for good ideas. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  8. O nice and lovely...I have just a small back yard garden...but it's only my second year in this garden and I'm trying to figure out all the things...I have to move my tomatoes but to discover that white flies are over my wonderful large plant...(I"m so mad) trying to find a solution you know what that would be..?? there are white flies and these small red brownish bugs....I wish at time I had more space to plant...hum maybe not lol more work..these days I can barely get this space maintenance.. I'm Janice from come visit some time...have a great day with love Janice


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