The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Advantages of succession planting

Succession planting beans

Succession planting will take you a tiny bit more time (and more mental energy) than throwing in your garden all at once, but it's worth the extra effort.  Here are the top reasons to succession plant.

As I've mentioned before, you can beat bugs and diseases by planning your crops so that you've got a new bed ready to take over when the first bed succumbs

Succession planting corn

With determinate plants like sweet corn that bear all at once, succession planting is even more mandatory.  Wouldn't you rather eat corn on the cob throughout the summer instead of having to deal with one big glut on the fourth of July?

Mulched raised beds

Succession planting naturally breaks up garden work into bite-size chunks.  Nearly every week between the beginning of February and the middle of October, I plant something.  If I had to do all that work at once, I'd probably cut back my garden's size by three quarters.

Red raspberry

Technically, succession planting consists of putting in a new bed of the same vegetable at intervals throughout the growing season, but I take a more holistic view of the concept.  We plan our fruit and vegetable plantings so that different crops span as much of the year as possible.  As soon as the strawberries end, the red and black raspberries are bearing, then the blackberries, and so on.  If you're a real pro, you can plan your garden so that you've only got a glut of one type of food that needs to be processed for the winter at a time, but I'm not quite that good.

Hen with chicks on pasture

This year I even "succession planted" our chickens.  Rather than raising one big batch of broilers and then spending all week butchering them, we've started three smaller broods (and might incubate one more set of eggs in July.)  I'm still on the fence about whether this succession of chickens saves work, but it does help our pastures stay green.

If you're sold on succession planting, chances are you've still got an opportunity in 2011 to put the idea into practice.  Here in zone 6, there's a lot more succession planting of summer crops ahead and the fall garden is also going into the ground in stages.  Take a look at our summer planting and fall planting charts to find out what you can plant in your neck of the woods.

Our chicken waterer makes it easy to keep what amounts to four different flocks.  Although i still have to feed them every day, watering is a bimonthly chore.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Awesome that you're even succession "planting" your poultry! I've got a little space I reserved for succession crops, but not much. I mostly succession plant my amaranth greens because I love leafy salads all summer.
Comment by Eliza @ Appalachian Feet Thu Jun 23 12:54:53 2011
I'm still on the fence about whether succession planting chickens makes sense. The downside is that you have to deal with that nitpicky baby stage over and over (but the repetition does give you room to improve each time.) I think having to raise multiple sets of chickens will make more sense once we have broody hens (assuming we can trick them into sitting on eggs at intervals rather than all at once.)
Comment by anna Thu Jun 23 18:56:47 2011

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