Harvesting vegetables is a great reward for all the hard work you’ve put in planting, watering and weeding during the season. Why not keep it going? Plant a fall veggie garden to continue producing the quality, homegrown foods you love.
Benefits of Succession Planting
Successive planting, or succession planting, is growing a second round of crops after harvesting the first. In this case, it’s planting another group of vegetables in late summer or early fall for harvesting later in the fall before the first major frost.
The major benefit of succession planting is having a continuous harvest until mid to late fall, which means more delicious, fresh produce for you! By planting a second round of crops, you’re using your garden to its fullest potential. Since the main growing period during succession planting is July through September, you won’t have to worry about the fluctuating temperatures damaging your veggies like you might have to in early spring.
Bonus: Since you may be planting the same type of vegetables you planted in the spring, you’ll be better prepared to handle pests and diseases!
Preparing to Plant
Preparing the ground for another round of crops is very important for successive planting.
- Decide where you want to plant your new veggies. Pick an area where the first round of produce has all been harvested and pull up the existing plants. This could be tomato or pea plants that have stopped producing or potatoes, onions or sweet corn that you have already harvested. While pulling up the old vegetable plants, make sure to also remove any weeds in your growing area. This will save you the time and effort of weeding after planting.
- Condition your soil so it’s ready for a second crop. This may include adding Earl May Structure if you have clay soil. Add in compost as well to make sure your new veggies get off to a healthy start.
- Choose your planting method. You can either start your seeds indoors or sow them directly. If starting seeds, you can also place them in a shaded, cooler area outside. Seed starting is beneficial because you can control the temperature of the soil and other growing conditions during the hot months of July and August. If you’d like to sow them directly into the garden, make sure to cool down soil by keeping it moist. Adding a shade cover to that area is helpful as well.
What to Grow
Several varieties of veggies do well in a fall garden. When choosing your seeds, make sure to check the packet to see how long it takes them to mature. That way you know when they’ll be ready to harvest. Keep your selection to vegetables that have shorter maturity times. You’ll want to be certain the produce will be ready before the first frost.
Vegetables that would do well for a succession planting include lettuce, radishes, peas, spinach, turnips, beets, cabbage, green beans, carrots and broccoli. For more info on growing times and a detailed planting calendar for your area, choose your state: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
Tips for Success
- Start with Cool Soil – Make sure your soil is cool before planting, especially in the late July and August heat. Water the area before planting seeds, then again after. Keep the area covered and shaded from the sun during germination.
- Water Them Well – The hot temperatures in July, August and sometimes early September can be hard on plants, especially when sowing them directly in your garden. Watering regularly can help them develop and grow more successfully.
- Prepare Coverings – Have some fabric or another type of cover prepped for the plants in your fall garden. Temperatures later in the season may cool down enough that you’ll want to protect your plants overnight. This is just a cautious step to making sure they continue to thrive and continue to produce until harvesting is complete.
- Fertilize – Remember to fertilize your veggies throughout their growing period as well. Follow instructions on your preferred fertilizer product for timing and application directions.
As always, if you have questions about succession planting or something else, contact your local garden center. We’re here to help answer your questions and assist with all your gardening and plant needs!
Don’t have a backyard garden space? No problem! Learn how to Garden Without a Garden.
Vegetable seeds are available in our garden centers or online. (When ordering online, please note that they may or may not be ready for pick-up the same day. Sometimes seed packets are shipped from our Distribution Center and may take more than one day to arrive at your local Earl May Garden Center.)