Succession Planting for Vegetable Gardens

Succession planting is a method in which gardeners complete several plantings to increase crop availability during the growing season and maximize yield. Successful succession planting involves pulling out spent crops and immediately transplanting seedlings, or planting seeds into the empty space. As the growing season progresses, warm season crops replace early cold season crops. Once summer crops are harvested, fall crops are planted in their place.

The key to successful succession planting is to
“leave no idle ground.”

Depending on hardiness zone, this technique can be repeated two to four times each growing season. Connecticut covers four zones:

  • Zone 5b – temperature minimums from -15 to -10 degrees (Litchfield)
  • Zone 6a – temperature minimums from -10 to -5 degrees (Willimantic)
  • Zone 6b – temperature minimums from -5 to 0 degrees (Hartford)
  • Zone 7a – temperature minimums between 0 and 5 degrees (Bridgeport)

Connecticut First and Last Frost Dates

Last Frost DateFirst Frost Date
5b-LitchfieldJune 3September 12
6a-WillimanticJune 4September 13
6b-HartfordMay 12September 23
7a-BridgeportMay 8October 2

“Frost Dates” are they typical date on which a location has a 50/50 chance of being frost-free. It’s always a good idea to give a two-week buffer around frost dates ( 2 weeks forwards for spring, and two weeks backward for fall) to avoid any cold surprises.

Several techniques can be used for succession planting:

Staggered Planting starts the same crop every few weeks so the vegetables produce a continuous harvest over time. New crops mature as older crops are harvested to avoid all plants maturing at the same time. Lettuce is a perfect crop for staggered planting, in both the spring and Fall.

Catch Cropping places quick-growing crops between larger, slower-growing vegetables. The quick-growing crops can be harvested before the larger vegetables crowd/shade them out. Radishes can be tucked between squash, giving a quick crop before the larger squash leaves mature.

Quick growing lettuce pairs well with slower growing tomato plants

Harvest and Sow grows different crops in the same space over the growing season. When one crop is harvested, it is replaced with another crop. When spring greens are harvested, they can be replaced with bush beans. Harvest beans can then again be replaced with quick-growing late season greens.

Many vegetables also come in multiple varieties with different “days to maturity”- an easy option is to plant all varieties at the same time as they will naturally stagger harvests.

“Days to Maturity” is the time it takes a crop to be ready for harvest (from seed germination to maturity) and is key to figuring out the best planting intervals for a crop. Knowing a crop’s days to maturity allows a gardener to plan their crops for maximum yields during their specific growing season.

Early Spring Crops

Days to Maturity Interval Between Planting
Peas55-70single sow
Beets40-702 weeks
Carrots85-953 weeks
Green Onions852 to 3 weeks
Onions90-120 from transplantsingle sow
Lettuce (leaf)45-502 weeks
Lettuce (head)70-852 weeks
Spinach50-602 weeks
Swiss Chard60-100single sow
Cabbage70-80 from transplant 3 weeks
Radishes25-302 weeks
Broccoli60-70 from transplant 2 weeks

Late Spring Crops

Days to Maturity Interval Between Planting
Beans (Bush)602 weeks
Beans (Pole)60-702 weeks
Spinach50-60 2 weeks
Early/Midseason Tomatoes65-90 from transplant2 plantings
Kohlrabi50-602 weeks
Cauliflower50-65 from transplant2 weeks
Summer Squash45-60 4 to 8 weeks
Winter Squash90-120single sowing

Summer Crops

Days to MaturityInterval Between Planting
Peas55-70single sowing
Zucchini45-604-8 weeks
Melons80-902 weeks
Late Tomatoes65-90 from transplantsingle sowing
Peppers60-70 from transplant single sowing
Beans (Lima)65single sowing
Corn (Sweet)70-1002 weeks
Eggplant65 from transplant 8 weeks
Cucumbers60 4-5 weeks

Fall Crops

Days to Maturity Interval Between Planting
Cauliflower50-65 from transfer2 weeks
Carrots85-953 weeks
Kale40-502 weeks
Turnips35-402 weeks
Late Cabbage70-80 from transfer2 weeks
Collards60-100single sow
Onions 90 to 120 from transfersingle sow

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