Succession Planting

Allow me to share a cautionary tale that I call: The Celery Forest. Last year I planted ALL of my celery at the same time. This meant that all of the celery matured at the same time. Guess what? We ate a lot of celery within a couple of weeks. When not eating celery, we were pushing stalks into the arms of every person who came to our home. We had not yet learned the magical gardening strategy called succession planting.

Succession planting is for people who like their crops to ripen in a staggered and manageable fashion. To make this happen, spread out your seed-starting to every 3 weeks. This is fun for a couple of reasons: 1) you get to feed your family throughout the fall and winter with an ongoing wave of maturing vegetables, and 2) you get to keep planting seeds and raising seedlings all season long!

We learned a little about succession planting at the seed-starting workshop in September and honestly I don’t know why I hadn’t figured this out before.

I’m not kidding about the celery. We had a lot. A silver lining: notice the awesome lettuces in the container on the left. They were super easy to grow!

There are times when you’ll WANT to produce a large crop that matures all at once. For example, you might want to sell at a farmer’s market; maybe you want to take a bunch of veggies to the Oceanside Crop Swap; or perhaps you’d like to give a bunch of beautiful kale plants as gifts. There’s nothing wrong with having an abundance of vegetables. But if you’re planting a vegetable garden to produce food for your family and don’t want celery soup, celery sandwiches, celery snacks, etc. for every meal for days, succession planting is your solution.