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hendi_alex
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My biggest mistake in succession planting

Waiting too long to start the next wave of plants.

As a result I often find myself with a break in production. For tomatoes we now start fresh batches of transplants every three weeks or so through the end of May. After May, fresh starts are gotten from cuttings. This tip growth always appears healthy and free of disease and produces replacement plants far quicker than via seeds.

For squash and cucumbers we used to wait until vines looked a little tired. Now replacements are seeded just before existing plants start to produce.

Green beans are planted in waves of small blocks. A new block gets planted about two weeks after the previous block sprouts.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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applestar
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Great tips! Thank you. :D
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feldon30
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Some great tips -- thanks!

I was advised to do succession planting of tomatoes, and I had every intention, but for whatever reason I just didn't do it. I guess part of the problem was, my tomato seedlings were growing very slowly due to the poor choice of seed starting mix (Jiffy) and I was wondering if they'd pull through. I've now got 3 cu ft of ProMix BX so that won't happen again. ;)

I sowed my Dragon Tongue beans on April 10, April 28, and May 13.

I sowed my Ambrosia and Bodacious corn on April 10, April 28, and May 23.

Hopefully I didn't space them too far apart.
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jal_ut
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Corn is the main crop in which I use succession planting. I plant only Ambrosia. I tried spacing by the calendar, ie every two weeks plant more. However, the temperature gets warmer each week in spring, and the later plantings came on faster because of that and it all got ready at once. Go figure. I came to the conclusion that corn maturation doesn't take so many days, but rather so many heat units. I now wait until the first planting is 3 inches tall then make the next planting. When the second planting is 3 inches tall , then plant again, etc.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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hendi_alex
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Good info about corn. I have not had good luck succession planting corn, as the later crop usually would grow but not produce. Perhaps I was waiting too long between plantings there as well. I'm thinking that the heat caused failure in the later batch. Maybe I'll try again, perhaps planting two or three batches, two weeks apart, just giving enough time for a stagger in in the harvest dates. Perhaps that will stretch the harvest from about two weeks to more like 4-6 weeks. Definitely something to try next year.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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ElizabethB
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Thanks Alex - I plant my bush beans every 2 weeks. I usually wait until August to plant tomatoes for a fall crop. I have not tried a mid summer crop. Cucumbers have a hard time with the summer heat. a friend of mine plants mid-season cucumbers where they get only morning sun.
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hendi_alex
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I think that morning sun is the best way to grow cukes in the heat of summer. For full sun areas I use shade cloth or plant in the shade of taller plants. In cooler locations the plants may produce from spring until frost. Here it usually takes three batches of plants to cover the season.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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feldon30
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I'm going to be hitting my cucumbers with Surround [tm] when it really starts getting hot. The thin film of kaolin clay acts as a sunblock and will give the plants a break so they aren't wilting and struggling so much. I also used Surround as I was having trouble with hardening off and I just wanted to get the plants in the ground. Didn't lose a plant.

I can certainly see the wisdom in succession planting based on how fast the seedlings grow, rather than a fixed schedule, because my first corn was slow to come up, the second batch faster, and the third, well, I don't know yet. ;)
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hendi_alex
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I'll be in Rock Hill next week, for nephew in laws graduation party. If you haven't found it yet be sure to visit Wilson's on HWY 5 which is West Main St. It is an excellent nursery. They have a great selection in the spring and have very reasonable prices.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I try to do succession planting. Sometimes especially when the weather was cold, the starts wouldn't start and some of the plants produced much longer than I anticipated. I try to only grow about 10 lettuce at a time, but it always ends up being more and I have to find places to put them. I restart more every 3 weeks or so. The beans restart themselves, and so do the tomatoes. I just pick up the plants I want to keep and as long as they are not in the way some of them find their own way. If the tomatoes are good they will last a very long time, so I don't start new tomatoes until the old ones are looking like they are headed for the last round up. Cucumbers about two weeks before the old one looks like it is giving out.

Some things like the araimo, ginger, myoga, onions are going to tell me when they are ready to go down.

I prefer to plant longer lasting plants that I can get multiple harvests from like basil, swiss chard, hon tsai tai, cutting celery and green onions, chives, oregano, and many of the herbs that are perennial like Mexican Tarragon, rosemary, thyme, Mexican oregano, greek Oregano, and I have a few mints, but they have to be divided frequently. And then there are the citrus trees.

My one crop that I grow successively is corn. I missed the first planting this year, but I am going to try winter corn again, now that I know I have to use a different variety. Unfortunately Silver Queen does not do well in winter.

For the summer I grow kabocha, hyotan, sugar baby watermelon, Waltham's butternut squash, and this year I am doing zucchini again. I am thinking of doing okra again, but I have to figure out if I have a place for them. I haven't grown them in years. In July I will start the broccoli seeds again and when it is a little cooler, I'll do beets again. I do grow daikon year round, and once in a while jicama will cooperate.

Some of the problems I have in timing my plantings is not only the number of plants to grow but to avoid having the pak choi, won bok, and lettuce mature at the same time, because I can't eat it all or give it away in time.
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feldon30
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

hendi_alex wrote:I'll be in Rock Hill next week, for nephew in laws graduation party. If you haven't found it yet be sure to visit Wilson's on HWY 5 which is West Main St. It is an excellent nursery. They have a great selection in the spring and have very reasonable prices.
I have been to Wilson's a few times, and I know people flock to it, but I have personally been disappointed in their tomato and pepper selection. After exploring their entire selection on a couple of visits in peak tomato season, I asked one of the managers what heirloom tomatoes they have. She pointed me to an "heirloom mix" which was literally a 3 pack of random varieties of unknown name. I asked if they ever get anything else and she said "we just take whatever they bring us on the truck". :shock: I think at this point what Wilson's has going for it is price -- the plants are just unbelievably cheap.

Less than 1,000 feet away is A.B. Poe Farmer's Exchange which is staffed with helpful, knowledgeable people and has tons of vegetable transplants. They have over 50 tomato varieties, plus quite a few peppers, cukes, squash, melons, herbs, etc. In addition to Bonnie's plants which do make up the bulk of their plants, they also start a few seeds themselves as people request them. They had Black Cherry, Marglobe, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, Homestead, and a few other interesting heirlooms that Bonnie's doesn't carry.

Unfortunately, Stacy's nurseries in Rock Hill closed up shop (I believe when Mr. Stacy passed away) and now they just produce plants for Metrolina Greenhouses which supply the big box stores around here.

I really meant to make it to the Charlotte Farmer's Market out by Charlotte airport this year. In past years, I've been there in April and people bring a mind-boggling selection of tomato and pepper transplants. I'd already started all the seeds I needed, but I still like to shop and be tempted! ;)
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hendi_alex
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

We go mostly for the flowers. They have a great selection of annual and alsoa pretty good selection of perenials. Vegetable transplants are somewhat limited but at $11-$12 per flat are attractively priced. I grow my own from seed for variety, usually buy a couple of assorted flats of various transplants. I visited Stacy's many times over the years. Theyhad lots of premium plants, but Wilson's always got mostof my business. For variety, I really love the farmer's market in Greensboro. We try to stop by when visiting our daughter.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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hendi_alex
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I'll have to try out A.B.Poe some time, perhaps next week.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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feldon30
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

Yeah I should hit up Wilson's for annual flowers. They did seem to have a good selection of those.
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

I love it Hendi_Alex! I've had some success in doing this previously in a small garden.
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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

hendi_alex wrote:Waiting too long to start the next wave of plants. . .
This is the case for me, way up here near 49° North latitude. I don't get too much of a chance for succession. Re-starting tomatoes is almost unimaginable, however, I can imagine doing something like that with Gold Nugget, a determinate & very quick.

There is little reason for me to keep the peas around after their flush of production. Green beans have to go in that ground or they will be overtaken by Autumn frost. Still, that works so well, following peas with bush beans, there is little reason to plant many beans early. Bush beans can really take a hit from spider mites if they are sown early and left to grow old. I don't like spraying when it is really not necessary, the late sowing is coming on so well the early sowing can be pulled.

I get in a little trouble anticipating problems that never show up. Easy to fit zucchini starts in with the early cabbage and broccoli. They have to go anyway. Then the May-sown zucchini never has problems with mildew and there is this boatload of zucchini in September!

Most varieties of cucumbers "play out" late. It isn't as tho there are none but new plants did very well in 2013 for my first time starting some extra cukes late. Good Heavens, I had lots of cucumbers!!

It is interesting how jal_ut uses the height of sweet corn rather than the calendar. I think I can do that. I'll think of heat units as "solar" so that my reliance on the solar calendar won't seem misplaced after all these years.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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Re: My biggest mistake in succession planting

If you're interested in traveling a bit, Spartanburg, SC has a great nursery. Piedmont Farm and Garden. They have a *HUGE* selection of heirlooms. Plants. Tomatoes and peppers. Herbs... You name it! I would say more than 100 heirloom varieties just in tomatoes. I love that he stays as organic as he can. He does put ant killer on the gravel in his greenhouses. Great place, great plants, nice folks. Definitely worth the drive. I think they mail order plants, too.

https://www.piedmontfarmandgarden.com/default.asp?m=0
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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