User avatar
ID jit
Green Thumb
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:00 pm
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

I grew up repeating a pattern of gardening that worked. That pattern was all about large amounts of produce coming around and the same time for winter storage. Trying to learn something new since I no longer have to deal with all that mess.

What I want to learn is how to stagger plants so I have none... none... ALL ... none thing happening.

The basic question is: With a given plant, does fruition happen after so many days after germination, tive-er-gake some smaller variables?

Or: If I bought 6 broccoli plants, planted the 2 strongest plants and held the other 4 back with less light, in their little six pack, then planted the next 2 strongest plant say 2 weeks later... then the last 2 plants two weeks after that, would I get broccoli over a longer period of time or would I end up with the later plants just not producing well?

Thanks much.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

I would plant all that broccoli at the same time. Often times after the main head is cut the plants will send out side shoots with many smaller heads.

To get a spread out harvest, best to start seeds at different intervals. When the first planting is three inches tall make a second planting etc.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

bri80
Senior Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

There's a couple approaches you can take, but I would not purposefully stunt your broccoli plants.

1) Buy packets of seeds with several different varieties, plant them all at the same time, thin appropriately and you should get several different varieties going at the same time. The varieties all mature at slightly different times, providing a spread-out harvest. Repeat this once a month for say, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and you'll have a several week harvest spread out over the whole summer and fall. Most seed companies sell packets of mixed varieties for this purpose these days, or you can mix your own with your favorite varieties.

2) Plant a row of something every few weeks to spread out your harvest. Bear in mind that, due to increasing light conditions, lettuce for example planted on March 15 will probably not mature more than a couple days faster than lettuce planted on April 1. But lettuce planted on June 1 will mature a full two weeks faster than lettuce planted on June 15, due to the full light conditions (this, of course, becomes less true the further south you go).

Certain things that hold in the ground well, or require a whole season to mature, for example swiss chard, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, etc I don't stagger, just pick off of as I please, or in the case of things like potatoes I plant for a single harvest in the fall that is for storage, like you're used to doing.

Most of my staggering is lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11215
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

Sucession planting takes planning. Days to maturity helps in planning when to plant and how much and an approx date for the next succession. But as others have mentioned other factors come in like the temperature and hours of daylight. Say something like lettuce. Looseleaf lettuce matures anywhere from 40-55 days after germination. So a guestimate would be planting seed by counting backward the average time say 45 days + 7 days for germination = plant seed 52 days before planned harvest. How much to plant depends on if you are going to harvest leaves in between and how much lettuce you can eat in that time frame. For me, I plant about 10-15 seeds to yield about 8-10 heads in 45 days. I will eat the outer leaves as they mature and pull everything before the head starts to ball up. For me that can be anywhere from 30-45 days depending on how hot it is. Hotter weather makes the lettuce tipburn and bolt faster. When it is in the 60's lettuce grows very slow and is smaller. Ideally, when the temperature is between 70-80 the lettuce grows the fastest and the biggest (March-May). After June it is not worth planting lettuce. I would plant successive crop of 10-15 seeds every 14-21 days for a continuous crop, but I usually stop planting lettuce from May -September because it is just not worth it.

Short crops are the hardest ones to plan. Take the number of days to maturity +- 7 days. Add the days to germination to determine your planting dates. Plant as many plants as you can eat in 7-14 days. Replant seeds every 2-3 weeks until you reach your planting window. There are planting guides like the ones on the Farmers' almanac. It tells you the best times to plant based on your last frost dates, but also takes into account the plants' tolerance to temperature. The start dates may be off a few days so you may have to fudge the starting dates a bit more.

You also need to be careful if you are planting a garden of different plants to make sure that everything does not come in at the same time. Asian greens like bok choy, and lettuce mature about the same time. So stagger them out so everything will not come in at the same time.

Peppers, tomato, eggplant, beans are warm weather and do best when the temperature approaches 70
They have repeat harvests so a few plants can provide for a while. Beans and peas produce for about a month. So you have to replant them every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest if you want them fresh.

Some things are seasonal and take a long time to mature like onions, cabbages, celery so it is important to start them at the right time of the year.

The hardest thing to do is to leave part of the garden empty so you have someplace to plant the succession crop. What you can do is plant a cover crop in the garden and till in the cover crop as you plant the new seeds or seedlings. Most cover crops peak at around 6 weeks but you can till them in earlier. If you like radishes you can plant them as a first crop since they mature in about 21 days.

You are not alone. I have this problem too, mainly planting more than I can eat in a given space of time. I forget that romaine lettuce, beets, carrots, and beans all mature around the same time. So, I have to space them out a week apart from each other so I have more time to harvest. It is why I prefer to grow longer crops that are more productive over a longer period of time. Green eggplant, swiss chard, kale, green onions, herbs, hot peppers, sweet potatoes, ginger, taro, and tomatoes. I usually plant tropical corn, eggplant, tomatoes, and NZ hot weather spinach in summer, they are the only things that can take the heat. July-August is the best time to solarize.

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planti ... /MA/Boston
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27647
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

If you live in short spring (freeze to blazing) and fall (blazing to freeze) season area like me, with winter lows that are too cold for successfully overwintering broccoli (single digits and below), they can be a challenge to grow.

Given the limited window of opportunity, I wouldn't try to stagger planting them here. It can get too hot too quickly plus you want them to grow to a good size before the cabbage whites start flying in earnest and once the heat arrives, the cabbage moths will join the onslaught.

I have been trying to choose the earlier maturing varieties -- they range from something like 55 days to 75 days. So growing several different varieties with eye to their maturity days as bri80 suggested would definitely insure staggered harvest. :D
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
ID jit
Green Thumb
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:00 pm
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

Thanks for the replies... was what I was afraid of hearing... Am not really stunting the plants, they are getting water all the water thy need, are a little root bound at this point and are getting more filtered light. Plan is to get them into 2 liter SIPs today or tomorrow and just keep the light minimal.

I do not want to start my own seeds.... I buy a 6 pack of plants and go from there. Same is true for most other things that are not conducive to seeds into the ground stuff. (Never gotten past being used as slave labour in huge subsistence gardens as a kid to my late teens.) Funny thing is that I started thinking about how to adapt DIY aquarium grow lights to work for regular plants.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27647
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

Look around and see if you can find nurseries that sell different varieties. Don't settle for ones that sell started plants labeled "broccoli" "cabbage" etc. you could also see if anyone sells them on Craigslist. I'm seeing ads now -- e.g. tomato plants for $1-$3 each, with varieties listed -- albeit boring hybrids that I wouldn't grow Haha :lol:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

bri80
Senior Member
Posts: 282
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

Withholding adequate light for some starts will almost certainly stunt them, as well as cause etiolation. I don't think you'll get much difference in harvest time, just a smaller harvest. But that's just my opinion.

I'd encourage you to experiment direct-seeing some broccoli. It does way better than raising transplants, especially if you're buying nursery transplants - poor excuses for decent plants that they usually are! Good luck.

User avatar
ID jit
Green Thumb
Posts: 340
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:00 pm
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

bri80 wrote:Withholding adequate light for some starts will almost certainly stunt them, as well as cause etiolation. I don't think you'll get much difference in harvest time, just a smaller harvest. But that's just my opinion.
No clue what etiolation is, but I agree with you conclusion.

applestar... you are just a bit south and west of where I am..... am 30 - 45 minutes from the cape cod canal, just above the RI / MA boarder.
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

etiolation = bleaching out
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11215
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Relieve Me of My Ignorance, if You Would

If you only need a few plants, then it can make sense to buy starts, but as Rainbow said, you won't get a lot of choice in variety. However, most likely the store suppliers will be growing varieities suitable for your area and the seedlings will be out at the proper time for planting. Just get young seedlings with fat stems, not the spindly old ones. I never have good luck with seedlings that have been kept in a pot too long and mine are kept outdoors so it is not a light problem but the fact that they get rootbound and that sets them back. Most veggies are annuals and don't take kindly to setbacks.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”