Spring to Summer Succession Gardening
As spring vegetables begin to decline and bolt, it’s time for the summer garden to face Sonoma County’s hot, dry summer. A carefully planned succession garden provides continuous harvest for months until it’s time for the next transition into fall and winter gardening.
How Succession Works
- A succession garden depends on creating a macro-plan for harvesting from season to season.
- Summer crops may be started from seed indoors and transplanted in May or June or sown directly in garden beds after the soil warms.
- Clearing away spring crops harvested early creates a cleared area ready for summer crops.
- Space may be reserved in the spring garden specifically for planting summer vegetables.
- Sowing and transplanting may also occur alongside waning spring vegetables as they are gradually harvested.
- Making a list each year to document the growing period and success of various fruits and vegetables throughout the year helps in allotting space.
- Useful lists include planting dates, number of days to harvest, and dates of first and last pickings.
- The Sonoma County Master Gardener’s “Vegetable Planting Summary” (see link below) identifies numerous vegetables that can be sown or transplanted in May or June.
- Succession planting plays a role in transitioning from spring to summer gardening by planting some crops, such as green beans or corn, at 1-2 week intervals for a continuous harvest.
- Companion planting involves planting two crops in the same area at the same time, such as radishes and slower germinating carrots.
- Intercropping means planting early-maturing crops between rows of late-maturing crops to increase production in a small area, such as radishes or green onions between rows of beans. The faster-maturing plants will be harvested before the others become large and competitive.
- Use the height of one plant to protect another that prefers less sun or situate tall, leafy plants on the north side of the garden so they do not overshadow sun-lovers.
- Some tender summer seedlings need sun protection for the first few weeks of their garden life. Consider planting them next to waning spring vegetables that will temporarily shelter them from hot, mid-day sun.
- Where leafy green, spring vegetables have grown in little sun, a successive summer vegetable planting may not be successful but a cover crop such as buckwheat or clover could be planted.
- Soil of a spring garden bed may benefit from the addition of well-composted organic material before summer crops are planted.
- Sonoma County Master Gardener Vegetable Planting Summary.