Succession planting or succession seeding is an integral part of enjoying fresh produce year round. In order to do this accurately, you are going to want to dedicate certain areas of your garden to continually plant in. Even though I know you want to plant your entire garden space all at once, it is important to leave sections to re-seed one-time crops such as radishes, beets, & carrots. This is a very important step in maximixing your gardens output and the amount of fresh veggies you will be able to enjoy!
Three Ideal Crops for Succession Planting
Below is a quick guide to planting Radishes, Beets, and Carrots
Radishes are a crop that you can count on throughout most of the year (specifically in Northern and Southern California). They mature in as short as 21 days in the summer time, so don’t be afraid to reseed every week or two. Another thing to consider is which variety you are planting. Most seed packets will tell you days to harvest so you can properly plan for your succession planting and know when you will be ready to harvest. Radishes are sometimes used in “no-till” methods of farming and don’t need amazingly soft soils to be successful.
The reason succession planting is great for radishes is the rapid change of flavor if left in the ground too long. It is possible for them to split and become woody when not harvested on time. It has been said that high temperatures without ample water cause radishes to become extra spicy(as far as I know, this is not a proven fact)
Radishes provide a great amount of potassium, vitamin C, folate and fiber.
Beets take a bit longer than radishes and are great for succession planting. They should be planted about every 3 weeks from March to September in order to maintain a nice continual harvest. The average time for a beet to become ready to harvest in around 50-70 days.
Beets are a nice crop to have in the garden because you can use the entire plant. The greens are loved by many and are very similar to chard while the root can be used in many different applications
Beets are particularly rich in folate. Folate and folic acid have been found to prevent neural-tube birth defects and aid in the fight against heart disease and anemia. Beets are also high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps to keep your intestinal track running smoothly and soluble fiber helps to keep your blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels on track.
Carrots are a bit more difficult to grow and take more care and consideration, but are so fun to yank out of the ground and throw in a salad(and they taste so much better than most you’ll find in the store)!
Before planting, be sure that the soil is very soft and will allow the carrot to grow straight down into the ground. Often times your carrot will grow legs and twist and turn avoiding rocks and hard materials in its way.
The best time to be planting carrot seeds is February, March, April, May, & September. Generally, carrots will take about 70-90 days to harvest and some varieties can be left in the ground for storage for quite a while.
One technique for helping germination rates and carrot success is to use untreated burlap as a row cover. This allows sunlight in and helps retain moisture during the hot summer days.
You can succession plant carrots every 3 weeks or so to maintain a consistent stock of fresh, tasty carrots.
As the name implies, carrots are brimming with beta carotene. Beta carotene is a substance that is converted to Vitamin A in the human body. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked carrots contains four times the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A in the form of protective beta carotene.
Beta carotene is also a powerful antioxidant effective in fighting against some forms of cancer, especially lung cancer. Current research suggests that it may also protect against stroke, and heart disease. Research also shows that the beta carotene in vegetables supplies this protection, not vitamin supplements. So eat your carrots!
Other Notable Seeds to Succession Plant
Some other notable crops to succession seed are: Spinach, Lettuce and Sunflowers. These crops also need multiple seeding or planting if you want continual harvests in California. If you experiment with succession planting, your yields will last longer and you will begin to learn the intricacies of growing all types of crops year round–and never lose out of fresh organic produce!