Succession planting is the practice of replanting an area with a new crop as soon as you harvest the original crop so that you can get the most out of your space. Like crop rotation, it happens almost without effort in a Square Foot Garden.
You will find when you switch to Square Foot Gardening that you can’t stand to see a square empty, so you automatically replant as soon as the harvest is finished. Since it’s not a big crop that goes in each square, the next planting is quick and easy. Voila! Succession planting!
Know Your Growing Seasons
Remember, in most climates, there are really three growing seasons in each year—spring, summer and fall. Even if you don’t have three full seasons, you can start earlier and end later in the season with the use of a PVC dome, or other protective structure plus the addition of row cover and/or plastic sheeting. NOTE: If you use plastic sheeting, on warm or sunny winter days, you’ll need to remember to vent the plastic so that you don’t end up frying your plants.
Each season has its own crop and harvest. Below is a list of fall crops from All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd edition.
When the spring crop is harvested, replant in the same space for a new summer crop. After you harvest a square, all you need to do is add a trowel of blended compost and stir it into the Mel’s Mix already in the square. This refreshes the nutrients in that square and you’ll be ready for the next crop.
When to Expand
If you find the square foot method to be a simple and productive as we’ve promised, and if you really are going to have the time to take care of a bigger garden, you can easily add another raised bed at this time.
If you want to include larger plants, like zucchini or corn, add another raised bed. If you want to have enough to can or freeze, plant additional raised beds.
Remember! someone has to take care of all those additional raised beds. Keep the garden at a size you’ll be able to take care of conveniently all summer. Keep track of your garden and your harvest by using a garden journal or spreadsheet to make sure you really need or want to add extra gardens to care for.
We really can’t stress enough the importance of starting small.
If your garden doesn’t produce quite as much of a harvest as you would like, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that it stayed neat, clean and attractive and did yield a good harvest.
It will be easy enough to expand your garden in subsequent years as you get some experience under your (green) thumb. In fact, it will be easier to add beds and plan what to plant after your first season because then you will have a better idea of what you can handle and how much each block will produce. Additional raised beds can be added to the garden any time during the season.
Square Foot Gardening really is an almost year-round venture!