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Idea thread for succession planting

Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
So after 2 years of intense gardening, Ive begun my focus on succession planting and companion planting. Id like to share a few of my ideas and get some feedback or at the very least give others ideas as well. What I found this year was that certain parts of my garden weren’t being utilized at certain times of the year, annuals of course. In addition to perennializing a lot of the annuals I thought I would maximize my spaces. Here goes.

1) I have a hugelkultur style raised bed with strawberries and garlic. The garlic is just there for some general pest protection, diversity and Im testing it to see what happens if I leave it in the ground from year to year. So active growth for strawberries would be from March to June. Once berries are done being picked, which is about now, I will plant some chickpeas which should be done by September. Just before those are done I will plant Fava beans and take them through November. That gets me through 9 months instead of just 3 months.

I have more ideas, but wanted to see if this type of thread would interest anyone before I go posting novel!

Updated:

2) The next idea is for a potato patch. I grow my potatoes in between hugelkultur beds and I fill up the gap between them with leaves, dried grass, straw and other types of compost. I do this instead of dirt, I find it’s a good use of space and works well for my crop plantings since I wont be stepping on them at certain times. Typically I put chicken wire on the ends to help hold everything in. This coming year, IM going to make the chicken wire on all 4 sides and make it higher to take up smaller space.

So from May to October I will be growing potatoes, from March to June I grow flax as a cover, beneficial attractor and companion plant. I will also be growing alliums on the ends of the potato beds from Fall until the following summer. I just need something that I can plant after the potatoes that will take them into the spring…this is where I was thinking winter wheat would work well, it holds the ground over the winter and then gives me straw to start my potatoes in.

3) Right next to my potato patch I plan on planting snow peas. These actually climb up the sides of the chickenwire cage that I plant the potatoes in. These would grow from March to June/July. At the base I would be growing carrots, radish, and lettuce from March June/July. Once the end of August comes around I will probably plant all of these again in succession for fall and winter harvests.

I just have to see what will grow well in that area between June and August. Any ideas?


4) Next is the sweet potato hugelkultur bed. This is occupied from May to Septemberish. Im thinking a bush bean from May to July/August over top of the sweet potatoes and then maybe a hardy spinach for Sept through April. I could either harvest the spinach in early winter or cover it up and keep it for an early start for spring.


permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
Yes, I would love to see what has worked for you.

I just pulled up garlic and carrots and am following with lima beans.  Obviously what you can follow with would depend on the length of your growing season - mine is longer than yours (so to speak).

Any bare areas get planted with mustard and spinach in the fall but I am sure I could do better than that.


1. my projects
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Another idea I had for my potato area would be to grow hard winter wheat from fall until spring. That way I could have winter cover and then chop/drop for my potatoes...right in place. The issue with that is it would require input of seeds every year, which Im trying to avoid. Any other ideas for this?
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3917
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  83
Rob, I'm totally unfamiliar with your climate. I'm assuming there's 3 months when it's too snowy/cold to grow anything outside?
Could you leave a small patch of wheat to ripen and save the berries? Will your climate allow?
That way you'd have the benefit of a high-carbon addition and a built-in rotation.
I dig my garlic,  but I always miss some. I don't get nice, fat cloves as everything's squashed in together, but if bulb aesthetics aren't an issue...
It 'll just keep on going in my garden and I like green garlic.

John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6597
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
A great crop for succession planting is Snow Peas.  They are about 60 days from seed to table, and do well in summer heat when most peas wilt.  I stagger plantings every 3-4 weeks for continuous harvest, but here is the kicker:  About 3 weeks before your first expected frost, plant a row of them.  They will grow to about half size before the frost shuts them down.  The plant will go dormant through the winter, then as soon as the soil warms in spring, growth will resume as if nothing had happened.  That is when to start your first spring row.  You will be eating fresh snow peas a full month before your spring planting is ready.  (I guess that is why the Chinese named them "Snow" peas.)
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
John Polk wrote:
A great crop for succession planting is Snow Peas.  They are about 60 days from seed to table, and do well in summer heat when most peas wilt.  I stagger plantings every 3-4 weeks for continuous harvest, but here is the kicker:  About 3 weeks before your first expected frost, plant a row of them.  They will grow to about half size before the frost shuts them down.  The plant will go dormant through the winter, then as soon as the soil warms in spring, growth will resume as if nothing had happened.  That is when to start your first spring row.  You will be eating fresh snow peas a full month before your spring planting is ready.  (I guess that is why the Chinese named them "Snow" peas.)



You are correct about the winter months. I would save berries, but I grow oats as well since we cant eat anything with gluten. So I dont want to risk the contamination since they grow closer together. When I grow hard winter wheat, I cut it down before the heads get close to developing and use it for straw/hay.


@John...what zone are you in that you can do that? Any particular variety that has worked well for you?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6597
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
I have grown them that way in zones 7, 8, and 9, and hopefully will be able to try it in Z6 this winter.  I had 2 foot plants under a foot of snow for a couple of months, and they did fine once spring came.  I have always planted Oregon Sugar Pod II (developed by Dr. Jim Baggett of OR St. U), since the first time I grew them they did very well, and have never disappointed me since.

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1016/214
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Thanks John. I assume you will be in zone6 this year? If so Id like to hear the results of this, it sounds very promising.
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Updated original post.
Alex Ojeda
volunteer

Joined: Oct 20, 2010
Posts: 290
    
  24
I'd like to get more information on how the idea of leaving plants to reseed themselves works.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  I was hoping for someone to say something like, I plant x and x and x and they play well.  One is running in the winter, one runs in the summer and the other is a permanent fixture.  They reseed themselves and live in harmony.

Any ideas on that?  I've got collards, Cilantro, Dill, Broccoli, and others that I've left to reseed.  Crossing my fingers to see what happens.

Thanks in advance!
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Ive been messing with this a bit too, I think alot of it depends on your zone because the back to back timing will be based on seed germination and seed drop from the plant. A plant might drop its seeds in June, but they might not germinate until September etc. so its hard to say. I will post back if I find anything interesting this year.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6597
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
A side note on the snow peas:  They are an edible pod pea.  They are best picked young (immature).  The Oregon Sugar Pod II is best picked @ 2- 2 1/2" in length...3" is kind of pushing the envelope for tender peas.  When the peas first develop, there will be a "bump" in the pod where each pea is forming.  As it matures, the bump will become more pronounced...you don't want that.  As the pea develops, it will become pithy.  Little bumps = tender, well formed round bumps = pithy.  Also, as the peas (seeds) mature, the plant recognizes that it has accomplished its goal of reproducing and will cease producing seed.  If you constantly pick the immature pods, the bush will keep producing pods in the hope of reproducing itself.

The biggest problem with them is getting enough for dinner...I usually munch on all of them while in the garden.  LOL
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
I have that problem as well! So are these actually as sweet as regular snow peas or are they more starchy?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6597
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
They are a sweet pea.  They are at least as good as any you could buy in the market.  Not starchy at all.
Rob Sigg


Joined: Feb 04, 2010
Posts: 710
Location: PA-Zone 6
Attached is a PDF of my current overall plan. Any ideas or crits?


[Download SucPlan.pdf] Download

John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6597
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
Looks like you'll be busy around the last week of April!
 
 
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