Successional Veg


When I first started vegetable gardening I was very confused about what constituted a successional vegetable. Gardeners on TV shows and in books were always harping on about ‘carrying on with your successional sowings’ like everyone knew what to do. I didn’t.

So, now that I get it I thought it would be helpful to do a short post on what is successional sowing and which vegetables will benefit from being sown in this way.

Sowing successionally means that you sow a small amount of fast maturing crops at around 2 week intervals to give you a harvest the summer long instead of a glut at one particular time. These are normally vegetables that don’t store well in the ground or go to seed easily. For example, it’s a good idea to sow veg like lettuce in this way unless you really need 79 lettuce to be ready all at the same time.

It’s a good idea to separate your seed packets into those you need to sow once and those you need to sow successionally. I keep my successional veg packets on the potting shed bench throughout the growing season to remind me to sow a little of each every couple of weeks.

Vegetables that you might consider sowing successionally will include:

  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Spring Onions
  • Carrots (especially early Carrots)
  • All Salad Leaves
  • Rocket (in early Spring and late Summer)

Some people make two sowings of these vegetables throughout the year to ensure that the crop spans the growing season:

  • Tomatoes
  • French Beans
  • Runner Beans
  • Beetroot

If anyone else has any successional veg to add to the crop then add them to the comments.

9 Comments on “Successional Veg

  1. I keep trying to be disciplined enough to do successional sowings. I keep planting too much! Always in a hurry this time of year to get everything planted all at once. I’ve had good results with later crops of tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers. I’d love to grow NZ Spinach but haven’t seen any for sale this year.

  2. Cucumbers, turnip, bush beans, tatsoi, bok choi, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and summer squash are some of the crops I plant in succession. What you pull or harvest doesn’t have to be replaced with the same thing. When I pull the peas I will replace some of them with peas but the rest will be be fall greens, broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage. I chose those because they do well in cool autumn weather.

  3. Wow you did more than one sowing of Zucchini? You’re either crazy or you really, really like Zucchini :)

  4. I would add cilantro (coriander) as it has a reputation for bolting. This would allow one a constant supply of fresh leaves for cooking. But perhaps, this was included in the “All Salad Leaves” item?

  5. Fennel and cauliflower – because we only want 4 or 5 every month at most and because fennel bolts…

  6. I sow the leafy quick to bolt stuff like lettuces, mizuna, mesclun, herbs such as dill, chervil & coriander monthly. For others such as chard, cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, peas, beans, onions, brocolletto, chicories, endives and oriental brassicas I do 2 or 3 sowings of each (sometimes varying the varieties) during the year.

    Matron I have New Zealand Spinach / Tetragon seeds if you want some.

  7. I stared to look at succesional planning because I have made a small plot in the garden, appox 25 feet x 5 feet, raised bed, and I hoped to grow sufficient fruit and veg to make a significant impact on the amount we bought in. I am an experienced gardener and the crops have grown well but we seem to end up with a lot of waste and actually little impact on what we buy. I have very little greenhouse space and am forced to sow mainly direct into the soil. This seems to leave everything taking an age to get to a harvestable size and then it all seems to come all at once, giving a short abundant season and then back to buying in veg. I don’t seem to have found the answer to it. e.g I have had a lovely crop of strawberries, they will end in the next 2 weeks I would think, could I take them out, pot up till next year and then replant the plot? I tried to cut and come again with spinach and some fancy leaves, but they just bolted after a first trim. I have been looking for some guidance, maybe a plan of what, where and when to sow, but I can’t find that sort of an overview. Can anyone offer advice please?

  8. I have never liked turnips, but they are easy to grow, so to keep her indoors happy I start sowing in March and put in about 12 seeds approx 1 inch apart, thin to 4-5 inches, and the thinnings (if they are done soon enough) put in somewhere, they are harvested when golf ball size, (when I still don’t really like them). Today is the latest sowing of Purple Top Milan, the only variety I can sometimes tolerate.

  9. Your post on successional sowing strikes a chord with me as we have indeed millions of thinned out lettuce happily bolting away on our German allotment!

    We started out in a very haphazard way this year. We’ll be bnetter next year I am now sure.