Succession Planting

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How can you grow food if you don’t have loads of space? In the next few weeks, we will take a look at small space gardening and a few tips to help make the most of it. Lets kick it off with a look at Succession Planting.

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a garden bed of lettuce at different stages of growth

People often think it takes acres of land to grow your own food, but that is absolutely not the case.

Today we’re going into the garden to look at how we can ease the pressure at the supermarket in the next few months, and enjoy homegrown food even in a small space with succession planting for small space gardening.

Why should I grow food?

Most everyone has seen the chaotic scenes in the supermarkets in recent months; bare shelves, limits on amounts, the general craziness around especially produce. There are many reasons for this, including Brexit restrictions, unusual weather in Europe and the crazy inflation rates to name but a few…

A picture of empty supermarket shelves

For some people, it’s unrealistic to grow all of your own produce in summer, but there are small things you can do to help the grocery budget this year and avoid being caught out by these scenes again.

Grow Your Own Instead

As we approach the summer months, lettuce is a great crop to grow, because it grows very quickly, and doesn’t need lots of space. It can be grown in a container or a small raised bed if you have the room.

If you carve out a small space, imagine having unlimited access to your own lettuce all summer long in your own back yard! Topping your burgers with your own lettuce at your first BBQ of the year for almost free, is a great feeling..

A pack of lettuce seeds can cost as little as 99p, and a small bag of compost can be a few pounds, and you could provide your family with salad leaves all summer long.

How to make it last – Succession planting

Hang on, you said unlimited…

I did, but you have to plant lettuce to get lettuce. Let me show you.

A box full of coloured cassette containers full of seed packets

I keep all my seeds in plastic containers like these. This keeps them safe and organised, (plus it’s pretty!)

When I need to plant something, they are all in one place and I just take out the relevant case.

Once I’ve planted a row in my raised bed, I mark it on the calendar and two weeks from then, I plant another row and so on through the first half of summer. When one row is ready, the next will be close and the next not far behind.

A garden bed succession planted with lettuce

Here is my lettuce bed last week. This lettuce will be ready to harvest soon, but the other side of the bed has a couple of rows a few weeks behind.

This means I don’t have a ton of lettuce ready at one time that I don’t know what to do with. I can also have it available all through the summer to pick when I need it.

A netted raised bed with seedling growing

In this half of the bed, I have spinach and more lettuce, just peeking through.

when I have harvested the oldest plants, I will sow some more! A few minutes every few weeks and a cheap pack of seeds can save you money in the store.

What else can I succession plant?

Really, anything else that grow quickly and doesn’t take up a bunch of space. This is key when space is at a premium.

Other crops you could succession plant include:

  • Radishes
  • Beetroot
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Rocket
  • Basil

Most of these plants do great in containers, even the carrots if in an appropriately deep container.

a set of 3 succession planted potato sacks

I succession plant my potatoes too, in grow bags. This means I don’t have to give over a full bed to potatoes. I can put them wherever I have space, and have some ready to eat, and some almost ready.

Every Little Helps

It might not be your aim to be completely self sufficient. It may just be that you want to have fun and grow something you can eat. Or you were given some seeds by a gardener friend. In this current climate, it doesn’t really matter.

Anything we can do to take a little more control in our lives can help us face the issues in the world a little better. I’m not overstating it when I say growing my own food has meant that I don’t panic when I see empty shelves. I know I have food at home in my garden. It really does help.

A small packet of seeds is security to me. It means I can grow food to feed my family. Yes it take planning, and making sure I preserve and have other things in for what’s called the hungry gap, that period where the winter garden stops and the summer isn’t quite ready, but it can be done.

Lettuce can be grown indoors over winter. Seed sprouts are a great nutrition-packed way to get fresh greens in the winter months and beyond.

Growing your own food, if you’ve never done it before, is rewarding, life-giving and satisfying in a way few other things are.

a raised bed full of succession planted crops

Tell me what you’re growing right now, in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share! Thanks friends x

More from the garden:

Which Raised Beds Are Best?

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