What plants to stagger planting ?

kevin_kss(Zone-6 PA)April 2, 2013

so I'm actually trying to get a good accounting of what I'm planting and when so I can have better control of whats going on in my new garden.

so assume you need to stagger carrots and beets and some lettuce's because once you harvest.. thats it.. plant it gone..

but like cucumbers, tomato, beans and squash.. should you just plant all your plants up front ? or seed two plants.. then wait two weeks seed two more.. so you have harvesting all the time..

I guess what I'm really after is .. is there any reason to stagger some plants.. do zucchini keep putting out all season or does it fall off and can the plant get sick and die..

I'm just wondering if I should plant after frost half crop and then 2 weeks later start another new set so I have new younger plants producing new at end of summer into fall..

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It's perfectly fine to stagger planting as long as they have time to properly mature in the time frame you want to plant them.

It works best for "whole harvest" type plantings...carrots, radishes, lettuces that you're planning to harvest at once, etc...

Unless your toms are determinate types (and you have mild-ish mid/late-summers) stagger planting for them generally don't help much.

Some people stagger bush beans, but I'm not much of a fan of that, myself. Well, I prefer pole beans, anyway.

Cukes/squash and the like will set flowers and fruit as long as the weather is ideal...they're not prone to setting peak-harvests then slowing down unless you leave a fruit on the plant so long it slows down it's reproduction/fruiting.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I don't stagger lettuce and spinach-rather I harvest outer leaves and leave the plants.

I do stagger carrots, radishes, snow peas, and if I grow bush beans I stagger those.

I don't so much stagger squash as plant back up plants part way through the season so that if the plants get killed by bugs I have new plants ready and don't just stop having squash.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:21PM
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In my experience beets grow so well in spring that I don't plant them a second time until late summer, ditto for carrots. I sow lettuce at least six times in April and May, though.

On the cucumbers and squash, you really need 5 plants to get good pollination, though sometimes you can get away with three. It's a good idea to shoot for one successful planting of any given cucurbit rather than stretching them out, one or two plants at a time. NC's suggestion to keep stand-by plants in containers is excellent!

Yes, fast-growing veggies like zukes and bush beans give up and die at some point. In Z 6 this is an opportunity to plant something else, like carrots and greens for fall.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 9:28AM
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kevin_kss(Zone-6 PA)

ok thanks.. this is the info I was looking for.. so I think I will stagger for some and not for others.. I know in the past some of my plants have been killed by bugs etc.. so I guess it would be good to have new ones to take over if that happens..

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:31AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I stagger everything to keep a steady supply of crops coming.

Lettuce: I am selling only small loose leaf heads this year. I am seeding every three weeks and transplanting them out every three weeks until early June, at least that is the plan

Carrots: I plant one big planting in January in the high tunnel, then another one outside in April. Then another big planting in August for fall and winter.

Radishes and Turnips: small plantings every two weeks

Bush Green Beans: every 3 weeks

Zucchini and Cucumbers: every month, just smaller plantings after the first big one.

Watermelon and Cantaloupe: 3 or 4 plantings: early may, mid may, early june, mid june

Tomatoes: Something new, every month. Just smaller plantings after the first big one. Plant April, May, June and Mid June for fall. This will keep my size up.

Peppers: 2 plantings one in mid april then again in mid may

Just what I do.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:58AM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

I don't like to leave any open space. So I just plant all at once. Using the thinnings when their large enough make the crop last longer.
i might not have every thing all the time, but there is always enough to eat.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:45AM
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It depends on which zone you are if you live in the Northern zone the season is too short. I tried it with cucc but really the seconf patch production was nothing to speak of. I personally prefer planting every thing on time then putting the excess in jars and giving them 10 minutes boiling path to seal the led on the jar. I still have several jars of cucc, eggplant, peppers and apricot. Amazingly it tasts very good.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 3:33AM
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For squash and cukes I plant them 2 or 3 times each season. For example, Once the lettuce or spinach has bolted I'll plant a 2nd crop of cukes where the lettuce/spinach was growing. Once my bush beans have peaked I'll plant a 2nd crop of squash where they were growing. Once my early potatoes are harvested I'll plant a 3rd crop of cukes or squash behind them.
This is more of rotation than a stagger but it fills the voids left behind by early crops with replacements of the more pest and disease vunerable crops like cukes and summer squash. By the time the 1st cukes and 1st squash are toast the next batches are rolling in. Around here the cuke beetles, squash bugs, and vine borers are too hard to defeat so they have to be outwitted.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:10AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

I try to stagger bush beans because the plants do give out at some point and I want a steady supply.

Also trying it with the cukes, which seem to be prolific producers early but as the vines age and get damaged from tugging the cukes off, rooting through for the hidden ones, etc., they tend to trail off. So I'm going to do one planting early then start some more seeds in another location a few weeks later.

If I grow squash it will be just one because two years ago I had one plant that gave me more than I could use, freeze or give away. And it just wouldn't quit. Probably should have looked for a food bank that wanted fresh produce.

In Pennsylvania, I don't think our summers are long enough for a second round of tomatoes. I've put some in in late June just to see and they never really produced -- probably not enough time before the nights got too cool.

If you grow leaf lettuce you can cut the leaves and the plant will produce more, but after the second or third cutting it gets bitter so it's either time for more plants or just go to a late summer planting for fall harvest since lettuce doesn't love the heat.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:30AM
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I grow backups, but I don't stagger.

Unless you count two planting a year (winter and summer) as staggering -- I do that sometimes with greens and roots. Or sometimes I just grow them in the winter. If I have a huge winter crop and am tired of them by spring then I don't plant for a summer rerun ;).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:14PM
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