Succession planting is an efficient way to use all of your garden plot for a longer length of time. Plant and grow three crops in a year in the same space, instead of the traditional one crop per year most home gardeners produce. From the earliest spring days to the first snowfall, your garden can produce food for your home. Use succession planting to get the most out of your garden, no matter how small.
Learn the average first and last frost dates for your gardening area. This date will determine the entire length of your growing season. Contact your local county extension service or check with Farmers' Almanac to find out the dates of the first and last frosts where you garden.
Dig your garden plot in a space that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. Dig down to a level of 6 inches. Remove all the rocks and large roots that you find. Mix in a 4-inch layer of compost with the garden soil.
Plant cool weather crops as soon as the soil has drained in the spring, and there is no more danger of frost. Cool weather crops are those that grow fastest before the hot summer days arrive, like peas, lettuce, broccoli and radishes. Choose the fastest growing varieties of each vegetable to get the most out of your gardening time.
Harvest your cool crops as soon as they are ripe, then pull up the plant material in the garden. Mix in another 2 inches of compost.
Plant your main warm weather crops where the cool crops were previously growing. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and corn all do better in the heat of summer and thrive on long hot days. Allow the warm weather veggies to ripen, and pick them.
Remove any plant material that remains from the warm weather crops, such as tomato plants and cucumber vines. Mix in another 2-inch layer of compost.
Plant another crop of cool weather vegetables. If you are planting the same varieties as you did in the spring, switch the location around so that you don't plant the same thing in the same place as before. Each plant takes different amounts of nutrients from the soil, so rotating your plant positions will help to ensure that the earth isn't depleted of any particular mineral.