Succession planting No-No's ?

newhippie(6b)June 11, 2011

If you could direct me to a previous thread I will be happy to go there, I just can't remember what it is called when certain vegetables should not be planted after or near other vegetables.

All I can remember is that beans put nitrogen into the soil, so whatever I plant after them will benefit from that, but I can't find out what NOT to plant after some of the things that are coming out like cabbage, onions, garlic and all lettuces that have gone to seed. (I am trying to save some to see what that's like. So far, it's tedious.)

I am trying hard to remember not to feed the chickens potatoes and onions, so everything else is escaping me!



So far I have replaced peas with sunflowers, and will plant winter squash there soon.

I still want to plant soy, and more squash and zucchini. And I want to try sweet corn after potatoes are all dug.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Hmmmm. I think maybe you're overthinking this. Don't make gardening harder than it has to be.

Beans do not exactly put much nitrogen back into the soil, although maybe sometimes they can in some circumstances. While it is true that legumes can fix nitrogen from the air, they use that nitrogen. Some of it does remain in the plants themselves. So, if you are rototilling your legume plants into the soil after they are through producing, they may be releasing some nitrogen into the soil as they decompose. Or, they may not be. Studies have shown that the standard 'green beans' that many gardeners plant are one of the legumes that release the least amount of nitrogen back into the soil. Other legumes are more efficient at doing that...but only if rototilled into the soil and allowed to decompose. So, if you were to rototill legume plants into the ground today, and plant something new in those beds tomorrow, the new plants aren't going to benefit from the nitrogen in the legume plants for some time....however long it takes for the plants to decompose and for the nitrogen to become available in a form the plants can take up.

I don't pay any attention to rules about what to succession plant when or how or or where or what to use as a succession crop for some other crop. I don't think it is necessary unless you have had a major disease issue with one type of vegetable that might remain active in the soil and affect a different vegetable from the same family. I likely would feel quite differently about this issue if I lived in an area (like North Carolina, for example) where soilborne diseases can be a huge issue.

About the only thing I don't/won't do is plant tomatoes in ground that has been vacated recently by potatoes and that is so that if there are any Colorado Potato Beetles left in the bed, I'm not going to have to deal with them being on my tomatoes.

A lot depends on how your grow. For example, if you garden organically or mostly organically, you probably have little to worry about as long as you're adding some compost or organic fertilizer or both to the planting area before you sow the succession crop. If, on the other hand, you feed plants with synthetic, pelleted fertilizers, you want to plant a succession crop with the same needs in that bed. For example, if you feed either onions or sweet corn high nitrogen, you need to follow them with something that doesn't mind higher nitrogen or you may end up with all leaves and no veggies.

Sweet corn should be fine in the same area after your potatoes come out. Squash and zucchini will grow anywhere. I usually put them in some of my worst soil and they produce like mad. Soy can go anywhere except any beds that had a lot of nitrogen fertilizer added to them.

Some years I grown 6 to 9 vegetables in each bed and they all produce well and it doesn't matter which ones were planted how, when, or where. As long as you're focused on building healthy soil with a good level of organic matter, you don't have to worry and fret over tedious details. The plants want to grow and aren't nearly as picky as people think they will be. The plants can tolerate much less than ideal situations and produce just fine. Sometimes plants in less than ideal situations absolutely outperform plants that are treated in a nice, more kinder and more pampered manner.

Gardening is supposed to be fun too, so don't let the tedious details get you down. It really doesn't have to be complicated, even though sometimes we make it that way, don't we?

The only way to learn what works for you is to experiment and learn what works in your soil and your climate. You'll probably be surprised to learn that a lot of the so-called gardening "rules" really aren't that important and sometimes even are detrimental.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Thank you, Dawn, that is all exactly what I wanted to hear!! I do tend to make things more difficult than necessary. But I also adapt well to being creative over abiding by the rules.
This all makes perfect sense to me and will definitely make gardening more enjoyable. I have gotten a good potato harvest so far and can't wait to plant them again, I found that they appreciate less nitrogen than other plants.
I do try very hard to grow organically, altough the bermuda creeping in is trying my patience...

I am much more confident this year than last year and am excited to see what next year will bring to my garden! Last year was my first year to grow any vegetables at all, this year I am going to be growing into the fall/early winter. We have chickens now, and all kinds of new developments that are a really big deal to me, although maybe not to others, ha! One of those developments is that I have lost ten pounds this spring, I told my sister I am on the "Homesteader's Diet" of hard, sweaty work and lots of organic vegetables!

Thanks again for all your advice!!! Jammie

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 1:02AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You're welcome. If it makes you feel better, bermuda grass tries my patience every year. I've finally got it (I think) to where it only creeps in at the corners of my garden fence (because I have flowers there to attract beneficial insects and my corners get a bit overgrown) and on the eastern edge, and I've been working really hard this year on correcting the problems along the eastern fenceline.

I am excited for you that you are having such a great year. We have had poultry for about 15 years. We even built a chicken coop and fenced chicken run (and our first garden!) here on our property two years before we built the house and moved here. So, we had a weekend garden/weekend chickens long before we moved up here and I looked forward to coming up here every weekend to see how the garden and chickens were doing. I often came up once at midweek to water the garden (hauling containers of water from Fort Worth because we hadn't yet joined the water co-op and put in the water line yet) and check on the chickens and make sure their feeders and waterers were full. We had multiple waterers so that if they knocked over one or two, they'd still have an available water supply since we weren't here to check on them daily back then.

It is a big thrill to me every time one of you "new" gardeners plants something new, harvests something wonderful, or puts in something new like chickens or other poultry, rabbits, goats, bees, etc. I love hearing everyone's stories about what they are doing.

When I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s in a Fort Worth suburb that dated back to the 1940s, everyone had fruit trees in the back yard, some grew berries, and everyone had a little (or big!) veggie garden. Some folks had chickens or goats or rabbits...or all of those. Our next-door neighbors even had a greenhouse! It wasn't something we talked about a lot and it wasn't that some folks were gardeners but others wern't---it was just something "everyone" did. Somehow in the late 1970s and in the 1980s a lot of that went away. I am so thrilled to see all of it making a comeback again. I think for a long time Americans lost sight of their food and where it came from and how it was raised, and now people once again want to be more involved in growing their own whenever/wherever they can. Even non-gardeners want to eat local and many of them want to eat organically. Farmers Markets and CSAs are in huge demand, as is locally-raised meat, especially if it is grass-fed or free-range. All of these are good things.

To me, nothing in the world is better than looking at the dinner table and realizing everything we're eating (except the meat dish and dairy products) came from the garden. It wasn't raised chemically. It wasn't harvested by economically-exploited migrant farm workers. It wasn't flown in from South American or New Zealand or trucked in from Mexico or from California. With fossil fuels limited and prices high, how much longer will it make economic sense for food to travel 1500 to 2000 miles to reach our grocery stores?

So, while you may think your veggie garden is mainly of interest to you, I'm excited about everything you raise and love reading about your harvests.

I love the weight loss development. Maybe you could write a book about "The Homesteaders' Diet"! I wish I could say the same, but I'm older and lazier than I used to be and it shows as the pounds creep on. I was with some other firefighters' wives yesterday, and those of us who are old enough to be the mothers of the younger women were lamenting, among other things, the various side effects of menopause and middle-aged spread! It is amazing what happens to your body (both good and bad, as the case may be) when you're busy living your life.

One day I'll tell you all about my farming/ranching neighbors, which I tend to refer to as the old farmers or old ranchers, and how much it shocked them to have an organic gardener move here and start doing stuff all "wrong". It took me quite a few years of very successful gardens with very high yields to persuade them that an organic gardener like me could have success here using methods that differed highly from their traditional agricultural methods. It still drives one of them crazy that I seem to go out of my way to avoid planting straight rows, but I'm not using a tractor like he is, so straight rows are not high on my priority list. Different strokes for different folks, and all that.

We'll always be here to offer you lots of advice, whether (lol) you want it or not!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 9:58AM
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Well, I commend you for going against the norm before you had the internet resource to help you along, I wouldn't know where to start if I didn't get online and look up every little thing. I absolutely agree about the way people have and are now viewing their food.
Did you watch "food inc." ? My friend wanted to start her own chicken business after that! I may one day raise, clean and freeze chicken...but not yet. lol. Gotta get a handle on what I've already bit off!

I appreciate ya! Jammie

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 4:39PM
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