Tag Archives: Succession planting

Seasonal, Succession and Companion Planting – Workshop at Ute Trails Garden, 5/7/17

Seasonal, Succession and Companion Planting – Workshop at Ute Trails Garden, 5/7/17

13177550_1116499921748060_2580476015789243526_nSince becoming a master gardener in 2013, I frequently give workshops at local community gardens.   Today, I had the opportunity to give a workshop at Ute Trail Garden in Lakewood where several of my friends garden.   I am sharing the outline of my program for those who could not attend or would also like to learn about seasonal, companion and succession gardening.

The following are methods used by successful gardeners to maximize their harvest, minimize pests and promote healthy soil.

Companion Planting

  • Some plants grow well together, others do not
  • Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.
  • Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
  • Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
  • Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes — praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders — that dine on insect pests.
  • Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
  • Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
  • Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.

Seasonal Planting

  • Cold season vs. warm season crops
  • Last frost date – keep track – generally mid-to –late May in Colorado
  • Cold season crops can be planted before the last frost and some can overwinter under mulch examples: lettuce, kale, carrots, spinach, radishes, onions, sweet peas
  • Warm season crops are planted after the last frost and some need the soil to be warmer examples include pumpkins, squashes, many flowers, beans, basil, corn, sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers, melons

Succession Planting

  • Benefits of succession plantings: maximize space,  extend  harvest window, maintain a continuous supply
  • Make the most efficient use of space and timing to increase productivity
  • Two or more crops in sequence.After one crop is harvested, plant another in the same space.      Plant lettuce every 3 weeks; two crops of carrots
  • Interval succession planting.  Make repeated plantings of the same crop, planting the same variety at timed intervals.     Succession Planting Interval Charts.
  • Two or more crops concurrently.  Plant several different varieties, typically with different maturity dates    Sometimes referred to as “intercropping” and “companion planting.”
  • Same crop, different maturity dates. Plant several varieties, with different maturity dates — early, mid season, and late — at the same time. As they mature over the season, you harvest them one after the other.

Handout on Companion Planting:


4 X 4 Plot Planting Plan with Cold and Warm Season Crops:

4 X 4 Garden Plan

Vegetable Companion Planting Chart:


Pictures of Ute Garden:


My friend Laura Stevens is one of the leaders at Ute Trail and gave me a tour of the community garden. Here she is in front of her plot. I love how she used thyme for her paths!


Planning for the 2013 Growing Season

2012 Map in Progress

2012 Map in Progress

Each March/April, my gardening partners and I get together for a planning session.    Susan, Natalie and now, Terry, and I share three plots at Rosedale Community Garden in Denver.   At our initial meeting, we convened at Panera with last year’s garden map, seed catalogs and the wish list.    After a catching up over a bite to eat , we reviewed what worked last year, what didn’t and talked about improvements we can make this year.

Last summer, we had problems with rabbits and bean beetles — both of which we want to seriously manage this year.    Most of our plants did great.   The heirloom tomato crop was excellent, hot peppers outshone the sweet, pumpkins, squash, salad greens, beets, flowers, carrots, cukes, broccoli and zucchini were all gangbusters.   Our deadbeats included beans and corn.    Using garden plans designed my Michael Buchaneau,  a landscape architect who leads Denver Urban Gardens, I drew up sample plans for each month highlighting succession planting.     Together, we discussed where seeds and plants will go, when they will go in and started to divide up the list of seeds, plants and equipment purchases.

Here are some of the decisions and plans we’ve made for the new season:

  • install rabbit fence around the perimeters of the beds
  • no rotatlling; hand till soil in raised beds
  • probably no beans
  • research and purchase row covers
  • plant more onions, scallions, garlic and fragrant herbs around the perimeter
  • test clay plot irrigation in some areas
  • no corn — save water