SUCCESSION SOWING

THROUGH SUMMER

What if you didn't have a chance to get the garden going in time for spring and find yourself staring at a bare patch of ground come June?  Should you even bother sowing anything this late in the game?

Succession sowing means introducing seeds in intervals as plants mature and naturally decline in productivity; this allows growers to increase yields over a longer period of time. Many crops mature before the end of the growing season, which is why staggering sowings ensures a steady flow of harvests.

Read on for a few forgiving crops to sow in early to midsummer. You can dig a little deeper by typing “succession sowing” (or any other search terms you're curious about) into the search bar of our HVSC blog page. We also invite you to peruse the handy “Growing Instructions” and “Quick Facts” provided below each of our seed listings, where we offer information on how long it takes to grow each variety—from germination to harvest. 

Seeds for Your Summer Garden

Here are some of our favorites for this time of year—whether you are just getting started (you're not late; you're just doing things your own way!) or you would like to practice succession sowing into an already established and thriving garden. All of the following crops mature quickly and/or handle the heat of summer:  

Salads

Sow seeds for fresh greens every three weeks. Both Salad Savor and Ultimate Salad Bowl will reward you with a steady supply of tender, delicious greens all summer long and into fall.  Just after lettuce? Try Metta Lettuce Mix.

Herbs

Perfect for tucking into bare spots, these fast-growing herbs are essential flavors of the season: try Basil Bouquet, Cilantro, and Mammoth Dill.  Sow your herbs in two-week intervals. Keep in mind that dill and cilantro bolt especially quickly when sown in early summer, so plan on tighter intervals during that time.

Roots

Both Brilliant Beet Blend and Danvers Carrot can be sown in early to midsummer for fall harvest. Beets mature in 55 days and seedlings can be thinned for their leaves while the roots develop. You can sow most carrots as late as mid-August and then dig them up a little over two months later.

Cucumbers

Try Lemon Cucumber! It looks like a lemon but tastes mild and cool as cucumbers ought. Did you know that cucumbers get "tired out" after just a few weeks of producing delectable, crunchy treats? Cucumber enthusiasts will often stagger their plantings for this very reason. Cukes can be sown until midsummer for early autumn harvests.

Corn

Both Blue Jade Corn and Double Red Sweet Corn love rich, warm soil and will mature by harvest time, as long as the seeds are in the ground by early July (or twelve weeks before frost, whenever that comes in your location).

Beans

Add these beans to your repertoire: Dragon’s Tongue and Red Swan offer both visual interest as well as sustenance. Succession sow these beans every three weeks until about ten weeks before the first frost.

Flowers

Calendula and Borage bring charm and usefulness to the table; both plants perform double duty in the herb garden, with edible and pretty blossoms traditionally used in herbal salves and teas.  And calendula seeds look like little curled up dragon tails! Quick to both germinate and mature, you can reintroduce these beauties every three weeks through August. 

Cover Crops

For a certified organic cover crop that's also easy on the eyes, go for Buckwheat. Their delicate sprays of ivory flowers will attract pollinators to your yard and increase yields. Mow or cultivate a week or two into flowering to nourish your beds. 

And for later...

Piracicaba Broccoli, Ragged Jack Kale, or Radiant Radish all taste best at the end of the growing season. You can reintroduce radishes in late summer, when the heatwaves have subsided; Piracicaba will need to be sown at least twelve weeks ahead of your first frost, but Ragged Jack needs a head start of only eight weeks (that's early August in the Hudson Valley).


All the processes of sowing, weeding, harvesting, and feeding are opportunities to observe and listen to your garden throughout the growing season. Spending this peaceful time observing and learning will make you a better, more intuitive gardener. Succession sowing is a perfect excuse to linger in the garden; it sounds so “productive,” yet it is ever so easy and relaxing. Maybe the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, but the right time to sow a seed can still be now.


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