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What is the best way to stagger plantings so not all the abundance comes at once

 
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When ever I have tried to plant a garden, I always loose track of when to start seeds, and as a result start seeds too late. this year I have a piece of land so I'm trying to get ahead of it. Below is a chart I was trying to create, but it occurred to me that if you start all your seeds at the same time, you get all the crops at the same time. What is the best way to stagger plantings so that the plant yields will also be staggered, or am I misunderstanding how that works. Lets say for instance that  seed a bunch or peppers at the same time. As a result I get a bumper crop all at once. What if instead I seeded them and staggered each seeding by a week. Would I then get a crop of matured Peppers ever few weeks ( I do know no all the peppers are ready at once ). is there a more efficient way to do this? Like seeding them all at once then staggering the transplant?


https://app.smartsheet.com/b/publish?EQBCT=6d2d82c3da674d868036aa2937b39882
 
steward
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In many of my crops, I bypass this issue by growing genetically diverse crops so that they mature over months, instead of all at once.

 
steward
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In addition to staggering the seed starting (I assume staggering the transplanting could have some effect) another way I've heard of is to plant a few different varieties with different maturation dates.  For instance start all your sweet corn at the same time but have fast, normal and slow maturing varieties in the mix.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I have always planted seeds as soon as the soil is warm enough in the spring. Except for a few things that need a longer season and must be started in a greenhouse, such as tomatoes.

Different plants take different amounts of time to mature. So for example, my spring starts by harvesting asparagus and planting everything. When the strawberries begin to produce I let the asparagus grow up and build root reserves. When the strawberries are slowing down the raspberries and peas begin to produce. The summer continues on like this with only a few plants needing harvest at any one time.

This is great for home use as it is easier to harvest one type of plant and preserve it. Then move on to a different plant. This might be annoying for selling if customers want variety.

Some plants do well when you plant a new lot every week and can spread out production. Where I am this is limited to peas, beans, lettuce and a few others.

Don't seed everything at once and stagger transplanting. Everything will still be ready at the same time. This is why we start things in greenhouses, to artifically lengthen the growing season.
 
gardener
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I've got a few strategies that work for me.

1.  I plant every week, usually on Saturday.  I don't plant a lot, but I make sure that I plant a few things every week to assure that I'll have a continual harvest.  For example, I'll plant 2 or 3 (at the most) cabbage plants in pots.  I know that I'll never eat more than 2 cabbages a week, but I can give one away or make a jar of kraut if I've got too much.  When those cabbage are big enough to transplant, I'll drop them into a space.  I'll plant 6 to 8 sweet corn seeds directly into the ground once a week from March till late June, knowing that I'll want sweet corn throughout the summer.  Summer squash or zucchini -- MAYBE 1 plant every other week.  It takes a measure of discipline, but if you do it weekly, you aren't tempted to dump the whole package of seeds in your hand and go hog wild.

2.  I can see what I've got growing in my nursery area, so I'll transplant only what I anticipate I'll use.  Sometimes I'll have the seed out there and I'll have a half-dozen pots filled with soil, and before I know it, I've planted six pots of jalapeno peppers or something.  If they all sprout and all grow, I realize, there is no way I need 6 jalapeno plants, so I may only transplant 2 or 3 to the garden.  I can then either compost the other ones or give them away.  The nursery/cold frames are a sort of shock absorber or buffer before it actually goes into the ground.

3.  The chicken tractor only gets moved about once or twice a week during the heart of the growing season.  I'll let the girls scratch around and prepare a little garden bed directly beneath their chicken tractor.  The footprint is 4 feet by 8 feet -- the size of a sheet of plywood.  I'll move the tractor (again, usually on Saturday), and then I've got the perfect prepared garden bed to plant.  I'll always do a bit of spinach and lettuce, a few herbs like dill or basal, and a couple of other plants.  I'm not tempted to over plant because it's such a small space.  Every week, another 4 x 8 bed, all throughout spring, summer and fall.  In the winter, I run the tractor over the lawn more frequently.  We've always got salad greens and always have a bird-prepared bed to plant in.

If you come over to see my garden/orchard, there are these odd rectangles of stuff growing: some greens, some onions, some squash, some corn or okra . . .

4.  I still plant too much, but because seed is free (we gather all our own) and because the birds always need something to eat, I don't see it as wasteful.  It allows us to be generous.  Can your really EVER plant too many watermelons?  (Well, yes you can, but folks will love you for it).

5.  I remind myself that one of the principles of permaculture is abundance, and it's OK to return some of that abundance to the compost pile or chicken tractor.  Or I use it for social capital within the neighborhood.  Who doesn't like getting a big bag of freshly picked heirloom tomatoes?  
 
garden master
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I've tried this with varying degrees of success. Like Joseph and Mike mentioned, I've had the most success of staggered harvests by planting different varieties of the same kind of crop that mature at different rates. I have had some success also with planting the same variety multiple times over 6 or 8 weeks, mostly with spring planted cool weather crops such as lettuce and spinach, and fast blossoming plants such as squash and zucchini. I tried staggered plantings of the same varieties of other kinds of crops like watermelon and musk melon, and I found that the later plantings that were sown around the summer solstice did poorly as the days started getting shorter while the plant grew.
 
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