Utilizing succession plantings is an amazing way to maximize the productivity of your farm. This is especially beneficial in the urban context when there is a finite amount of open space for agricultural use. We are trying it again this year on our farm!
Not only is the productivity increased for each parcel of land, this style of farming allows us to continually provide in demand crops throughout the season, rather than only once per season. Succession farming will allow us to provide our customers with the food crops they love and demand all season long.
Besides very high productivity to land size ratio, and therefore increased revenues, succession planting provides many benefits to the soil and farm. Planning for successions allows farmers to utilize the “Agricultural Recycling” method, in which the soils nutrients are preserved and replaced by crop rotation. This crop rotation places light feeders before heavy feeders, and then heavy givers after heavy feeders/takers in a cyclical pattern. This is probably the single most important benefit of succession farming. This type of farming means healthy soil, with strong biodiversity. Take the wise advice from Dr. Bud Markhart himself, “Healthy soil, means healthy plants/crops, healthy crops mean healthy people, and healthy people make a healthy planet.” See http://postoilsurvival.blogspot.com for more information.
Using successions also provides rich and complex diversity on the farm. This diversity comes through multiple species being grown at once on a small parcel of land. Not only does this method allow farmers to appeal to a wide range of consumer tastes, but is a very valuable in weed and disease control and management. Intensive growing practices such as succession planting controls and smothers weeds all in thanks to the tightly spaced rows and continuous, season long growing. Disease is managed and prevented from planting crops from different families back to back. This is very important because many diseases are persistent due to the conventional farming method of same crop, same land, year after year.