After many years of attempting to grow vegetables in succession and not succeeding very well, I decided to analyse what the difficulty was.
There are several different ways of getting a succession and probably the most popular is sowing at regular intervals during the spring. This is what I did. I made several sowings of peas throughout the spring usually about every two weeks. This meant that the final sowing was about six weeks after the first. However, irritatingly, the peas always seemed to fruit at about the same time regardless of when they were sown.
Undoubtedly, sowing at different times should produce some difference in the fruiting time but this can be enhanced by using other methods that help produce succession.
"Early Onward" pea was my favourite because it was easy to germinate and produced a large crop of peas. I used this pea for all the sowings and this was probably my first mistake. Using different varieties helps to lengthen the succession. Now I use Douce Provence, Early Onward, Lincoln, Onward and Progress No9 to produce a good harvesting succession during the summer.
Although I do not bother, covering with some kind of protection will help with early crops and ones grown in the autumn. Covering overwintering peas is really vital if only to protect them from being eaten by the pigeons. A cloche could be used to speed the maturation of a crop that is getting out of sequence and help maintain the succession.
I have an allotment that is mainly north facing and the aspect is very open. Planting peas with this alignment and exposure will slow the maturation of plants. Placing them in an area protected by fences or hedges will help plants crop earlier and if you are lucky to have a south facing slope then this will help to produce an earlier crop.
Using hot beds to warm the soil will allow the plants to mature quickly and produce fruits and this will help succession. Heaps of turned fresh manure can be used to make the hot bed and topped off with a good layer of top soil. I am using a hot bed to get an early crop of cauliflowers this year. I am also hoping that the hotbed will help me to get some bigger cauliflowers because I am going for "big" this year. I am trying to grow all the Alliums, particularly onions and leeks, much bigger than I usually get them.
Although I did everything correctly to get big plants, I think the weather is against me and I might be disappointed. .