VABF Farm School 2013 - Sustainable Farming Practices - Pam Dawling


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This presentation is half of a three-hour class for the VABF Farm School, part of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher program. The second half, with the same title, was presented by Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Our presentation was one session of three in the Sustaiaable Farming Practices module. Fuller presentations on Crop Rotations, and Succession Crop Planning are also posted on Slideshare.

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  • Some people do better with a narrative, more descriptive list than a chart.
  • You probably can’t read the whole thing, so here’s an enlarged example of one of the boxes at the left
  • Silver Queen.
  • There are methods of succession planting that involve no paperwork. This one uses the size of the previous sowing as a cue for when to make the next planting
  • Along the top bar are numbers of days before and after the average first frost. Crops are listed down the left side and the chart shows when you can plant and when you’ll be able to harvest.
  • You can make graphs by hand on graph paper, or use a computer program, such as Chart Wizard on Excel
  • The date in the Harvest Start column is the first day of harvesting from a planting sown on the Sowing Date in the first column. Note that these aren’t all in the same year!
  • X axis goes A-Cross. That’s the sowing date. Here I’ve just used a set of dates you might get from your first year, sowing 5 times.
  • We once had an April 18 sowing that didn’t produce till June 1. I guess the plants got cold and set back. Ignore atypical points. Make a smooth line, because it is more representative of typical reality and more useful. Sometimes there will be “outliers” — odd things happen. In the corn example later, the “blobs” marking the points are left in. Here they are hidden, so the line is clearer.
  • In our squash example, April 18 on the x axis and June 1 on the y axis make the first point on our graph. Mark in all your points.
  • Draw horizontal lines from the y axis from the 5 calculated harvest dates to the line of the graph. Then draw vertical lines from where these horizontals cut the graph line, down to the x (sowing) axis.
  • We used to do 6 plantings of summer squash and cucumbers: March 25 (transplanted April 20), May 14 (transplanted June 7), June 13, July 3, July 19, and Aug 5. The intervals between these sowings were 50, 30, 20, 16, and 17 days. By using the graphs, we have been able to go down to 5 plantings: March 25 (transplanted April 21), May 17, June 21, July 16, and Aug 5, at intervals of 52, 25, 25 and 20 days. The sowing intervals decrease as the season warms up, as it takes fewer days for plants to mature. The first planting is very slow to mature — probably we could just start later still and lose nothing. By moving the second planting 10 days later than it used to be, we are able to direct sow rather than transplant,
  • This meant that pole beans were a complete waste of time (they didn’t mature before the beetles ravaged them).15 day intervals: April 16, May 20, June 9, June 24, July 9, July 22, and Aug 3. “Root Checks” was our euphemism for pulling up the beetle-ridden plants, picking off the last beans, and taking the plants off to our composting area. Once the parasites are established for the season, there’s no more need for hand picking beetles, and the second and subsequent plantings will look very healthy. Our 6 sowing dates are on April 16, May 14, June 7, June 29, July 19, and Aug 3
  • Allow time for writing
  • You can get the general effect from this, although you probably can’t read the small print
  • We scratch these hot-weather sowings if we still have spring carrots in the cooler, as the flavor of hot-weather carrots is not very good and we can get Alternaria blight, which turns the leaves black and so reduces growth. Late August sowings don’t bring as heavy yields as the earlier ones, unless the winter weather lets us harvest later than usual.
  • VABF Farm School 2013 - Sustainable Farming Practices - Pam Dawling

    1. 1. Sustainable Farming Practices ©Pam Dawling 2013, Twin Oaks Community, VirginiaAuthor of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers
    2. 2. This presentation is in two parts (Pam’s slide show is designed to be followed by Sustainable Farming Practices by Ira Wallace)Pam Ira Planning year round production → Record keeping - online Record keeping (Ira has more) → Production efficiencies Planning month by month → Healthy seedlings Maintaining a seed inventory → Seed saving basics – dry seeded crops and wet-seeded Ripeness indicators for major crops crops (Ira has more) → Maturity indicators for major Crop rotations, step by step crops based on marketing Succession planting – location purpose 15 minute BREAK  Questions? Succession planting – scheduling
    3. 3. Year-Round Production 16 factors that help us keep good food on the table year round:1. Planning: A plan is just a plan. Minimize the need for brain-frying calculations in August.2. Gearing up: Scale-appropriate machinery and tools, an ample irrigation system. Lots of helpers.3. Research and information: One of the most important farm implements is the brain!4. Caring for the soil: Compost, cover crops and organic mulches. Soil test and amending. Rotations5. Maximizing plant health: Keep plants growing well, by preventing and controlling pests, diseases and weeds, will lead to a longer productive crop life and a longer-running food supply.6. Choice of crops and varieties: Crops and varieties that do best for your conditions. Read catalog descriptions carefully and try varieties that offer the flavor, productivity and disease resistance. Introduce a new crop or varieties on a small scale.7. Overwintering crops: Kale, collards, spinach, leeks, parsnips. In spring, plants give harvests sooner.8. Season extension: At both ends of its normal growing season. Usually an extension of two or three weeks takes only a little extra vigilance and a modest investment in rowcover or shadecloth.
    4. 4. 9. Indoor growing: The rate of growth of cold-weather crops is much faster in a hoophouse; the quality of the crops is superb; working in winter inside a hoophouse is so pleasant.10. Transplants: Multiple croppings in one season. Extend the season in spring by starting transplants inside, giving them a head start over direct-sown crops. Leave over-overwintered cover crops longer.11. Succession cropping: 9 plantings of carrots, 7 plantings of sweet corn, 6 of cucumbers, squash, zucchini, edamame and bush beans. 50 plantings of lettuce! Spring and fall cool weather crops.12. Interplanting and undersowing: Sowing or transplanting one crop (or cover crop) while another is still growing. Establish a cover crop sooner than would be possible if the food crop has to finish first.13. Storage: Potatoes in a root cellar; sweet potatoes, winter squash, garlic and onions in a basement; carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac and kohlrabi in a walk-in cooler. Longer availability.14. Food processing: Processed (“value-added”) foods lengthen the season, with no out-of-season growing. Pickle, can, freeze and dry whatever produce isn’t sold right away. Beware Food Safety Rules!15. Crop review: Keep good brief records, then at the beginning of the winter, take time to discuss and write up what worked and what didn’t, so that you can do better next year.16. Lots of help: Last but by no means least, arrange some work so that unskilled visitors and new community members can join in and be useful.
    5. 5. Record-keeping The pocket notebook The clipboards The ring-binders The backs of envelopes The digital camera The email The voicemail
    6. 6. Twin Oaks Planning Sequence1. Accounting — reviewing the year’s numbers, planning next year’s budget. Spend any available end-of-year money on supplies or tools.2. Crop Review Meeting.3. Annual Report for the community — what worked, what didn’t, changes for next year.4. Garden Layout, following a ten-year rotation, noting changes suggested by the Crop Review. Fit in the smaller succession crops.5. Seed Inventory of seeds left at the end of the year.6. Seed Order. Decide what to order and place seed orders.7. Hoophouse Planting Schedule and maps.8. Seedling Schedule (before the first seeding date comes around!).9. Outdoor Planting Schedule.10. Labor Budget for the year — amount needed when. Recruit for casual help for the season.11. Garden Calendar (month-by-month list of tasks).12. Harvest and Food Processing Calendars (what to expect when).13. Veg Finder (chart of succession crops and where to find each harvest).14. Crop Planting Quantities Chart (gives us information on longer-term trends and choices).15. Perennials Worksheet (a monthly checklist for each of the fruit crops and the asparagus).16. Fall Brassica Spreadsheet (timing of sowing for fall brassicas is quite precise and complex).17. Lettuce List and Lettuce Log (a regular supply of lettuce every week is very important to us).18. Plans for other specific crops we want to pay close attention to: onions, for instance.
    7. 7. Create Your Own Field ManualInclude spreadsheets, maps, charts and lists from yourplanning, along with other useful pages, such as:• Tables of Soil Temperatures for vegetable seedgermination, and Days to Emergence at differenttemperatures (for sowing and flame-weedingdecisions)• Ten-Year Rotation Pinwheel• Winter Cover Crops Maps• Cover Crops Information and Chart• Farmscaping Worksheet and suggestions• Virginia Extension Vegetable Planting Guide forSpring• Virginia Extension Fall Gardening Leaflet• Sunrise and Sunset Timetable• Maps of the Fruit Patches, and Monthly Care List• Phenology Log• Plastic Card Calendar.
    8. 8. Plan the Year Month-by-Month: The Fundamental FourAt Twin Oaks, to keep us on track, we useA descriptive month-by-month Garden Calendar,Maps of the layout of the crops in the various gardens,A field planting spreadsheet (Outdoor Planting Schedule),A Seedling Schedule for our greenhouse production of transplants.
    9. 9. Twin Oaks Garden Calendar• A month-by-month task list describing in words the tasks to be done each month, including – Crops to sow, transplant, thin – Areas to compost and disk or till – Equipment to check before it’s needed – Fruit bushes needing attention – Crops to harvest• I’m posting this on my blog at the beginning of each month.
    10. 10. SeedInventoryIt’s a waste to throw out allleftover seed at the end ofthe planting season andbuy all new for next year.Yet it’s a bigger waste tokeep everything and riskpoor germination of a vitalcrop. ⇒Here’s a systematicmethod to minimize thechances ofthrowing out good seed,keeping bad seed,buying too little, orbuying too much.
    11. 11. The key components of a useful seed inventory are: storing seed well, so it will grow the following year; (Dry, cool, dark and rodent-proof.) deciding the quantity of each crop to plant next year; knowing how much seed is usually sown per 100 (30 m); calculating how much your farm uses per 100‘ (30 m); weighing or estimating how much seed you have left; deciding which old seed to keep and which is unreliable; calculating how much seed to buy; deciding how much extra to buy in case a sowing fails; Finishing in time to place orders early, increasing the chances of getting exactly what you want.
    12. 12. Seed Longevity• Year of purchase only: parsnips, parsley, salsify, scorzonera and the even rarer sea kale;• 2 years: corn, peas and beans of all kinds, onions, chives, okra, dandelion and martynia;• 3 years: carrots, leeks, asparagus, turnips and rutabagas;• 4 years: spinach, peppers, chard, pumpkins, squash, watermelons, basil, artichokes and cardoons;• 5 years: most brassicas, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, muskmelons, celery, celeriac, lettuce, endive and chicory.
    13. 13. Ripeness Indicators For market you may need to harvest a bit under-ripe, unlike us.• Size: Cow Horn okra at 5”, green beans a bit thinner than a pencil, asparagus at 7”• Color: Garden Peach tomatoes with a pink flush• Shape: cucumbers that are rounded out, not triangular in cross-section, but not blimps. Sugar Ann snap peas completely round• Softness or texture: eggplants that “spring” or “bounce back” when lightly squeezed, tomatoes that are not hard• Skin toughness: storage potatoes when the skins don’t rub off, usually two weeks after the tops die, whether naturally or because of mowing.• Cabbages when the head is firm and the outer leaf on the head is curling back.
    14. 14. Crop Rotations Why rotate crops?Maximize productivityOptimize the health and fertility of the land,Reduce diseases and pests,Increase opportunities to plant cover crops,Meet Organic Certification requirements,Make it easier on the brain, by having a plan and knowing which crop will be where.
    15. 15. Steps to creating a permanent rotation1. Figure out how much area is needed for each major crop (the ones needing the largest amount of space)2. Measure and map the land available3. Divide into equal plots4. Group compatible crops together to fill each plot5. Determine a good sequence6. Include cover crops7. Include no-till crops8. Try it for one year, then make improvements
    16. 16. Step 1. Space Needed for Major Crops• Sweet corn: 6 or 7 plantings of about 3,500 ft2 (322 m2) each• Spring planted potatoes: about 7,000–9,000 ft2 (644–828 m2)• Summer planted potatoes: about 7,000–9,000 ft2 (644–828 m2)• Spring broccoli & cabbage: 4,000 ft2 (368 m2)• Fall broccoli & cabbage: 7,000 ft2 (644 m2)• Winter squash: about 8,200 ft2 (736 m2)• Watermelon: about 9,000 ft2 (828 m2)• Sweet potatoes: about 4,300 ft2 (396 m2)• Tomatoes: 4,000 ft2 (368 m2)• Peppers: 2,200 ft2 (202 m2)• Garlic: about 3,600–4,000 ft2 (332–368 m2)• Fall carrots: about 3,600–4,000 ft2 (332–368 m2)
    17. 17. Step 2.Measure and Map;Step 3.Divide into EqualPlotsWest Garden andCentral GardenWest Garden 180’-65’ x 243’Central Garden 200’ x 50’, plus 25’ x 60’ “dogleg”Maps show plots of9,000-10,000 ft2
    18. 18. Step 4. Group othercrops together to useabout the same area:two or three corn plantingstogether in one plot (3,500 ft2 (322 m2) each)spring broccoli together withoverwintered garlic (4,000 ft2 (368 m2) + 3,600–4,000 ft2 (332–368 m2 ))tomatoes together with peppers 4,000 ft2 (368 m2) + 2,200 ft2 (202 m2)
    19. 19. Step 5. Start to determine a good sequenceTo help get a crop sequence figured out, we looked at thecrop families of our major crops. We have three major plantings of nightshades (Solanaceae): two of potatoes and one of tomatoes and peppers together. Two (spring and fall) of brassicas, Six or seven sowings of corn clustered into three plots, Two of cucurbits (winter squash and watermelons), One of alliums (garlic), One of umbelliferae (carrots) One of ipomoea (sweet potatoes).
    20. 20. Give the Family Members Space!Using our modification of EliotColeman’s method, we put pieces ofcard (representing the major crops)in a circle, like a clock face with ten“hours,” and set about imagining agood sequence.Crop rotations are a cycle, and acircular design makes more intuitivesense to us, than a linear format.We started by spreading the threecorn plots three or four years apart,and the three nightshade plantingslikewise. We kept the winter squashthree years after the watermelon.Butternut Squash. Photo Kathryn Simmons
    21. 21. Deciding the sequence• Folklore says some crops do better following certain other crops, but has it been tested?• Potatoes are said to do well after corn, so we put our spring potatoes after the previous year’s late corn and our summer potatoes after the previous middle corn planting. This started our sequence.
    22. 22. Step 6, Plan good cover cropsA. For early spring food crops, a preceding cover crop of oats (maybe with soybeans) is ideal, as it winter-kills and is easy to incorporate. o Oats need to be sown at our farm in August or early September (by 9/17), so they need to follow an early finishing crop, such as spring brassicas, spring potatoes or early corn.B. We wanted to add more legumes to our mixes. o To get best value from crimson clover, for example, we need to wait until it flowers — mid- April at the very earliest — before turning it under. o So after crimson clover it’s best if the food crop we plant goes in after the end of April, such as later corn plantings, winter squash, transplanted watermelon, tomatoes, sweet potatoes or June- planted potatoes. o Another factor is that crimson clover is best sown here before October 14, so it has to follow a crop that is finished by then.Crimson clover flower, Photo Kathryn Simmons
    23. 23. Step 7 Including  Before our change to the new rotation, we had been planting our tomatoes andNo-till crops peppers into a mowed cover crop ofWinter rye and hairy vetch. Photo winter rye and hairy vetch. We like thisKathryn Simmons no-till method and wanted to incorporate it into our new scheme too.  This reduces inversions of the soil, and the vetch (if plentiful) can supply all the nitrogen the tomatoes need.  Rye and vetch is best sown here in early to mid-September, creating another restriction on which crops the tomatoes could follow. These “restrictions” are more like the rules to a game, providing a structure to work within.  Austrian winter peas are said to reduce the incidence of Septoria leaf spot in following tomato crops, so we now include them in our no-till rye and hairy vetch planting.
    24. 24. Nailing down the corn, the nightshades and their next-of-kinMiddle corn Late corn Early corn followed Spring broccoliplanting followed undersown with by fall planted followed by ryeby rye and crimson oats and soy, easily garlic on half the and vetchclover incorporated in plot. Other half? early springJune planted March Overwintered garlic No-till tomatoespotatoes planted potatoes. followed by fall and peppers carrots. Other half? Still looking for homes: winter squash, watermelon, sweet potatoes, fall brassicas
    25. 25. Step 8. ImprovementsWe tightened up the rotation byhaving more than onevegetable crop in a plot withinthe year. We follow the springplanted potatoes with the fallbroccoli and cabbagetransplanted in July/August.This lets us keep a 10-year cycleround the 10 plots while havingone plot in cover crops all yearround, to replenish the soil. Weundersow the fall brassicas witha mix of clovers, to stay as agreen fallow the next year.Fall broccoli undersown with clover mix. Photo TwinOaks Community
    26. 26. Middle cornplanting followed Late corn Nearly There. . . undersown with Early corn followed by fall Spring broccoli followed by rye,by rye and oats and soy, planted garlic on vetch andcrimson clover easily half the plot. Austrian winter incorporated in Other half in oats. peas in early early spring SeptemberJune planted March Half in No-till tomatoespotatoes planted potatoes, overwintered and peppers harvested in July garlic followed by fall carrots. Other half for spring broccoli and cabbage July planted fall Brassicas followed brassicas by rye, vetch and undersown with Austrian winter clovers peas in early September (return to top of column 4) All Year Cover Still looking for Crops (Green homes: Fallow) winter squash, Followed by early watermelon, corn (return to top ½ plot of sweet of column 3) potatoes
    27. 27. Fitting in succession crops Next we look for any extra space in the plots, to fit in the minor crops: succession plantings of beans, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, edamame, cantaloupes and anything we didn’t manage to find room for in the permanent raised beds. Green beans, Photo Kathryn Simmons
    28. 28. Succession CropsPlanning ChartWe list the sparespaces in the plots (inorder of availability)and the crops we hopeto plant (in dateorder). At thebeginning and end ofthe season, and inmid-season whenspace in the main plotsis tight, we also lookfor spaces in our raisedbeds. Then we pencilin arrows, fitting thesuccession crops intothe spaces available.
    29. 29. Veg Finder BEANS CUKES SQUASH CORN CARROTS EDAMAME #1 29W, 29E #1 BED 13W #1 BED 23W #1 EAST Plot G 4x265’ #1 BED 9E #1 BED 21W Plant 4/16 180 dbl Plant 4/20 90 Plant 4/20 90 Plant 4/26+4/29 1060 Bod Plant 2/14 Danvers Plant 4/26 90’ Planted Planted Planted Planted Planted Planted Harvesting Harvesting Harvesting Harvesting Harvesting Harvesting Finished Finished Finished Finished Finished Finished #2 EAST Plot G #2 EAST Plot I #2 EAST Plot I #2 EAST Plot G 4x265 #2 BED 25E #2 EAST Plot G No-soak Plant 5/14 176’ dbl Plant 5/24 180’ Plant 5/24 88’ Plant 5/21 1060 Bod/KK/SQ Plant 2/28 Danvers Plant 5/18 88’ dblExample: Planted Harvesting slice 90 + pickle 90 Planted Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Planted HarvestingSquash Finished Harvesting Finished Finished Finished Finished Finished #3 WEST Plot J #3 WEST Plot J #3 WEST Plot J #3 WEST Plot A north 4 x 180 #3 BED 12W #3 EAST Plot I Plant 6/7 240’ dbl Plant 6/23 120’ Plant 6/23 120’ Plant 6/7 60’ dbl#3 WEST Plot J Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting 6/6 1080 Sug Pearl /KK/SQ Planted Harvesting Plant 3/13 Danvers Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Finished Finished Finished Finished Finished FinishedPlant 6/23 120’ #4 EAST Plot K Plant 6/29 175 dbl #4 CENT Plot D Plant 7/15 240 #4 EAST Plot K Plant 7/15 105’ #4 WEST Plot A 6 x 180 6/19 1080 Bod/KK/SQ #4 BED 12E Plant 3/27 Danvers #4 CENTRAL Plot D Plant 6/26 60’ dbl (5x35’) slice 120 +pickle 120 (3x35’) Planted Planted PlantedPlanted….. Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Planted Harvesting Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Finished Finished FinishedHarvesting….. #5 25E 22W Plant 7/19 180’ dbl #5 BED 15E Plant 8/5 90 slicers #5 BED 13E Plant 8/5 90’ #5 WEST Plot A 6 x 180 Plant 7/2 1080 Bod/KK/SQ #5 BED 19W Plant 4/10 Danvers #5 EAST Plot K Plant 7/14. 70’ (2x35’)dbl (2x90’) Planted Planted Planted Planted PlantedFinished….. Planted Harvesting Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Harvesting Finished Finished #6 BEDS 9W, 9E #6 CENTRAL Plot D 7 x 200 #6 BED 17W #8 BED 1 CARROTS#8 BED 30W Plant 8/3 180’ dbl Plant 7/16 1400 Bod/KK/SQ Plant 5/14 Danvers Only if needed Planted Planted Planted Plant 7/8 Danvers Harvesting Harvesting Harvesting Planted Finished Finished Finished Harvesting Finished #7 Not this year, perhaps never #7 BED 27E #8 BED CARROTS #9 again Only if needed Overwinter Raised Beds Plant 6/11 Danvers Plant 7/28 Danvers Planted Planted Harvesting Harvesting Finished Finished
    30. 30. Succession Crop Scheduling• Plan sowing dates for even, continuous supplies of popular summer crops, such as beans, squash, cucumbers, and sweet corn, and year round lettuce.• Length of time from sowing to harvest varies according to temperature (and day length in some cases).• Planting squash once a month will not provide an even supply.• Keep records and use information from other growers in your area to fine-tune planting dates.CREDIT: Kathryn Simmons.
    31. 31. Rough Plan: For us the rough version is: Every 2 weeks for beans and corn, Every 3 weeks for squash and cucumbers and edamame Every 4 weeks for carrots 2 or 3 plantings of muskmelons (cantaloupes) at least a month apart.CREDIT: Kathryn Simmons.
    32. 32. “No Paperwork” Methods• Sow another planting of sweet corn when the previous one is 1”–2" tall• Sow more lettuce when the previous sowing germinates• Sow more beans when the young plants start to straighten up from their hooked stage
    33. 33. Sow SeveralVarieties onOne DaySow severalvarieties withdiffering days-to-maturityon the sameday.
    34. 34. Vital Info Collect three pieces of information for each sowing of each crop: • Sowing date • Date of first harvest • Date of last worthwhile harvest of that sowing
    35. 35. LastWorthwhilePlanting DateFigure out the lastdate for plantingeach crop that givesit a reasonablechance of success.Virginia Co-operativeExtension ServiceFall Planting Guide
    36. 36. Here’s the formulafor frost-tender crops Count back from the expected first frost date, adding: • the number of days from seeding to harvest, • the average length of the harvest period, • 14 days to allow for the slowing rate of growth in the fall, and • 14 days to allow for an early frost (unless you have rowcover). Zephyr Summer Squash CREDIT: Kathryn Simmons.
    37. 37. Step-by-step Guide to Tackling Graphs The number of days to maturity varies through the season. Typically, plants mature faster in warmer weather, then slow as the year cools down. So, to get harvests starting an equal number of days apart, shorten the interval between one sowing date and the next as the season progresses.
    38. 38. Sowing Harvest Date StartGather Sowing 4/18 4/21 6/1 5/19and Harvest 4/23 5/14 5/25 6/3 5/15 6/21Start Dates 5/20 5/25 7/5 7/4 5/29 7/7Gather several 6/12 7/20 6/15 7/20years’ worth of 6/30 7/1 8/2 8/8planting and 7/2 7/4 8/11 8/8harvesting 7/5 7/14 8/10 8/14records, in two 7/18 7/19 8/17 8/28columns (this 8/3 8/4 9/9 9/5example is 8/5 8/7 9/15 10/2squash). 8/9 8/12 9/25 10/5
    39. 39. Draw thegraphPlot a graph for each crop,with sowing date along thehorizontal (x) axis andharvest start date alongthe vertical (y) axis.Don’t panic!
    40. 40. Setting up a Graph X axis = Sowing Date, across the bottom Y axis = Harvest Start Date18-Oct28-Sep 8-Sep19-Aug 30-Jul 10-Jul20-Jun31-May11-May 1-Apr 21-Apr 11-May 31-May 20-Jun 10-Jul 30-Jul 19-Aug
    41. 41.  The line of the graph is often uneven, due to differences in weather from year to year, and to growing varieties with differing maturity dates. If you use a spreadsheet program, the computer- generated line will be jagged and you will want to smooth it out. Draw a smooth line, trying to hit most of points, leaving equal numbers of them above and below the graph line. Note (on the next slide) the very erratic results towards the end of the season.
    42. 42. Squash Succession CropsSowing date Harvest start Apr 18 Jun 1 Apr 21 May 19 Apr 23 May 25 May 14 Jun 3 May 15 Jun 21 May 20 Jul 5 May 25 Jul 4 May 29 Jul 7 Jun 12 Jul 20 Jun 15 Jul 20 Squash Succession Crops Jun 30 Aug 2 Oct 24 Jul 1 Aug 8 Jul 2 Aug 11 Oct 4 Jul 4 Aug 8 Jul 5 Aug 10 Jul 14 Aug 14 Sep 14 Jul 18 Aug 17 Jul 19 Aug 28 Aug 25 Aug 3 Sep 9 Aug 4 Sep 5 Harvest Start Aug 5 Sep 15 Aug 5 Aug 7 Oct 2 Aug 9 Sep 25 Jul 16 Aug 12 Oct 5 Jun 26 Jun 6 May 17 Sowing Date Apr 27 Jun 11 Jun 21 Jun 1 Jul 1 Aug 10 May 12 May 22 Apr 12 Apr 22 May 2 Jul 11 Jul 21 Jul 31
    43. 43. Y axis = Harvest Start DateUsing the Graph 18-OctTo plan sowing 28-Sepdates, start fromyour first possiblesowing date along 8-Septhe x axis. Draw aline up from this 19-Augdate to the graphline. Draw a 30-Julhorizontal line fromthe point on the 10-Julgraph line to the yaxis. This is your first 20-Junharvest date. (Yum!)Ours is around May19. 31-May 11-May 1-Apr 21-Apr 11-May31-May 20-Jun 10-Jul 30-Jul 19-Aug
    44. 44. Last Worthwhile Y axis = Harvest Start Date Harvest Start Date 18-Oct• Calculate your last worthwhile harvest start date of the 28-Sep season.• Draw a line across from 8-Sep this date on the y (harvest) axis to the graph line. 19-Aug• Draw a vertical line from this point on the graph line to the x 30-Jul (sowing) axis to show when you need to sow 10-Jul this batch.• On this graph, an Aug 7 sowing has produced 20-Jun an Oct 2 harvest start. That’s too late! 31-May• Ours is sown Aug 5 (70 days before our average first frost) and 11-May we harvest from 1-Apr 21-Apr11-May31-May20-Jun 10-Jul 30-Jul 19-Aug around Sept 24.
    45. 45. May 19 - Sept 24 is 128 days of squash! (Plus the 30 days from harvest start to end of the last sowing)• Decide roughly how often you need a new patch coming into production• Divide the total period from first harvest of first sowing to first harvest of last sowing into a whole number of intervals. If we want fresh squash every 32 days, we’ll need 4 equal intervals between plantings(32 x 4 = 128).• Four intervals means 5 plantings• The harvest start dates will be May 19, June 20, July 22, Aug 23 and Sept 24.• Use the graph to get the planting dates needed. April 21, May 17, June 21, July 16, and Aug 5.• Sowing intervals are 26, 25, 25 and 20 days.
    46. 46. Another Example: Sweet CornUsing our graph of corn sowing and harvestdates (on the next slide) I estimate that April26, May 19, June 6, June 24, July 7, and July 16would be good dates for 6 plantings to providefresh eating every 2 weeks. The plantingintervals are 23, 18, 18, 13 and 9 days.
    47. 47. Save space and workYou may find you can plant less often, saving space and work.• We used to do 6 plantings of summer squash and cucumbers.• The intervals between sowings were 50, 30, 20, 16, and 17 days.• By using the graphs, we have been able to go down to 5 plantings, at intervals of 52, 25, 25 and 20 days. The sowing intervals decrease as the season warms up, as it takes fewer days for plants to mature. The first planting is very slow to mature — probably we could just start later still and lose nothing.• By moving the second planting 10 days later than it used to be, we are able to direct sow rather than transplant, which saves us time.• This revised schedule saves us from dumping zucchini on our neighbors’ porches!
    48. 48. Mexican bean beetles• Mexican bean beetles used to destroy our beans.• We needed 7 plantings at 15- day intervals.• After 2 weeks of harvesting a planting, we did “Root Checks.”• Now we buy the parasitic pedio wasp.• We sow 6 times rather than 7.• These sowing intervals are 28, 28, 22, 20 and 15 days.• We also get more beans than previously, and they’re prettier.
    49. 49. Year Round Lettuce Photo Credits Kathryn Simmons The short version is that we sow • twice in January, • twice in February, • every 10 days in March, • every 9 days in April, • every 8 days in May, • every 6-7 days in June and July,
    50. 50. Year Round Lettuce Photo Credit Kathryn Simmons• every 5 days in early August,• moving to every 3 days in late August,• every other day until Sept 21.• After that we ease back to every 3 days until the end of September.Those last plants will feed usright through the winter.
    51. 51. Lettuce Succession CropsSowing Date Harvest Start 1/0 1/13 1/5 4/12 Lettuce Succession Crops 1/15 4/15 1/25 4/17 2/5 4/20 4/18 2/15 4/26 4/8 2/25 5/1 3/29 3/19 3/5 5/5 3/9 3/15 5/11 2/27 3/25 5/18 2/17 4/5 5/25 2/7 4/15 6/4 1/28 4/20 6/11 1/18 5/6 6/23 1/8 5/17 7/1 12/29 12/19 5/25 7/7 12/9 6/1 7/13 Harvest Start Date 11/29 6/8 7/20 11/19 6/15 7/31 11/9 6/22 8/6 10/30 6/29 8/12 10/20 7/6 8/18 10/10 7/13 8/24 9/30 7/20 8/30 9/20 9/10 7/27 9/5 8/31 8/3 9/11 8/21 8/5 9/13 8/11 8/15 9/27 8/1 8/25 10/12 7/22 9/5 11/10 7/12 9/15 12/16 9/157/2 9/20 12/16 9/25 1/13 #REF! 6/22#REF! 6/12 10/5 2/2 6/2 10/15 2/15 5/23 10/25 2/25 5/13 11/5 2/25 5/3 11/15 3/18 4/23 11/25 3/28 4/13 3/14 3/24 4/13 4/23 8/11 8/21 8/31 9/10 9/20 1/13 1/23 2/12 2/22 5/13 5/23 6/12 6/22 7/12 7/22 9/30 11/9 12/9 10/10 10/20 10/30 11/19 11/29 12/19 12/29 3/4 4/3 8/1 2/2 5/3 6/2 7/2 12/5 4/4 12/15 4/6 12/25 4/9Dates from Coleman Sowing DateItalic dates approximate, from Twin Oaks
    52. 52. Spring and fall crops: carrots• We start sowing carrots as early as possible: mid–late February.• Then we sow every 4 weeks in March, April, May, and, if needed, June and July.• We make a huge fall planting in late July or early August. If we miss those dates, we wait till late August to avoid the high numbers of grasshoppers here in mid-August.• We don’t do succession plantings for fall carrots, just one big one, because we are growing bulk carrots to store for use all winter and don’t need multiple harvest dates.
    53. 53. Resources 1 The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman, 1995, Chelsea Green ATTRA Market Farming: A Start-up Guide, pub/summaries/summary.php?pub =18 ATTRA Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for a Continuous Harvest, pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=20 ATTRA Intercropping Principles and Production Practices (mostly field crops, but the same principles apply to vegetable crops), pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=105 SARE at -A searchable database of research findings Available to download: Using Cover Crops Profitably, Crop Rotations on Organic Farms, A Planning Manual, Charles Mohler and Sue Ellen Johnson, editors. SARE Kerr Center 2011 Organic No-Till Pumpkins Report Demo-Report-2012.pdf
    54. 54. Resources 2 Growing Small Farms: Click Grower Resources, Farm Planning and Recordkeeping Adams-Briscoe Seed Company Daniel Parson, Planning the Planting of Cover Crops and Cash Crops, SSAWG 2012 Joel Gruver, Cover crops for vegetable cropping systems Joel Gruver, Finding the best fit: cover crops in organic farming systems. Some overlap with previous slideshow. Brad Burgefurd, Cultural Practices And Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers. Wide scope. variety-selection Virginia Co-operative Extension Service Fall Planting Guide
    55. 55. Sustainable Farming Practices ©Pam Dawling 2013, Twin Oaks Community, VirginiaAuthor of Sustainable Market Farming Published by New Society Publishers