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Intensive Vegetable Production
on a Small Scale
©Pam Dawling 2016
Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia
Author of Sustaina...
Twin Oaks Community Gardens
What’s in This Presentation
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Healthy soils
Crop rotations
Cover crops
Compost making (&
growing)...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
• Why plan?
• How to plan?
• 12 steps of planning
1. How much money
2. Which markets
3....
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Why Plan? On-farm Rewards
҉Plan in the winter, farm in the growing season!
҉Make the mo...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Market Rewards for Planning
҉ Earn a living!
҉ Full CSA bags, groaning market tables ev...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
How to Plan? Helpful tools
• Be clear about your goals (before choosing tools).
• Desig...
COG-Pro is a record keeping software made for Certified Organic Farms
It uses a simple tabbed notebook visual and generate...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Spreadsheets
• Make your own, or copy others – see Resources at
end
• During the year w...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Worksheets
• Cindy Conner explains worksheets in her book
Grow a Sustainable Diet.
• Sh...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Planning is Circular, Just Like Farming
1. How much
money do
you need to
earn?
2. Which...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 1. How much money do you
need to earn?
• What are your living expenses?
• What are...
Setting prices
The Iowa State University publication Determining Prices for CSA
Share Boxes compares pricing based on
• wh...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 2 Which markets will you sell at?
New growers are often advised to start with a
f...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 3 Which crops are most profitable?
Clifton Slade at VSU in his 43560
Project shows...
Enterprise budgets
Vern Grubinger in Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to
Market explains how to make an ente...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 3 Consider flowers as well as
vegetables
Mark Cain of Dripping
Spring Gardens, Ark...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 3 Reasons to grow some crops that
don’t make the highest income
 provide a good c...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 4 How much to harvest
 The average person eats 160-200
pounds of fresh vegetables...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 4 Your Harvest Schedule
• Decide which crops you
want to harvest when, how
often a...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 5 How much to grow to meet
your harvest goals
Take likely yields and add a margin ...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 6 Harvest Dates Sowing Dates
When to sow to meet the harvest dates?
 Find the num...
Days to Maturity
• “Days to Maturity” usually means “Days to First Harvest” which
may not be the same as “Days to Full Har...
Field Planting Schedule
Draw up your list of outdoor planting dates, along with
varieties, row feet, spacing, notes and sp...
Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping
Step 7 When to sow for transplants
 If the crop is to be transplanted and the catalog ...
Seedlings Schedule
Step 7
Pepper transplants. Photo Kathryn Simmons
Step 8 Maps
 Where in the fields to
plant each sowing of
each crop ?
 Start filling your map
with your major
crops
reme...
Intercropping, Relay Planting and Double
Cropping
• Promptly clearing short term crops like beans or cucumbers
helps with ...
Step 9 Packing More in
Find Space for Succession Crops:
• Beans, edamame, cucumbers, melons ,
squash, sweet corn can be pr...
Step 9 Packing More in
Succession Crops
Planning Chart
• We list the spare
spaces in the plots (in
order of availability)
...
Step 10 Look at the Overview - Tweak to
Make Your Best Possible Plan
• Can’t fit everything in? Drop crops or
change your ...
Step 11 What to do if something goes
wrong: Plan B
Have a brainstorm list to help
deal with disasters:
 Do immediate dama...
Step 12 Record results for next year’s
Better Plan:
• Make recording easy to do
• Have a daily practice of writing down wh...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Succession Crop Scheduling
• Plan sowing dates for even,
continuous supplies of popul...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Several approaches to succession crop
planning – which suits you?
1. Rough plan: “eve...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Rough Plan:
Every 2 weeks for beans
and corn,
Every 3 weeks for squash
and cucumber...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
“No Paperwork” Methods
• Sow another planting of
sweet corn when the
previous one is ...
Part 1 – Planning and
record-keeping
Sow Several
Varieties on
One Day
Use varieties
with different
days-to-maturity
sown o...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Make a graph - 6 steps
1. Gather Sowing and Harvest Start
Dates for each planting of ...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Year Round Lettuce Part 1Photo Credits Kathryn Simmons
The short version is that
we s...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Year Round Lettuce Part 2
Photo Credits Kathryn Simmons
• every 5 days in early
Augus...
Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping
Winter succession crops in the
hoophouse
To provide continuous supplies of salad and ...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Grow and Maintain Healthy Soil
What are Healthy Soils?
• Healthy soils promote plant,
animal, and h...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Healthy Soil is Alive
One acre of organic soil can have 2400 pounds of fungi and 1500 pounds
of bac...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Signs of a Healthy Soil
• Has good crumb structure, lets air and water in
and out.
• Resists erosio...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations
- Many Benefits
Optimize the health and fertility of the land,
Maximize productivi...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Steps to Creating a Permanent Rotation
1. Figure out how much area is needed for each
major crop (t...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 1
Space Needed for Major Crops
• Sweet corn: 6 or 7 plantings of about 3,500 ft...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations steps 2 & 3
Measure and
Map;
Divide the Land
into Equal Plots
West Garden and
Centra...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 4
Group Other Big Crops Together to
Fill Each Plot:
 Two or three corn
plantin...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 5
Determine a good sequence
To figure out a crop sequence, we looked at the
fam...
Winter
Squash
Late Corn
undersown with
oats (1/2). Sweet
Potatoes (1/2)
March-planted
Potatoes, followed
by fall-planted
b...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 6
Plan good cover crops
For early spring food crops, a
preceding cover crop of ...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 7
Including no-
till crops
We plant our tomatoes and peppers
into a mowed cove...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 8
Improvements
• We tightened up the rotation by
having more than one vegetable...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Cover Crop Opportunities
 Undersowing at last cultivation
(oats and soybeans in corn
shown here.)
...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Cover Crop Goals
• Smothering weeds: sorghum-sudan, cereal rye, buckwheat,
brassicas (we don’t do b...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Cover Crops - Oats
 For early spring food
crops, a preceding cover
crop of oats (maybe with
soybea...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Leguminous Cover Crops
To get best from legumes, wait till they
flower before turning them under (m...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Late Fall Cover Crops
• Austrian Winter Peas can be sown as late as
11/8 here, so we add them to ou...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Summer Cover Crops
 If we have a four week
gap between crops in
warm weather, we sow
buckwheat.
 ...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Compost Making
• Many farms make their own compost -this
improves the soil, uses materials that cou...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Compost is Central to our Soil
Fertility Program.
• One of our businesses is making and selling tof...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Compost Making is Both Art and
Science
• There are several methods and recipes.
• Hot (aerobic) com...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Hot (aerobic) compost
• The pile moves into the
thermophilic stage, which
lasts several weeks.
Temp...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
When the pile starts to cool, turn it
• Because more oxygen or more water is needed.
• Turning also...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
When the Compost Stops Heating
 After the compost materials have all been consumed by the bacteria...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Finished Compost
Finished compost ideally has a C:N
(carbon:nitrogen) ratio of 10:1.
If the C:N r...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Growing Compost Materials
• If you have land where you are not growing
food crops and don’t want to...
Part 2 – Feed the Soil
Organic Mulches
• Organic mulches such as
straw, hay, sawdust,
woodchips, tree leaves,
newspaper an...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Direct seeding
Transplanting
Crop spacing
Efficient production strategies
Season exten...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
16 factors that help us keep good food on the table year round:
1. Planning: Minimize the b...
9. High Tunnel growing: The rate of growth is much faster in a hoophouse; the quality
of the crops is superb.
10.Transplan...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Direct Seeding
Photo Kathryn Simmons
• Pros
– Less work than transplanting
– Less money com...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Getting the best from direct sowing
 Good soil conditions lead to even
germination: tilth ...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Transplanting pros and consPros
• Start earlier than outside, get earlier
harvests
• Start ...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Getting the best from transplanting
 Roots need space. Open flats, plug trays, soil blocks...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Transplant age and size
Vegetable Notes Ideal Age at Transplanting
Cucumbers,
melons,
squas...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Transplanting depth
o Deeper planting reduces wind stress on
young plants.
o Plant to the f...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Water is Vital for Transplants!
 Damp soil is important for transplanting.
Water plants an...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Crop Spacing
Yield is related to plant density.
 Area per plant is the important bit, not
...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Optimal Crop Spacing for Various GoalsCrop Row spacing In-row spacing Notes
Beets 7" (18 cm...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Efficient Production Strategies
See Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody
Bolluyt at Roxbury Farm
www...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Make a Harvest Methods Manual
Describe the crop when ready to harvest, the tools needed, th...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Season Extension in Every Season
Advantages and disadvantages in time and money
 Growing e...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Crop Protection
• Frost-tender crops can be
kept alive and productive
beyond the first fros...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Formula to determine last sowing date
for frost-tender crops
Count back from the expected f...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Growing and Storing Cold-hardy Winter
Vegetables
Four Situations:
• Cool weather spring/fal...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Sustainable Pest Management
4 steps of Integrated Pest Management:
1. prevention (reduce ch...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Mexican bean beetles
• Mexican bean beetles used to
destroy our beans.
• We needed 7 planti...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Bean Beetle Parasite
(Pediobius foveolatus)
• These tiny wasps do not overwinter, so buy th...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Sustainable Disease Management
Diseases need
• a susceptible host,
• the presence of a path...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Bio-intensive Disease IPM
1. Cultural controls
(preventative strategies)
2. Monitor crops f...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Sustainable Weed Management
Weeds compete with crops for sunlight, water
and nutrients, an...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Sustainable weed management is
about effectiveness
• Remove weeds at their most
vulnerable ...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Methods of sustainable weed control
1. Preventing weeds from
germinating
Photo credit Luke ...
Part 3 - Year Round Production
Harvest and maturity indicators
For market you may need to harvest “fruit” crops a bit unde...
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Select blue-green broccoli heads and
harvest them before the small, yellow
flower buds open.
Leav...
Sweet Corn
• Sweet corn will be ready to
harvest about three weeks
after the first silks appear.
• Corn is ready when the ...
Determining when to harvest garlic
• Garlic is ready to harvest when the sixth leaf down is starting to brown on 50% of th...
Onions
Wait until the tops fall over to harvest, then gently dig up the whole plant and dry.
Leave the dry, papery outer s...
Resources - General
 ATTRA attra.ncat.org Market Farming: A Start-up Guide, Plugs and Transplant Production for
Organic S...
Resources - slideshows
 Many of my presentations are available at www.Slideshare.net . Search for Pam Dawling. You’ll fin...
Resources - books
 The Market Gardener, Jean-Martin Fortier, New Society Publishers
 The Complete Know and Grow Vegetabl...
Resources - Planning
 The Twin Oaks Harvest Calendar by Starting Date and by Crop are available
as pdfs on my website
sus...
Resources – Detailed Planning
 Tables of likely crop yields johnnyseeds.com/assets/information/vegetablecharts.pdf.
 gar...
Intensive Vegetable Production
on a Small Scale
©Pam Dawling 2016
Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia
Author of Sustaina...
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG
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Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG

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How to plan small scale vegetable farming; how to care for the soil in a sustainable way; how to produce a variety of vegetable crops for market.

Published in: Food
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Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale 2016 Pam Dawling SSAWG

  1. 1. Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale ©Pam Dawling 2016 Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
  2. 2. Twin Oaks Community Gardens
  3. 3. What’s in This Presentation Part 2 – Feed the Soil Healthy soils Crop rotations Cover crops Compost making (& growing) Organic mulches Part 1 – Planning and Record-keeping Why and how 12 steps of planning Succession crop scheduling Part 3 - Year Round Production Direct sowing Transplanting Crop spacing Efficient production strategies Season extension, crop protection Cold-hardy winter vegetables Pests Diseases Weeds Harvest and maturity Part 4 - Resources
  4. 4. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping • Why plan? • How to plan? • 12 steps of planning 1. How much money 2. Which markets 3. Which crops 4. Harvest schedule 5. How much to plant 6. Field planting schedule 7. Seedling/transplant schedule 8. Maps 9. Packing more in 10. Tweak 11. Plan B 12. Next year’s better plan See my slideshow Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production on SlideShare.net
  5. 5. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Why Plan? On-farm Rewards ҉Plan in the winter, farm in the growing season! ҉Make the most productive use of your land. ҉Pace yourself ҉Reduce stress and confusion ҉Enjoy your life! ҉Become a better farmer - keep good records, make good plans. ҉Planning gets easier - tweak last year’s plan.
  6. 6. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Market Rewards for Planning ҉ Earn a living! ҉ Full CSA bags, groaning market tables every week = satisfaction! ҉ Enjoy your great reputation providing what customers want. ҉ Enjoy having information at your fingertips - when broccoli will start, or cucumbers end. ҉ Achieve balance each week: some leafy crop, something brightly colored, something bulky and filling, something new, something highly flavored. ҉ Use your full market season, all your opportunities.
  7. 7. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping How to Plan? Helpful tools • Be clear about your goals (before choosing tools). • Design a system you like, so you’ll use it. • Do you prefer clipboards, computers, or photos? • There are Web-based Tools, Spreadsheets, Worksheets and Notebooks • Build in the ability to adapt the plan if conditions change.
  8. 8. COG-Pro is a record keeping software made for Certified Organic Farms It uses a simple tabbed notebook visual and generates reports for the certification process. The planning tools include prompts for information your certifier needs.
  9. 9. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Spreadsheets • Make your own, or copy others – see Resources at end • During the year we follow printed sheets - don’t often need the computer. • The program does the calculations. • Quickly sort out selected parts of the information and rearrange it
  10. 10. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Worksheets • Cindy Conner explains worksheets in her book Grow a Sustainable Diet. • She also sells a DVD/CD set Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan. Aimed primarily at homesteaders, the steps help you figure how many seeds and plants you need, when to plant and where, and when to expect a harvest. • Mark Cain www.drippingspringsgarden.com and Daniel Brisebois and Frédéric Thériault Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, are other good sources for ideas on worksheets.
  11. 11. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Planning is Circular, Just Like Farming 1. How much money do you need to earn? 2. Which markets to sell at 3. Which crops to grow 4. How much of what to harvest when: Harvest Schedule 5. How much to grow to achieve your harvest goals 6. Calculate sowing dates to meet harvest dates: Field Planting Schedule7. When to sow for transplants: Seedlings Schedule 8. Where to plant each sowing of each crop: Maps 9. Packing more in: succession plantings, intercropping, relay planting, double cropping 10. Adjust to make your best possible plan 11. What to do if something goes wrong: Plan B 12. Record results for next year’s Better Plan
  12. 12. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 1. How much money do you need to earn? • What are your living expenses? • What are your farm expenses? • What do you want to save for old age, rainy days, raising children, college funds. . . • The Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25/hour (Jan 2014), going up to $10.10. Just saying. . . • Do you have other sources of income?
  13. 13. Setting prices The Iowa State University publication Determining Prices for CSA Share Boxes compares pricing based on • what customers will pay, • what other growers are selling the crop for • what it costs to produce. It includes a chart of share value of 24 crops based on grocery prices and the quantity included. Step 1
  14. 14. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 2 Which markets will you sell at? New growers are often advised to start with a farmers’ market rather than a CSA the first year, as you can sell a more erratic supply of crops at market. On the other hand, if you have experience from working on another farm, a commitment to careful planning, and you need that upfront beginning-of - season cash, you may decide to start a CSA right away. If you have an off-farm job to tide you over, it may be practical to leave the financial questions for a year, and build on that experience.
  15. 15. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 3 Which crops are most profitable? Clifton Slade at VSU in his 43560 Project shows how to earn $43,560 from one acre ($1 per square foot). Choose crops which produce one vegetable head or stalk, or 1 pound of produce, per square foot. Richard Wiswall Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook Outdoor kale can produce $2463 from 1/10 acre, and of the crops he compared, only parsley and basil earned more. Field tomatoes came in at $1872, and several vegetables (bush beans, sweet corn, peas) made a loss. Vates kale. Photo Kathryn Simmons Some crops offer more money per area, some are more profitable in terms of time
  16. 16. Enterprise budgets Vern Grubinger in Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market explains how to make an enterprise budget for each crop. These calculations compare one crop with another, while not delving into overhead costs.  In your Crop Journal, record the amount of work done on each crop each day: o Bed prep, cultivating o Planting, mulching, staking.  Record at each harvest o weight or count of each crop, o time spent harvesting and cleaning it; o money raised from each crop each week.  At the end of the season, add up the total time for each crop o Divide the income for that crop by the time spent on it, and o divide the income for that crop by the area, or number of beds.  Aim for $400/100’ bed per season. The range could be $109-1065. Step 3
  17. 17. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 3 Consider flowers as well as vegetables Mark Cain of Dripping Spring Gardens, Arkansas:  50% of their growing area in cut flowers and 50% in vegetables.  The cut flowers bring in 75% of the income. Photo Tom Freeman, Twin Oaks Flowers
  18. 18. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 3 Reasons to grow some crops that don’t make the highest income  provide a good crop rotation for your farm,  provide diversity (customers will only buy so much parsley and basil).  provide for different times of year, even for the whole year.  Kohlrabi. Photo McCune Porter
  19. 19. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 4 How much to harvest  The average person eats 160-200 pounds of fresh vegetables per year (USDA)  the average CSA share feeds 2 or 3 people,  an annual share will need to include about 500 pounds of 40- 50 different vegetables, distributed, say, once a week for 8 months and once a month for 4 months.  Many CSAs have a shorter season than this – your call. Photo Bridget Aleshire
  20. 20. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 4 Your Harvest Schedule • Decide which crops you want to harvest when, how often and over what length of time, including quantities. • For a CSA, make a Share Schedule, telling sharers what to expect when. • Multiply that up, add a margin for culls and failures, and list how much of each crop to have ready for harvest each week.
  21. 21. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 5 How much to grow to meet your harvest goals Take likely yields and add a margin for culls and failures (10%?). The table I provide in Sustainable Market Farming lists 48 crops, with likely yield, quantity required for 100 CSA shares, and length of row needed to grow this amount.
  22. 22. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 6 Harvest Dates Sowing Dates When to sow to meet the harvest dates?  Find the number of days to maturity (from the catalog).  Is that number from seeding to harvest or transplant to harvest?  Work back from each target harvest date, subtracting days to maturity, to give the planting date.  Days to maturity in catalogs are generally for spring planting once conditions have warmed to the usual range for that crop. ‒ If you are starting very early, add about 14 days - seedlings grow slower when cold. ‒ In summer crops mature sooner than in spring. ‒ When growing late into the fall, add about 14 days for the slowdown.
  23. 23. Days to Maturity • “Days to Maturity” usually means “Days to First Harvest” which may not be the same as “Days to Full Harvest”. • With carrots it doesn’t matter exactly what size they are, but an unripe eggplant is just no good. • With CSAs, you can distribute eggplant to some sharers one week, and others the next, although keeping track involves more work. • If it’s important to have a plentiful harvest when you do start, add another 7-14 days. Carrot photo Kathryn Simmons Step 6
  24. 24. Field Planting Schedule Draw up your list of outdoor planting dates, along with varieties, row feet, spacing, notes and space to write down what you actually do. Step 6
  25. 25. Part 1 Planning and Record Keeping Step 7 When to sow for transplants  If the crop is to be transplanted and the catalog doesn’t include the time to grow the transplant, add that. See Sustainable Market Farming  Use your own experience or the catalog information, or somewhere in between  In future years you will have your own records to customize your calculations  Extract the dates to sow for transplants, and make your Seedlings Schedule Seedlings in Twin Oaks Greenhouse Photo Kathryn Simmons
  26. 26. Seedlings Schedule Step 7 Pepper transplants. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  27. 27. Step 8 Maps  Where in the fields to plant each sowing of each crop ?  Start filling your map with your major crops remembering crop rotation and cover cropping considerations. Note the spaces for squeezing in other crops More on this later.
  28. 28. Intercropping, Relay Planting and Double Cropping • Promptly clearing short term crops like beans or cucumbers helps with pest and disease control and opens up the space for double-cropping or for more cover crops to replenish the soil • Fast growing crops like lettuce, radishes and greens can be planted between or alongside slower-growing crops to generate more income and diversity • We grow peas with spinach, peanuts with lettuce, okra with cabbage Tyee spinach in a relay with snap peas. Photo Kathryn Simmons Step 9 Packing More in:
  29. 29. Step 9 Packing More in Find Space for Succession Crops: • Beans, edamame, cucumbers, melons , squash, sweet corn can be produced through the frost-free period, if you sow several times. • Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, spinach can be grown in spring and again in the fall in the Southeast. • Lettuce can be grown year-round • Lettuce, spinach, turnips, radishes, scallions, tatsoi and some other Asian greens can be sown in succession in the winter hoophouse
  30. 30. Step 9 Packing More in Succession Crops Planning Chart • We list the spare spaces in the plots (in order of availability) • and the crops we hope to plant (in date order) • Then we pencil in arrows, fitting the succession crops into the spaces available.
  31. 31. Step 10 Look at the Overview - Tweak to Make Your Best Possible Plan • Can’t fit everything in? Drop crops or change your plant quantities? • Always keep your highest priorities in mind – best markets, signature crops, personal needs. • Use all available space for food crops or cover crops • Check timings of seedlings – do you have enough germinating capacity? • Is it physically possible to do all the transplanting you plan in the time allotted? • Simplify planting dates, eg squash and cucumbers on the same days. Photo credit Kathryn Simmons
  32. 32. Step 11 What to do if something goes wrong: Plan B Have a brainstorm list to help deal with disasters:  Do immediate damage control to stop the problem getting worse  Ask for help from sharers, neighbors, kids,  Salvage anything you can and process it in some way to sell later.  Plant some quick-growing crops to substitute for crop failures  Buy from other local growers to tide you over  Team up with other growers, share a market booth, save on the rent  Write down what went wrong and why, so you don’t have the same problem next year Senposai can be harvested 40 days from sowing. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  33. 33. Step 12 Record results for next year’s Better Plan: • Make recording easy to do • Have a daily practice of writing down what was done that day • Allow time for that, without losing much of your lunch break • Delegate to reliable people • During the main growing season, we don’t do a lot of paperwork. We record planting dates and harvest start and finish dates. • At the beginning of the winter, have a Crop Review Meeting, discuss and write up what worked and what didn’t, to learn from the experience and do better next year. • Adjust dates to halfway between last year’s plan and whatever actually happened - gradually zero in on the likely date without wild pendulum swings based on variable weather.
  34. 34. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Succession Crop Scheduling • Plan sowing dates for even, continuous supplies of popular summer crops, such as beans, squash, cucumbers, sweet corn; year round lettuce and winter hoophouse greens. • 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. Photo Credit: Kathryn Simmons. For all the details, see my slideshow Succession Planting for Continuous Harvests on SlideShare.net
  35. 35. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Several approaches to succession crop planning – which suits you? 1. Rough plan: “every two weeks” 2. “No paperwork” methods 3. Sow several varieties on the same day 4. Plan a sequence of sowings to provide an even supply, using graphs 5. Use Accumulated Growing Degree Days data Squash drawing by Jessie Doyle
  36. 36. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Rough Plan: 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.
  37. 37. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping “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
  38. 38. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Sow Several Varieties on One Day Use varieties with different days-to-maturity sown on the same day.
  39. 39. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Make a graph - 6 steps 1. Gather Sowing and Harvest Start Dates for each planting of each crop. 2. Make a graph for each crop: sowing date along the horizontal (x) axis and harvest start date along the vertical (y) axis. Mark in all your data. 3. Mark the first possible sowing date and find the harvest start date for that. 4. Decide the last worthwhile harvest start date, mark that. 5. Then divide the harvest period into a whole number of segments, according to how often you want a new patch. 6. Figure the sowing dates needed to match your chosen harvest start dates For details of this method see Succession Planting on SlideShare.net
  40. 40. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Year Round Lettuce Part 1Photo 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,
  41. 41. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Year Round Lettuce Part 2 Photo Credits 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 could feed us right through the winter.
  42. 42. Part 1 – Planning and record-keeping Winter succession crops in the hoophouse To provide continuous supplies of salad and cooking greens, as well as radishes and small turnips, we plan successions of winter hoophouse crops. For details, see my slideshow Hoophouse in Fall and Winter on SlideShare.net
  43. 43. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Grow and Maintain Healthy Soil What are Healthy Soils? • Healthy soils promote plant, animal, and human health. • They produce good crop yields, year after year, without degrading the environment. • They grow strong plants and make the conditions unsuitable for diseases and pests. • Sometimes plagues still strike! Tatsoi Photo Wren Vile
  44. 44. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Healthy Soil is Alive One acre of organic soil can have 2400 pounds of fungi and 1500 pounds of bacteria. These contribute to good soil structure, the breakdown of nutrients, and increased levels of organic matter. USDA image
  45. 45. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Signs of a Healthy Soil • Has good crumb structure, lets air and water in and out. • Resists erosion and compaction. • Absorbs, holds and releases nutrients. • Promotes good root growth. • Provides good habitat for soil organisms. • Has a moderate pH (6.0 – 7.0). • Has low levels of salts and toxins. • Has balanced fertility with adequate levels of nutrients.
  46. 46. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations - Many Benefits Optimize the health and fertility of the land, Maximize productivity, Reduce pests and diseases, Increase opportunities to plant cover crops, Meet Organic Certification requirements, Make the planning work easier on the brain. See my slideshow Crop Rotations for Vegetables and Cover Crops on SlideShare.net
  47. 47. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Steps to Creating a Permanent Rotation 1. 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 available 3. Divide into equal plots 4. Group compatible crops together to fill each plot 5. Determine a good sequence 6. Include cover crops 7. Include no-till crops 8. Try it for one year, then make improvements
  48. 48. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations 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)
  49. 49. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations steps 2 & 3 Measure and Map; Divide the Land into Equal Plots West Garden and Central Garden • West Garden 180’-65’ x 243’ • Central Garden 200’ x 50’, plus 25’ x 60’ “dogleg” Maps show plots of 9,000-10,000 ft2
  50. 50. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 4 Group Other Big Crops Together to Fill Each Plot:  Two or three corn plantings together in one plot  (3,500 ft2 (322 m2) each)  Spring broccoli together with overwintered 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) Left to right: Broccoli under rowcover, garlic, strawberries. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  51. 51. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 5 Determine a good sequence To figure out a crop sequence, we looked at the families of our major crops, and kept crops in the same family either • beside each other in the same plot, or • in plots several years apart in the rotation. To decide what follows what, we looked at timing and at winter cover crops.
  52. 52. Winter Squash Late Corn undersown with oats (1/2). Sweet Potatoes (1/2) March-planted Potatoes, followed by fall-planted broccoli & cabbage, undersown with clovers All-year Green Fallow Early Corn followed by fall Garlic (1/2) and oats (1/2) Garlic followed by Carrots (1/2). Spring Broccoli & Cabbage, then rye & vetch (1/2) No-till paste Tomatoes Water- melon Mid-season Corn, then rye & crimson clover June- planted Potatoes Next, we’ll look at cover crops, for good matches
  53. 53. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 6 Plan good cover crops 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. Add legumes in mixes with grasses whenever possible. More on cover crops later. Crimson clover flower, Photo Kathryn Simmons
  54. 54. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 7 Including no- till crops We plant our tomatoes and peppers into a mowed cover crop of winter rye, hairy vetch and Austrian winter peas. 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 planting. 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. Winter rye and hairy vetch. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  55. 55. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 8 Improvements • We tightened up the rotation by having more than one vegetable crop in a plot within the year. • This lets us keep a 10-year cycle round the 10 plots while having one plot in cover crops all year round, to replenish the soil. • We follow the spring planted potatoes with the fall broccoli and cabbage transplanted in July/August. • We undersow the fall brassicas with a mix of clovers, to stay as a green fallow the whole next year. Fall broccoli undersown with clover mix. Photo Twin Oaks Community
  56. 56. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Cover Crop Opportunities  Undersowing at last cultivation (oats and soybeans in corn shown here.)  After vegetable crops in summer or fall, for the winter  Frost-seeding of small seeds such as clover: Broadcast in the early morning when ground is frozen. As it thaws, the water draws the seeds down into the soil.  Late winter or early spring, if the area will not be planted with vegetable crop until late spring. We use oats.  In spring, between an early vegetable crop and a later one  To replace a crop failure. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  57. 57. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Cover Crop Goals • Smothering weeds: sorghum-sudan, cereal rye, buckwheat, brassicas (we don’t do brassica cover crops – rotation, bugs). • Fixing nitrogen: clovers, vetches, Austrian winter peas, cowpeas, soybeans, lentils, sunn-hemp. • Scavenging leftover nutrients : small grains, brassicas, annual ryegrass (we don’t use annual ryegrass either – danger of it becoming a weed) • Improving soil drainage: sorghum- sudangrass, sunflower, daikon, sweet- clover, alfalfa,brassicas, sugar-beet or forage-beet (never tried that.) • Grazing • Bio-fumigation • Killing nematodes
  58. 58. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Cover Crops - Oats  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.  Oats need to be sown at our farm 8/5-9/17 - they need to follow an early finishing crop, such as spring brassicas, spring potatoes or early corn. Photo Oklahoma Farm Report
  59. 59. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Leguminous Cover Crops To get best from legumes, wait till they flower before turning them under (mid- April for Crimson clover at the very earliest) Then plant a food crop that goes in after the end of April (later corn plantings, winter squash, transplanted watermelon, tomatoes, sweet potatoes or June- planted potatoes). Crimson clover is best sown here before October 14, so it has to follow a crop that is finished by then. Austrian winter peas can be sown later than clovers. Cowpeas or soybeans are warm weather legumes. Crimson clover flower, Photo Kathryn Simmons
  60. 60. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Late Fall Cover Crops • Austrian Winter Peas can be sown as late as 11/8 here, so we add them to our later rye and wheat cover crop sowings. • Photo FifthSeasonGardening.com • Winter wheat is easier to incorporate into the soil in spring, but winter rye can be planted later than any other cover crop.
  61. 61. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Summer Cover Crops  If we have a four week gap between crops in warm weather, we sow buckwheat.  If we have 6 weeks, we sow soy with buckwheat.  If longer, Japanese Millet or  Sorghum-sudangrass Shown here after mowing. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  62. 62. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Compost Making • Many farms make their own compost -this improves the soil, uses materials that could otherwise be a waste disposal problem. • USDA Organic Certified Farms need to follow Organic rules.
  63. 63. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Compost is Central to our Soil Fertility Program. • One of our businesses is making and selling tofu. Okara is a high-N by-product • We mix in high-C sources: sawdust (from our hammock-making business) or woodchips (trade with a neighbor) • We add food scraps from our dining hall • and sometimes weeds or crop refuse from our garden. • We use the tractor bucket to lift and turn the piles.
  64. 64. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Compost Making is Both Art and Science • There are several methods and recipes. • Hot (aerobic) compost combines 1 to 3 parts high-C materials with 1 part high-N materials in a 25:1 to 40:1 C:N ratio, and enough water to make the piles damp, air to keep the bacteria alive. • The mesophilic stage lasts for the first 2-3 days after the pile is made. Bacteria which are active at 90°F–110°F (32°C– 43°C) begin to break down the sugars, fats, starches and proteins.
  65. 65. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Hot (aerobic) compost • The pile moves into the thermophilic stage, which lasts several weeks. Temperatures in the middle of the pile can reach 120°F– 150°F (48°C–66°C). • Thermophilic bacteria increase, and keep working as long as decomposable materials remain available and the oxygen supply is adequate. • Pathogens, weed seeds and fly larvae are destroyed. Large-scale compost-turning equipment
  66. 66. Part 2 – Feed the Soil When the pile starts to cool, turn it • Because more oxygen or more water is needed. • Turning also remixes the material, so that all of it can be composted. • And turning prevents the pile from overheating — above 150°F (66°C), the thermophilic bacteria can be killed. • During turning, more water can be added if needed to keep the pile damp but not dripping. Large scale compost-turning machinery
  67. 67. Part 2 – Feed the Soil When the Compost Stops Heating  After the compost materials have all been consumed by the bacteria and the N mineralized (converted to nitrates, available as plant nutrients), the pile cools to around 100°F (37.7°C).  It can’t be reheated by more turning, and it is left to cure for about 30 days. This allows beneficial microorganisms to recolonize the compost.  The C in mature compost is resistant to further breakdown, and the N, initially in the bodies of microbial soil life forms, slowly becomes available to the plants.  It is then ready to be used. Large-scale compost screening equipment
  68. 68. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Finished Compost Finished compost ideally has a C:N (carbon:nitrogen) ratio of 10:1. If the C:N ratio is greater than about 25:1, almost no N is available from the compost and it is unable to mineralize. Between 16 and 20:1, about 10% of the N is available. Even at a C:N ratio of 10:1, only 50% of the N is available in the near term.
  69. 69. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Growing Compost Materials • If you have land where you are not growing food crops and don’t want to improve the soil by growing cover crops, you can grow compost crops, to cut and haul to your compost piles. • This can be a good way to grow food crops very intensively in a small area, with the compost crops growing elsewhere.
  70. 70. Part 2 – Feed the Soil Organic Mulches • Organic mulches such as straw, hay, sawdust, woodchips, tree leaves, newspaper and cardboard all add organic matter to the soil. • Here we are preparing a new strawberry bed mulched with 2 layers of newspaper and dried sorghum- sudangrass cut from the plot in the background. Photo Luke J Stovall
  71. 71. Part 3 - Year Round Production Direct seeding Transplanting Crop spacing Efficient production strategies Season extension and crop protection Cold-hardy winter vegetables Pests Diseases Weeds Harvest and maturity See my slide show Fall Vegetable Production on SlideShare.net
  72. 72. Part 3 - Year Round Production 16 factors that help us keep good food on the table year round: 1. Planning: Minimize the brain-frying calculations in August. Rotations 2. Gearing up: Scale-appropriate equipment. 3. Research and information: One of the best farm implements is the brain! 4. Caring for the soil: Compost, cover crops, organic mulches. Soil tests, amendments. 5. Maximizing plant health: Prevent and control pests, diseases and weeds, get a longer harvest. 6. Choose crops and varieties suited to your conditions. Read catalog descriptions carefully. Go for flavor, productivity and disease resistance. Introduce new crops or varieties on a small scale. 7. Overwintering crops: Kale, collards, spinach, leeks. In spring, get earlier harvests. 8. Season extension: At both ends of the normal growing season. Adding 2 or 3 weeks takes only a little extra vigilance and a modest investment in rowcover or shadecloth.
  73. 73. 9. High Tunnel growing: The rate of growth is much faster in a hoophouse; the quality of the crops is superb. 10.Transplants: Extend the season in spring by starting plants inside, giving them a head start over direct-sown crops. Let over-overwintered cover crops grow 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! 12.Interplanting and undersowing: Sowing or transplanting one crop (or cover crop) while another is still growing. Establish your cover crop sooner. 13.Winter storage: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, garlic and onions, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac and kohlrabi. Longer availability. 14.Food processing: Processed (“value-added”) foods lengthen the season, with no out-of-season growing. Pickle, can, freeze and dry 15. Crop review: Keep good records, discuss and write up what worked and what didn’t, and do better next year. 16. Lots of help: Arrange some work so that unskilled visitors can join in and be useful. Solar food dryer. Photo Twin Oaks Community
  74. 74. Part 3 - Year Round Production Direct Seeding Photo Kathryn Simmons • Pros – Less work than transplanting – Less money compared to buying starts – No need for a greenhouse and equipment – Better drought tolerance – roots grow without damage – Some crops don’t transplant easily – Some crops have millions of plants! (Carrots) • Cons – Uses more seed – Uses more time thinning – Occupies the land longer – Maybe harder to get started in cold (or hot) conditions
  75. 75. Part 3 - Year Round Production Getting the best from direct sowing  Good soil conditions lead to even germination: tilth (size of particles), moisture  Decide by soil temperature, not calendar. New Seed Starter’s Handbook.  Correct depth and sowing density  Good seed contact with soil: tamp lightly  Good tools: EarthWay, precision seeders, hoes, jab planters for large seeds, tractor seed drills. • Photo Bridget Aleshire
  76. 76. Part 3 - Year Round Production Transplanting pros and consPros • Start earlier than outside, get earlier harvests • Start seed in more ideal conditions in greenhouse, better germination, more fun! • Easier to care for new seedlings in a greenhouse • Protected plants grow quicker • Select sturdiest plants, compost the rest • More flexibility if weather turns bad. Plants still grow! • Fit more crops into the season • Use time windows for quick cover crops • Save on seed costs Cons • Extra time caring for the starts • Transplant shock can delay harvest • More attention needed to watering new plants Photo Kathryn Simmons
  77. 77. Part 3 - Year Round Production Getting the best from transplanting  Roots need space. Open flats, plug trays, soil blocks, bare root plants.  Transplant shock is less for plants with good root systems - harvest starts sooner.  Good seed compost  Use a soil thermometer, not a calendar, to decide when to plant out tender plants. Don’t rush them!  Measure and mark the correct spacing: tractor equipment, rolling dibbles, row marker rake, measuring sticks and triangles, span of finger and thumb.  Ideal conditions for transplanting are mild windless afternoons and evenings just before (or during!) light steady rain.  Transplanting late in the day gives the plant a chance to recover during the cooler night hours - the rate of water loss is slower.  Shadecloth or rowcover can be used to reduce the drying effects of wind and sun.
  78. 78. Part 3 - Year Round Production Transplant age and size Vegetable Notes Ideal Age at Transplanting Cucumbers, melons, squash 2 true leaves max (maybe less) 3–4 weeks Watermelons (older is OK) 3–4 weeks Sweet Corn 3–4 weeks Tomatoes age is less important 4–8 weeks Lettuce 4–7 weeks Brassicas 5 true leaves is ideal 6–8 weeks spring/ 3–4 weeks summer Peppers & eggplant 4 or 5 true leaves, not flowering 6–8 weeks Onions (spring sown) & leeks 10–12 weeks Celery 10–12 weeks
  79. 79. Part 3 - Year Round Production Transplanting depth o Deeper planting reduces wind stress on young plants. o Plant to the first true leaves - increases yields of many crops. Often this is deeper than the plant was in the flat. o Some plants (tomatoes) grow extra roots along the buried stem. o But soil is cooler deeper down and this may not be a good thing for warm- weather plants. e.g. sweet potatoes and tomatoes o So - plant in a shallow horizontal or diagonal trench. Bury much of the stem in the soil, increasing the growth of extra roots and protecting the plant against wind damage, while keeping the roots in the warmer soil near the surface. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  80. 80. Part 3 - Year Round Production Water is Vital for Transplants!  Damp soil is important for transplanting. Water plants an hour before transplanting, and again after planting.  In very dry weather, water the field ahead of planting, either with overhead sprinklers or drip irrigation right on the planting row. Set out drip tape with emitters at the chosen crop spacing, water for 20 minutes before planting, and then plant directly into the wet spots. No other measuring is needed.  When setting out a large number of plants, water every 20-30 minutes, regardless of the number of plants set out.  Water the transplants the next day, on days 3, 7, 10 after planting, and then weekly after that. Photo credit Luke Stovall
  81. 81. Part 3 - Year Round Production Crop Spacing Yield is related to plant density.  Area per plant is the important bit, not particular row spacing.  There is a balance point at which the plant density provides the maximum total yield. At that density some plants will be too small to use. That’s taken into account when calculating yield.  Crop size (do customers want big carrots or small carrots?)  Disease control (humidity and molds)  Preferred layout (beds with equidistant plants, or rows).  Ease of cultivation (tractor equipment, hoes, horses) and irrigation  For large plants such as okra or eggplant, it makes more sense to plant a single row in a bed and have the plants close together in that row, in a “hedge.” Photo of Morris Heading Collards by Kathryn Simmons
  82. 82. Part 3 - Year Round Production Optimal Crop Spacing for Various GoalsCrop Row spacing In-row spacing Notes Beets 7" (18 cm) 4" (10 cm) For early harvest 12" (30 cm) 1" (2.5 cm) For max total yield (small). 2" (5 cm) for bigger beets Beans, fava 18" (45 cm) 4.5" (11 cm) For tall varieties. Beans, green 18" (45 cm) 2" (5 cm) 12" (30cm) × 3" (7.5 cm) gives the same area/plant Broccoli (Calabrese) 12" (30cm) 6" (15 cm) For equal amounts of heads and side shoots Cabbage 14" (35 cm) 14" (35 cm) For small heads 18" (45 cm) 18" (45 cm) For large heads Carrots 6" (15 cm) 4" (10 cm) For early crops, limiting competition 6" (15 cm) 1.5" (4 cm) For maincrop, medium size roots Celery 11" (28 cm) 11" (28 cm) For high yields and mutual blanching Cucumber (pickling) 20" (51 cm) 3" (8 cm) Leeks 12" (30 cm) 6" (15 cm) Max yield of hilled up leeks, average size Lettuce 9" (23 cm) 8" (20 cm) Early crops under cover 12" (30 cm) 12" (30 cm) Head lettuce 5" (13 cm) 1" (2.5 cm) Baby lettuce mix Onions 12" (30 cm) 1.5" (4 cm) For medium size bulbs 12" (30 cm) 0.5" (1 cm) For boiling, pickling, kebabs Parsnips 12" (30 cm) 6" (15 cm) For high yields of large roots 7.5" (19 cm) 3" (8 cm) For smaller roots Peas, shelling 18" (46 cm) 4.5" (11.5 cm) Can sow in double or triple bands, 4.5" (11.5 cm) apart Potatoes 30" (76 cm) 9-16" (23–41 cm) Depends on size of seed pieces; small pieces closer Sweet Corn 30-36" (76–90 cm) 8" (20 cm) Closer than 8" (20 cm) the plants shade each other. Tomatoes, bush types 19" (48 cm) 19" (48 cm) For early crops Watermelon 66" (168 cm) 12–24" (30–60 cm) For small varieties. 5–10 ft2 (0.5–1 m2) each 66" (168 cm) 30–84" (76–215 cm) For large varieties. 13–40 ft2 (1.2–3.7 m2) each
  83. 83. Part 3 - Year Round Production Efficient Production Strategies See Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt at Roxbury Farm www.roxburyfarm.com Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange  Advance planning helps maximize success when growing a wide range of different crops and doing many varying tasks each day.  Switching tasks takes time. Plant similar crops together to minimize this.  Plan good access for your truck or carts to haul away the bounty – include roads and paths.  Break long rows up into manageable chunks. Don’t ask anyone to haul a harvest crate more than 100ft. Keep container weight reasonable.  Have the tools ready before you start. Make sure there enough knives, scissors, crates, etc. for everyone  Set containers along the rows when you arrive. Put them near the path when full.
  84. 84. Part 3 - Year Round Production Make a Harvest Methods Manual Describe the crop when ready to harvest, the tools needed, the harvesting technique, how to pack in the field, washing and storing techniques, and how to pack in the barn. Train the crew on each crop, and have the harvest manual for reference. Include the standards for how many boxes, heads, etc. an average harvester can harvest in an hour. See the Roxbury Farm Harvest Manual at http://www.roxburyfarm.com/harvest-manual
  85. 85. Part 3 - Year Round Production Season Extension in Every Season Advantages and disadvantages in time and money  Growing earlier crops in spring: o Choose fast-maturing hardy varieties o Warm microclimates o Transplants o Rowcovers, low tunnels, Quick Hoops, high tunnels (= hoophouses)  Extending the growth of cool-weather crops into summer: o Learn how to germinate seeds in hot weather o Shadecloth o ProtekNet to keep bugs off o Intercropping allows a new crop to establish in the shade of the old one  Extending the survival of frost-tender crops beyond the first fall frosts o Rowcover o Minimizing frost damage  Growing cold-hardy winter vegetables
  86. 86. Part 3 - Year Round Production Crop Protection • Frost-tender crops can be kept alive and productive beyond the first frosts by using rowcover • Three basic levels of protection: – Rowcovers – Hoophouses (High Tunnels) – Heated greenhouses Photo Kathryn Simmons
  87. 87. Part 3 - Year Round Production Formula to determine last sowing date for 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.
  88. 88. Part 3 - Year Round Production Growing and Storing Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables Four Situations: • Cool weather spring/fall crops to harvest before very cold weather • Crops to keep alive as far into winter as possible • Hardy winter-harvest crops • Overwinter early spring-harvest crops For details, see my slide show Cold-Hardy Winter Vegetables on SlideShare.net
  89. 89. Part 3 - Year Round Production Sustainable Pest Management 4 steps of Integrated Pest Management: 1. prevention (reduce chance of problems) 2. avoidance, 3. monitoring (is action needed?) 4. suppression (using least toxic solution) Carrot pest damage photo by Jessie Doyle Zipper spider on tomato, photo by Wren Vile
  90. 90. Part 3 - Year Round Production 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 5 or 6 times rather than 7. • We also get more beans than previously, and they’re prettier.
  91. 91. Part 3 - Year Round Production Bean Beetle Parasite (Pediobius foveolatus) • These tiny wasps do not overwinter, so buy them each year unless you don’t get enough MBB to worry about. • Wasps are shipped to you as adults or as parasitized Mexican bean beetle larvae, called mummies. The adults emerge from the mummies, and the females lay eggs in your MBB larvae. • Timing is critical: order as soon as you see larvae. • Release 20 mummies = 400-500 wasps for every 1000 sq. ft. of beans (40 units/acre). 2013 prices $60/1000 adults, $30/20 mummies. Plus UPS Next Day Saver, about $20. • NJ Department of Agriculture Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory contact: Tom Dorsey at (609) 530-4192. See http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/benef icialinsect.html
  92. 92. Part 3 - Year Round Production Sustainable Disease Management Diseases need • a susceptible host, • the presence of a pathogen, • suitable environmental conditions. Plant pathogens can be • soil-borne, • foliar-borne, • seed-borne, • a combination of seed-borne with one of the others. But don’t blame the victim! Bad things can happen to good farmers! See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com for more details of these types. Search for Biointensive Integrated Pest Management
  93. 93. Part 3 - Year Round Production Bio-intensive Disease IPM 1. Cultural controls (preventative strategies) 2. Monitor crops for problems 3. When control measures are needed a) Physical controls b) Biological controls c) Microbial controls d) Botanical controls e) Inorganic controls (Also known as biorational disease controls) See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com for information on these types of controls. Search for Biointensive Integrated Pest Management Proteknet on hoops, keeps cucumber beetles out. Dubois Engineering
  94. 94. Part 3 - Year Round Production Sustainable Weed Management Weeds compete with crops for sunlight, water and nutrients, and can encourage fungal diseases by reducing airflow. Too-frequent cultivation to remove weeds can leave the soil more prone to erosion Each tilling or deep hoeing stirs air into the soil and speeds combustion of organic matter Most weeds respond well to nutrients, especially nitrogen. If you give corn too much nitrogen, even as compost, its productivity will max out and the weeds will use the remaining nutrients.
  95. 95. Part 3 - Year Round Production Sustainable weed management is about effectiveness • Remove weeds at their most vulnerable stage, or at the last minute before the seedpods explode —ignore weeds doing little damage. • Different types: annuals and perennials; stationary perennials (docks) and invasive perennials (Bermuda grass); cool-weather and warm-weather types; quick- maturing and slow-maturing types; “Big Bang” types (pigweed) versus “Dribblers” (galinsoga, shown here) • Photo Wren Vile
  96. 96. Part 3 - Year Round Production Methods of sustainable weed control 1. Preventing weeds from germinating Photo credit Luke Stovall 2. Reducing weed seeding 3. Reducing weed seed viability 4. Reducing the strength of perennial weed roots and rhizomes Photo Brittany Lewis See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com for more details. Search for Biointensive Integrated Pest Management
  97. 97. Part 3 - Year Round Production Harvest and maturity indicators For market you may need to harvest “fruit” crops a bit under-ripe • Size: Cow Horn okra at 5” (others shorter), green beans a bit thinner than a pencil, carrots at whatever size you like, asparagus at 7”, zucchini at 6”. • Color: Garden Peach tomatoes with a pink flush. The “ground spot” of a watermelon turns from greenish white to buttery yellow at maturity, and the curly tendrils where the stem meets the melon to turn brown and dry • 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 “bounce back” when lightly squeezed, tomatoes that are not hard, snap beans that have crisp pods with pliable tips. Harvest most muskmelons when the stem separates easily from the fruit (“Full slip”), skins of summer squash should be tender enough to pierce with a fingernail. • Skin toughness: storage potatoes when the skins don’t rub off, usually two weeks after the tops die, whether naturally or because of mowing. • Sound: watermelons sound more like your chest than your head or your belly when thumped. Try the “Scrunch Test” by pressing down firmly on the melon
  98. 98. Broccoli and Cauliflower Select blue-green broccoli heads and harvest them before the small, yellow flower buds open. Leave the small leaves on broccoli stems intact—they're very nutritious. Cabbages when the head is firm and the outer leaf on the head is curling back. To keep mature cabbage in the ground a bit longer, twist the heads to break off some of the feeder roots and limit water uptake, and they will be less likely to split. Part 3 - Year Round Production
  99. 99. Sweet Corn • Sweet corn will be ready to harvest about three weeks after the first silks appear. • Corn is ready when the ears fill to the end with kernels and the silks become brown and dry. • An opaque, milky juice will seep out of punctured kernels. Part 3 - Year Round Production
  100. 100. Determining when to harvest garlic • Garlic is ready to harvest when the sixth leaf down is starting to brown on 50% of the crop. See Ron Engeland's Growing Great Garlic. • Harvesting too early means smaller bulbs (harvesting way too early means an undifferentiated bulb and lots of wrappers that then shrivel up). • Harvesting too late means the bulbs may "shatter" or have an exploded look, and not store well. • Cut across hardneck garlic – airspaces around stem show maturity See my slide show Growing Great Garlic on SlideShare.net Part 3 - Year Round Production
  101. 101. Onions Wait until the tops fall over to harvest, then gently dig up the whole plant and dry. Leave the dry, papery outer skin on the onion. Photos by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Part 3 - Year Round Production
  102. 102. Resources - General  ATTRA attra.ncat.org Market Farming: A Start-up Guide, Plugs and Transplant Production for Organic Systems, Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for a Continuous Harvest, Intercropping Principles and Production Practices (mostly field crops, but the same principles apply to vegetable crops), Season Extension Techniques for Market Farmers, and many other great publications.  SARE sare.org -A searchable database of research findings. Available to download: Using Cover Crops Profitably and Crop Rotations on Organic Farms, A Planning Manual  extension.org/organic_production http://www. eOrganic.info. The organic agriculture community with eXtension. Publications, webinars, videos, trainings and support. An expanding, accessible source of reliable information.  Growing Small Farms: growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu Click Farmer Resources. Debbie Roos keeps this site up to the minute. Includes Farm Planning and Recordkeeping  The Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University has good information on compost-making, such as Composting on Organic Farms.  Compost recipe software is available from Cornell University www.cfe.cornell.edu/compost/science.html  Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, www.imok.ufl.edu/programs/vegetable- hort/research-extension-ozores/veg-transplant/ (Information on age of transplants, container size, biological control for pests, diseases, hardening off, plant size, planting depth and temperature. )  Cornell Extension website: vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/NewsArticles/All_BactSeed.htm Good detailed information on seed treatments.
  103. 103. Resources - slideshows  Many of my presentations are available at www.Slideshare.net . Search for Pam Dawling. You’ll find  Crop Rotations  Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables  Fall Vegetable Production  Succession Planting for Continuous Vegetable Harvests  Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production  Spring and Summer Hoophouses  Fall and Winter Hoophouses  Mark Cain Planning for Your CSA: www.Slideshare.net (search for Crop Planning)  Planning the Planting of Cover Crops and Cash Crops, Daniel Parson SSAWG 2012 www.slideshare.net/parsonproduce/southern-sawg  Cover Crop Innovation by Joel B Gruver www.Slideshare.net  Cover crops for vegetable cropping systems, Joel Gruver, www.slideshare.net/jbgruver/cover-crops-for-vegetable-crops  Finding the best fit: cover crops in organic farming systems. Joel Gruver, Some overlap with previous slideshow. www.slideshare.net/jbgruver/cover-crops-decatur  Farm Planning for a Full Market Season Tom Peterson, Appalachian Farmers Market Association and Appalachian Sustainable Development http://vabf.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/tom-peterson- farm-planning-for-a-full-market-season.pdf  Cultural Practices And Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers. Brad Burgefurd, Wide scope. www.slideshare.net/guest6e1a8d60/vegetable-cultural-practices-and-variety-selection
  104. 104. Resources - books  The Market Gardener, Jean-Martin Fortier, New Society Publishers  The Complete Know and Grow Vegetables, J K A Bleasdale, P J Salter et al.  Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers, Maynard and Hochmuth  The New Seed Starter’s Handbook, Nancy Bubel, Rodale Books  The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, Chelsea Green  Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market, Vern Grubinger,  The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman, Chelsea Green  Extending the Season: Six Strategies for Improving Cash Flow Year-Round on the Market Farm a free e- book for online subscribers to Growing for Market magazine  Sharing the Harvest, Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En  Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon  Grow a Sustainable Diet: Planning and Growing to Feed Ourselves and the Earth, Cindy Conner, New Society Publishers, (worksheet based). DVD/CD set Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan  Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, Daniel Brisebois and Frédéric Thériault (Canadian Organic Growers www.cog.ca)  Nature and Properties of Soils, fourteenth edition, Nyle Brady and Ray Weil  Garden Insects of North America, Whitney Cranshaw  Managing Weeds on your Farm: A Guide to Ecological Strategies. Charles Mohler and Antonio DiTommaso. SARE. In prep.(not yet published)  SARE Crop Rotations on Organic Farms, A Planning Manual, Charles Mohler and Sue Ellen Johnson, editors.
  105. 105. Resources - Planning  The Twin Oaks Harvest Calendar by Starting Date and by Crop are available as pdfs on my website sustainablemarketfarming.com/2013/11/07/growing-for-market-articles-2/  AgSquared online planning software: agsquared.com  COG-Pro record-keeping software for Certified Organic Farms: cog-pro.com  Free open-source database crop planning software code.google.com/p/cropplanning.  Mother Earth News interactive Vegetable Garden Planner, free for 30 days: motherearthnews.com/garden-planner.  Target Harvest Date Calculator: (Excel spreadsheet) johnnyseeds.com/t- InteractiveTools.aspx  Growing Small Farms: growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu click Farmer Resources, Farm Planning and Recordkeeping to download Joel Gruver’s spreadsheets.  Mark Cain www.drippingspringsgarden.com under the CSA tab, you can download their Harvest Schedule. Notebook-based system.
  106. 106. Resources – Detailed Planning  Tables of likely crop yields johnnyseeds.com/assets/information/vegetablecharts.pdf.  gardensofeden.org/04%20Crop%20Yield%20Verification.htm two charts, one of organic crops from The Owner-Built Homestead by Ken & Barbara Kern, one from California.  Determining Prices for CSA Share Boxes Iowa State U extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/pdf/c5-19.pdf  New England Vegetable Management Guide Crop Budgets http://nevegetable.org/cultural-practices/crop-budgets  Clif Slade’s 43560 Project: Virginia Association for Biological Farming newsletter vabf.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/clif-slade-43560-demo-project.pdf.  USDA annual vegetable consumption www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf  John Jeavons How to Grow More Vegetables has charts: Pounds Consumed per Year by the Average Person in the US and Average US Yield in Pounds per 100 Square Feet.  The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the UC Santa Cruz Crop Plan for a Hundred-Member CSA, for a range of 36 crops in its Unit 4.5 CSA Crop Planning: casfs.ucsc.edu/education/instructional-resources/downloadable-pdf-files2 or directly at 63.249.122.224/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/4.5_CSA_crop_plan.pdf  Jean-Paul Courtens , Roxbury Farm www.roxburyfarm.com. Information for Farmers tab, 100 Member CSA Plan, including a Weekly Share Plan, Greenhouse Schedule, and Field Planting and Seeding Schedule (with charts of possible crop yields). Courtens is also willing to send you their 1,100-member schedule.
  107. 107. Intensive Vegetable Production on a Small Scale ©Pam Dawling 2016 Twin Oaks Community, Central Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

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