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Year Round Vegetable
Production
©Pam Dawling 2017,
Twin Oaks Community, Virginia
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
SustainableMarketFarming.com
facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
I live and farm at Twin Oaks Community, in central Virginia.
We’re in zone 7, with an average last frost April 30 and average first frost
October 14. Our goal is to feed our intentional community of 100 people with a
wide variety of organic produce year round.
Part 3 – Season extension
Dealing with hot weather
Cold weather crop
protection
Cold-hardiness table
Pests
Diseases
Weeds
Part 4 – Harvest and Storage
Harvest and maturity
Storing vegetables
What’s in This Presentation
Part 5 - Resources
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
What are healthy soils?
Crop rotations
Cover crops
Compost making
Organic mulches
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Direct sowing
Transplanting
Crop spacing
Succession planting
Interplanting
Efficient production strategies
Part 1 – Feed the 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
See my slideshow
Feed the Soil
on SlideShare.net
Part 1 – 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
Part 1 – 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.
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations Feed the Soil
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
Part 1 – 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 roughly equal plots, each big enough for
any of the major crops
4. Group compatible crops together to fill out the other
plots
5. Determine a good sequence
6. Include cover crops, maybe include no-till crops
7. Try it for one year, then make improvements
Part 1 – 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)
Part 1 Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations steps 2 & 3
Make Maps
 Divide your land into
roughly equal plots,
each big enough to take
your largest crop
 Start filling your map
with your major
crops
remembering crop
rotation
and cover cropping
considerations.
Note the spaces for
squeezing in other
crops
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 4
Group Other Big Crops Together to
Fill a 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
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Crop Rotations step 5
Determine a Good Sequence
• We spread the 3
corn plots 3 or 4
years apart,
• and the 3
nightshade
plantings
likewise.
• We kept the
winter squash 3
years after the
watermelon.
Squash
Corn
Potatoes
Corn
Broccoli
Cabbage
Tomatoes
Water
melon
Corn
Potatoes
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
To decide the
sequence,
we looked at
timing and at
winter cover
crops
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Cover crops feed the soil
1. Identify your opportunities for cover crops
2. Clarify your cover crop goals
3. Shortlist suitable cover crops for each
situation
4. Make a decision from among the options
5. Record your decisions and results, and review
for possible changes next year.
Crimson
clover and
bumble
bee.
Bridget
Aleshire
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Cover Crop Opportunities
 Late winter or early spring, if the
area will not be planted with a
vegetable crop for 6 weeks (Oats)
 In spring, summer or fall, 4 weeks
or more between one vegetable
crop and a later one
 Undersowing at last cultivation
(oats and soybeans in corn shown
here.)
 In fall, after food crops, for 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.
 To replace a crop failure.
 Year-round cover crops/green
fallow. Photo Kathryn Simmons
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Cover Crop Goals and Options
• 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
• Grazing
• Bio-fumigation
• Killing nematodes
See my
slideshow
Cover Crops for
Vegetable Growers
on SlideShare.net
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Winterkilled Cover Crops - oats
 Winter-killed cover crops
smother weeds and grow
biomass to provide a dead
mulch to cover the soil and
hold it in place until early
spring. The dead material is
more easily incorporated in
spring than a green cover crop,
making the soil ready for
planting earlier.
 We sow oats in the areas
where we plan to plant the
early spring crops next year.
 Needs a crop rotation that
clears those patches before the
end of the previous August.
AFTER GROWING
early sweet corn,
spring broccoli,
cabbage and
spring-planted
potatoes
Sow OATS in
August or
early Sept
NEXT YEAR, PLANT
peas, cabbage,
broccoli, carrots,
March-planted
potatoes, spinach
and the first sweet
corn
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Leguminous Cover Crops
Include legumes in cover crop mixes whenever
possible, to add nitrogen to the soil.
For maximum N, mow and incorporate cover
crops when they start to flower. A good
legume stand can provide all the N the
following crop will need. We only spread
compost for our late crops if we had poor luck
with the legumes.
Crimson clover is our favorite clover for over-
wintering. We use it in almost half of our
winter cover crop mixes.
Red clover would also work, but grows less
biomass.
Cowpeas or soybeans are warm weather
legumes. Most cowpea varieties mature in 60-
90 days and will be killed by the first frost.
(Oats may provide temporary protection).
Austrian winter peas can be sown later than
clovers.
Crimson clover flower, Photo
Kathryn Simmons
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Over-winter crimson clover
in our rotation
sweet corn,
June-planted
potatoes,
watermelons
and sometimes
tomatoes and
peppers
Crimson Clover
sown 9/20-
10/15, with
wheat. Turned
under in late
April after
flowering
Later corn
plantings,
winter squash,
transplanted
watermelon,
tomatoes,
peppers, sweet
potatoes, June-
planted
potatoes, fall
brassicas
Vegetable
crops cleared
by end of
September/
mid October
Vegetable
crops planted
after late
April
Photo Crimson clover
Bridget Aleshire
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Austrian Winter Peas in our rotation
Latefinishingcrops
winter squash,
melons, sweet
potatoes,
tomatoes,
peppers,
middle sweet
corn, June-
planted
potatoes
Sow
Austrian
Winter Peas
Oct 1-Nov 7
With winter
wheat or rye
CropsafterMay1st
winter squash,
melons, sweet
potatoes,
tomatoes,
peppers,
middle sweet
corn, June-
planted
potatoes
Photo by Cindy Conner
Cover Crops for Fall
September
Before mid-September,
oats.
Any time in September:
winter rye, winter
wheat, winter barley,
hairy vetch, crimson
clover, red clover,
Austrian winter peas.
October
Before mid-October,
winter wheat with
crimson clover or red
clover.
After mid-October,
winter wheat or winter
rye with Austrian
winter peas
November
Before 11/8, winter
wheat or winter rye,
Austrian winter peas.
From 11/9 to 11/15 (a
month past our average
frost date) winter rye
alone
Only include legumes if there will be time in spring for them to flower
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Summer Cover Crops
 If we have a 4 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
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
No-till Cover
Crops
We plant our paste tomatoes into a
mowed cover crop of winter rye,
hairy vetch and Austrian winter peas.
This reduces inversions of the soil,
and the legumes (if plentiful) can
supply all the nitrogen the tomatoes
need. Tomatoes in hairy vetch
(without added N fertilizer, or
weeding) can out-yield plastic-and-
fertilizer plots by 25%, and out-yield
fertilized bare soil by 100%.
Rye and vetch is best sown here in
early to mid-September, creating
another restriction on which crops
the tomatoes could follow.
Winter rye and hairy vetch. Photo
Kathryn Simmons
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Compost Feeds the Soil
 Compost improves the soil organic matter, humus, and the soil structure.
 The effects of compost last longer than cover crops and crop residues, especially
in humid conditions where plant material breaks down rapidly.
 Compost adds beneficial bacteria and fungi to the soil, which can inoculate plants
against diseases (“induced systemic acquired resistance”). Plants produce
antibodies and other protective compounds before any infection occurs.
 Many farms make their own compost, using materials that could otherwise be a
waste disposal problem. Certified Organic Farms must follow Organic rules.
Part 1 – 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.
Part 1 – 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 (carbon:nitrogen) 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.
Part 1 – 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
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
When the Pile Starts to Cool, Turn it
• Because more oxygen or more water is needed.
• Turning remixes the material - all gets composted.
• Turning prevents the pile from overheating —
above 150°F (66°C), thermophilic bacteria can die
• During turning, add water if needed to keep the pile
damp but not dripping.
Large scale
compost-turning
machinery
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
When the Compost Stops Heating
 After the compost materials have all been consumed by bacteria
and the N is converted to nitrates, the pile cools to around 100°F
(37.7°C)
 More turning won’t reheat it
 The C is now resistant to further breakdown, and the N slowly
becomes available for crops
 Leave it to cure for about 30 days, allowing beneficial
microorganisms to move back in. It is then ready to be used.
Large-scale compost
screening equipment
Part 1 – 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.
Between 16:1 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.
 Some people worry about using too much compost and the levels of
phosphorus getting too high. On the other hand:
 Steve Moore, a veteran high tunnel grower, uses 12-27 gallons/100 sq
ft. (5-11 L/sq m)
 In his Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman recommends 20
gallons/100 sq ft or 15 tons/acre (8.6 l/m2) (8 L/sq m) on outdoor
raised beds, for each successive crop.
 For his hoophouses, he makes a plant/seaweed compost and applies
it at 41 gallons/100 sq ft. (17 L/sq m)
 At the Michigan State University student farm, compost is added
before every crop at 25 gallons/100 sq ft (10 L/sq m).
 Ben Hartman of The Lean Farm: When establishing new raised beds,
they cover the entire growing area with 8”-12” (20-30 cm) of
compost. They reshape once each year and replenish with 1”-2” (2.5-
5 cm) if the soil needs help. Their soil now has 10-12% OM.
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
How Much Compost?
Part 1 – Feed the Soil
Organic Mulches Feed the Soil
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
Part 2 – Year Round Production
o Starting Your Plants
o Direct sowing and transplanting
o Succession planting
o Interplanting
o Efficient Production Strategies
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Starting Your Plants Photo Kathryn Simmons
 Choose high-yielding
varieties suited to your
climate, budget,
certification and market
 Buy seeds or starts? Is what
you want available as
plants? Do you need
Organic? Is the price
worthwhile? Money vs
labor.
 Direct sowing or
transplanting? Do you have
the equipment to grow
transplants?
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Direct Seeding Pros and Cons
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
Part 2 - 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
Part 2 - 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
transplants
Photo Kathryn Simmons
Part 2 - 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 – crops
are ready for harvest 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.
Part 2 - 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
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Crop Spacing
Yield is related to plant density.
 Area per plant is the important bit, not
particular row spacing, or in-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.”
 See handout for chart of crop spacings
Photo of Morris Heading Collards by
Kathryn Simmons
Part 2 - 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"x 3" (30x7.5 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 m 2 ) each
66" (168 cm) 30–84" (76–215 cm) For large varieties. 13–40 ft2 (1.2–3.7 m 2 ) each
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Succession Crop Planting
For all the details, see my slideshow
Succession Planting for Continuous
Harvests on SlideShare.net
• 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 Kathryn Simmons
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Approaches to Succession Crop Planning
1. Rough plan: “every 2 weeks for
corn and beans, 3 weeks for
cucumbers, squash, edamame,
4 for carrots and cantaloupes”
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
Part 2 - Year Round Production
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; harvest start date along
the vertical (y) axis. Mark in all
your data.
3. Mark the first possible sowing
date and 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 equal
segments, according to how
often you want a new patch.
6. Determine the sowing dates
needed to match your harvest
start dates
For details of this method see
Succession Planting on SlideShare.net
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Year Round Lettuce
Photo Kathryn Simmons
• For outdoor lettuce
harvests from late April
to early December, we
transplant 120 lettuces
each week.
• We use rowcover in early
spring and late fall,
shadecloth in summer.
• We choose varieties
suited to the season.
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Year Round Lettuce
• From December to late April
we harvest from the
hoophouse.
• We transplant about 500
leaf lettuces from
September sowings.
• We harvest those by the
leaf.
• We also make four sowings
of baby lettuce mix to
harvest with scissors.
Photo Wren Vile
Part 2 - Year Round Production
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
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Winter hoophouse harvest dates
• November onwards: spinach, lettuce leaves, mizuna,
arugula, beet greens, tatsoi and brassica mix for
salad, radishes and scallions.
• From December: baby lettuce mix, Tokyo Bekana,
Maruba Santoh, chard, kale and turnips. Kale and
spinach grow whenever it is above 40°F (5°C).
• January till mid-March; the bigger greens, including
Senposai, pak choy, Chinese cabbage and Yukina
Savoy, lettuce heads.
• Yukina savoy. Credit Ethan Hirsh
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Growing Degree Days
 A measure of heat accumulation
 can indicate when it’s warm enough to plant tender crops,
 or when they might be ready to harvest.
 GDDs can also be used to plan dates for succession
sowings.
 GDDs reflect actual conditions, rather than simply the
calendar, a method which will not work well now climate
change has taken hold.
 For most purposes a base temperature of 50°F (10°C) is
used –roughly the temperature at which most plant growth
changes start to take place. Each day when the temperature
rises above the threshold, growing-degrees accumulate.
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Growing Degree Days
 Average the maximum and minimum temperatures for the
24 hour period, and subtract the base temperature. Add
each day’s figure to the total for the year to date. This is the
GDD figure.
 Wikipedia has a good explanation at
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing-degree_day
 http://farmprogress.com/mobile-apps has a free mobile
phone app!
 Using GDDs to schedule sweet corn plantings
https://extension.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=6618
 Using Heat Units to Schedule Vegetable Plantings, Predict
Harvest Dates and Manage Crops
http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/f11degreedays
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Interplanting
• Fast growing crops like lettuce,
radishes and greens can be planted
between or alongside slower-
growing crops to generate more
income and diversity
• Interplanting lettuce and tomatoes is
39% more efficient than growing
each crop individually.
(Statistic and photo thanks to Alison and Paul Wiediger)
• We have grown peas with spinach,
okra with cabbage
Planning
Step 9
Part 2 - Year Round Production
Efficient Production Strategies
See Jean-Paul Courtens and
Jody Bolluyt at Roxbury Farm
www.roxburyfarm.com
Lots of great help for growers
Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
 Plan ahead for success when growing a
wide range of different crops and doing
many different tasks each day.
 Plant similar crops together to
minimize time-consuming task-
switching.
 Plan roads and paths for your truck or
carts to haul away the bounty.
 Break long rows up into manageable
chunks. Don’t ask anyone to haul a
harvest crate more than 100ft.
 Get the tools ready before you start.
Make sure there enough knives,
scissors, crates, etc. for everyone
 Set containers along the rows when
you arrive. Keep container weight
reasonable. Put full ones near the path.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Season Extension in Every Season
Growing earlier crops in spring
Extending cool-weather crops into
summer
Extending the survival of frost-
tender crops beyond the first fall
frosts
Using spring and fall for carrots,
beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale,
spinach.
Growing cold-hardy winter
vegetables
See my slide shows
Hoophouse
in Spring and Summer,
Fall Vegetable Production,
Cold-Hardy Winter
Vegetables
on SlideShare.net
Part 3 – Season Extension
Pondering Season Extension
 Extend the season without overworking
yourself, your crew, or your soil.
 Find the balance point at which time,
money and energy put in are still
definitely worthwhile.
 It’s easier to get extra harvests for a
month or two in fall from mature plants,
than to get harvests a week earlier in the
spring.
 An extension of 2-3weeks takes only a
modest investment in rowcover or
shadecloth.
 A longer harvest season helps you retain
and satisfy customers.
 Provide year-round employment for your
crew - retain skilled workers. Tired but unbroken.
Photo Bridget Aleshire
Part 3 – Season Extension
Growing earlier crops in spring
o Choose fast-maturing hardy varieties
o Find warm microclimates
o Use transplants
o Use rowcover, low tunnels, Quick Hoops, high tunnels (=
hoophouses)
Lettuce
transplants in
early spring.
(Soil blocks)
Photo Pam
Dawling
Part 3 – Season Extension
Cold Weather Crop Protection
Four basic levels of protection:
1. Rowcover
2. Quick Hoops and Caterpillar
Tunnels
3. Hoophouses (High Tunnels)
4. Heated greenhouses
Rowcover
• Lightweight, easy to use, easy to
store.
• Hold down edges with bags of rocks
or sand, plastic jugs of water, or
metal or wooden stakes lying along
the edges.
• Use rowcover to keep frost-tender
crops alive and productive beyond
the first few fall frosts.
Photo Kathryn Simmons
Part 3 – Season Extension
Rowcover
 To protect against cold, you need thick
rowcover.
 Dupont Xavan 5131 (aka Typar). 1.25 oz/sq
yd spunbonded polypropylene; 75% light
transmission; about 6 F (3.3 C) degrees of
frost protection; can last for 6 years or more.
 Thinner types are to protect from insects -
can be doubled up for cold weather.
 Agribon 17 (or 19), 0.55 oz/sq yd spun-
bonded polypropylene; transmits 85% of
light; offers 4F (2.2C) degrees of frost
protection.
We think polypropylene rowcover lasts longer and is tougher than polyester (Reemay)
• Hoops keep
rowcover from
sticking to frozen
leaves and reduce
abrasion.
• 9- or 10-gauge wire.
• In winter we use
double wire hoops
Part 3 – Season Extension
Quick Hoops and Caterpillar Tunnels
Quickhoops
• Cover more than one bed, close to
the ground.
• Can be covered with rowcover topped
by hoophouse plastic for the winter.
• Or, once plants are established, if they
can withstand cold nights, they may
benefit more from clear plastic
instead of rowcover over hoops.
Photo Johnnys Seeds
Caterpillar tunnels
• Usually tall enough to walk in
• Sometimes narrower than
Quickhoops. 2 beds + 1 path
• Plastic or rowcover held down by
ropes at each hoop.
• Can be used for summer or winter.
• No sandbags.
Photo MOFGA
Part 3 – Season Extension
Hoophouses or High Tunnels
• We are amazed at how incredibly productive hoophouses are.
• Hoophouses use one or two layers of plastic
• Double-layer houses use a small electric blower to inflate the gap
• A double-layer house provides about 8F (4.5C) degrees of night-
time temperature difference
• Rowcovers can be used inside for extra cold protection
• Working in winter inside a hoophouse is much more pleasant than
dealing with frozen rowcover and hoops outdoors.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Heated Greenhouses
• Greenhouses are great places to start your own transplants –
especially with a heated area for germinating seedlings
• The cost of heating may not be worthwhile for growing crops to
maturity. Buy several hoophouses for the price of one greenhouse
and heating
• Heat is only one aspect of growing plants – daylength and sunlight
intensity are also important.
• Aphids and whiteflies can quickly become problems in heated
spaces.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Dealing with Hot Weather Challenges
 Choose appropriate crops and varieties. Read catalog
descriptions carefully. Look for flavor, productivity,
disease resistance and temperature tolerance.
 For winter crops sown in late summer, consider direct-
seeding rather than transplants. They can be more cold-
tolerant, probably because the taproot is not damaged.
 Plant seeds deeper than you would in spring, as the soil is
already warm and you don’t want seeds to dry out.
 In dry conditions sow in sunken furrows. Soak seeds.
 Use netting to keep bugs
off crops.
 Use shadecloth.
 Interplant new crops in the
shade of older ones
Part 3 – Season Extension
Sowing when Soils are Hot
1. Consult the tables in Nancy Bubel’s New Seed Starter’s
Handbook or Knott’s Vegetable Grower’s Handbook, on the
germination requirements for your crop, and the expected time
to emergence under your field conditions – and use a soil
thermometer.
2. If soil temperatures are too high for good germination, cool a
small part of the outdoors. For crops you normally direct seed,
consider cooling a small nursery bed for your seedlings and
transplanting later.
3. If outdoors is impossible, start seeds indoors:
– Put a plastic flat of lettuce in your refrigerator or a cool room.
– Use plug flats or soil blocks rather than open flats, to reduce
transplant shock.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Soaking Seeds
A help when temperatures are high and soils are dry.
Bigger seeds benefit from a longer soak.
Soak beans and peas overnight.
Smaller seeds may only need to soak for 1-2 hours.
Beet seeds easily drown! They suffocate from a shortage of
oxygen.
Small seeds that have been soaked tend to clump together -
drain off as much water as possible, mix them with a dry
material like uncooked corn grits, oatmeal or bran, or use coffee
grounds or sand.
To use soaked or sprouted seeds in a seeder, spread them out in
a tray for a while to dry the surfaces. Experiment on a small
scale ahead of a big planting, to make sure your seeder doesn’t
just turn the seeds to mush, or snap off any little sprouts.
Part 3 – Season Extension
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
Part 3 – Season Extension
Cool weather spring/fall crops
• beets, carrots,
• chard, spinach,
• lettuce, salad mix,
• Asian greens,
cauliflower,
• turnips, rutabagas,
• cabbage, broccoli,
• kale, collards, kohlrabi,
• radishes (large and
small)
• scallions
Spinach and peas. Credit Kathryn Simmons
Cool weather fall crops
With fall crops, even a difference of 2 days in sowing
dates can make a difference of 2-3 weeks in harvest
date, because plants grow slower as days get shorter
and cooler.
The “Days to maturity” listed in catalogs is usually for
spring conditions. Plants may mature faster in warm
fall soils or slower once the weather cools.
Danvers 126 carrots.
Credit Kathryn Simmons
Part 3 – Season Extension
Part 3 – Season Extension
Formula to Determine Last Sowing
Date for Frost-Tender Crops
Count back from your expected first
frost date, adding:
• the number of days from seeding
to harvest,
• the 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 - there
is often a spell of warmer weather
after the first frosts, and you can
effectively push back your first
frost date.)
Zephyr Summer Squash
CREDIT: Kathryn Simmons.
Cold-hardy Crops to Harvest in
Winter
• spinach
• kale
• collards
• cabbage
• leeks
• carrots
We grow our winter-harvest
crops in our raised bed
area, which is more
accessible in winter and
more suited to small
quantities.
Deadon cabbage. Credit Johnny’s Seeds
Part 3 – Season Extension
Choosing cold-hardy crops
Use the Winter-kill temperature chart of winter-
hardy vegetables for crops that will survive your
lowest temperatures, taking any crop protection
into account.
Add some wind protection, if you can.
Look for the hardiest varieties. At our Zone 7
farm, we overwinter Vates kale without rowcover,
but not Winterbor or Russian kales.
For details, see my slide show
Cold-Hardy Winter Vegetables
on SlideShare.net
Part 3 – Season Extension
Part 3 – Season Extension
Hoophouses for winter crops
• Rate of growth of cold-weather crops is much faster inside
• Crop quality, especially leafy greens, is superb.
• Plants can tolerate lower temperatures than outdoors; they
have the pleasant daytime conditions in which to recover.
Salad greens in a hoophouse can survive nights with
outdoor lows of 14°F (–10°C) without rowcover.
Photo Wren Vile
For details, see my
slide show
Hoophouse in Fall
and Winter
on SlideShare.net
Winter Hardiness Table –
Frosty Weather
35° to 25°F (2°C to -4°C)
Some starting numbers of killing temperatures outdoors.
In the hoophouse (7F warmer than outside) plants can survive 14F
colder than outside, without extra rowcover;
21F colder than outside with rowcover (1.25ozTypar/Xavan).
See the handout for variety names.
• 35°F (2°C): Basil.
• 32°F (0°C): Cucumbers, eggplant, melons, okra, peppers, tomatoes.
• 27°F (–3°C): Some cabbage, Sugarloaf chicory.
• 25°F (–4°C): Some cabbage, chervil, chicory roots for chicons and
hearts, Chinese Napa cabbage, dill, endive (hardier than lettuce,
Escarole more frost-hardy than Frisée), some fava beans (Windsor),
annual fennel, some Asian greens (Maruba Santoh, mizuna, most pak
choy, Tokyo Bekana), some onion scallions, radicchio.
Colder
from 22°F down to 15°F
• 22°F (–6°C): Arugula, (may survive colder than this),
large leaves of lettuce (protected hearts and small plants
will survive even colder temperatures), rhubarb.
• 20°F (–7°C): Some beets, some cabbages (outer leaves may be
damaged), celeriac, celtuce (stem lettuce), some head
lettuce, some mustards/Asian greens (Tendergreen, Tyfon
Holland greens), flat-leafed parsley, radishes, most turnips.
• 15°F (–9.5°C): Some beets, beet greens, some broccoli, some
cabbage, celery with rowcover, red chard, cilantro, endive,
some fava beans (Aquadulce Claudia), Russian kales, kohlrabi,
some lettuce, especially small and medium-sized plants, curly
parsley, rutabagas, broad leaf sorrel, turnip leaves, most
covered turnips, winter cress.
Colder still
down to 10°F
• 12°F (–11°C): Some beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
some cabbage, carrots, most collards, some fava beans, garlic
tops if large, most fall varieties of leeks, large tops of potato
onions, covered rutabagas, Senposai leaves (the core of the
plant may survive 10F), some turnips.
• 10°F (–12°C): Beets with rowcover, purple sprouting broccoli
for spring harvest, a few cabbages, chard (green chard is
hardier than multi-colored types), Belle Isle upland cress,
some endive, young stalks of bronze fennel, Blue Ridge kale,
Komatsuna, some leeks, some covered head lettuce, covered
Asian winter radish (including daikon), large leaves of savoyed
spinach (more hardy than flat leafed varieties), tatsoi, Yukina
Savoy.
Coldest
down to 0°F
• 5°F (–15°C): Garlic tops if still small, some kale, some leeks,
some bulb onions, potato onions and other multiplier onions,
smaller leaves of savoyed spinach and broad leaf sorrel, many
Even’ Star Ice Bred greens varieties are hardy down to 6°F
(-14°C), a few unprotected lettuces if small.
• 0°F (–18°C): Chives, some collards (Blue Max, Morris Heading,
Winner), corn salad (mâche), garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem
artichokes, Even’ Star Ice-Bred Smooth Leaf kale, a few leeks
(Alaska, Durabel), some bulb onions, some onion scallions
(Evergreen Winter Hardy White, White Lisbon), parsnips,
salad burnet, salsify, some spinach (Bloomsdale Savoy,
Olympia).
Unthinkably Cold
• -5°F (-19°C): Leaves of overwintering
varieties of cauliflower, Vates kale survives
although some leaves may be too damaged to use.
• -10°F (-23°C): Reputedly, Walla Walla onions sown
in late summer
• -30°F to -40°F (-34°C to -40°C): Narrow leaf sorrel,
Claytonia and some cabbage (January King?) are
said to be hardy in zone 3
• Use this table to decide what to grow and when to
harvest it.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Sustainable Pest Management
4 steps of Integrated Pest Management:
1. Prevention (plant flowers to attract beneficial insects)
2. Avoidance (insect netting, rowcover to keep pests off)
3. Monitoring (is action needed?)
4. Suppression (least toxic solution; parasites, predators)
Carrot pest damage photo by Jessie Doyle
Zipper spider on tomato, photo by Wren Vile
Part 3 – Season Extension
Protection from pests
For nursery seedbeds we use
rowcover or ProtekNet insect netting
on wire hoops. Overly thick rowcover
or rowcover resting directly on the
plants can make the seedlings more
likely to die of fungal diseases in hot
weather — good airflow is vital.
Photos Dubois Engineering (upper),
Bridget Aleshire (lower)
Part 3 – Season Extension
Biological Suppression of
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, not 7.
• We also get more beans than
previously, and they’re prettier.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Sustainable Disease Management
Diseases need
• Susceptible host,
• 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
Part 3 – Season Extension
Bio-intensive Disease IPM
1. Cultural controls
(prevention 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
as biorational disease controls)
See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com
for information on these types of
controls. Search for Biointensive
Integrated Pest Management
Diseased cucumber plant. There
are more resistant varieties.
Photo Kathryn Simmons
Weeds compete with crops for
sunlight, water and nutrients, and
can encourage fungal diseases by
reducing airflow.
Cultivating to remove weeds too
frequently can leave the bare soil
more prone to erosion
Each tilling or deep hoeing stirs air
into the soil and speeds up loss 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.
Part 3 – Season Extension
Sustainable Weed Management
Part 3 – Season Extension
Methods of sustainable weed control
1. Preventing weeds from
germinating – tarps, mulches
Photo Luke Stovall
2. Reducing weed seeding – timely
hoeing, tilling or flaming; stale seed-beds
3. Reducing weed seed viability – seeds
on surface.
4. Reducing the strength of perennial
weed roots and rhizomes – frequent
tilling or digging out.
Photo Brittany Lewis
See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com
for more details. Search for Biointensive
Integrated Pest Management
Part 3 – Season Extension
When to tackle weeds
• To be most effective, 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
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Harvest and Maturity Indicators
• Size: Cow Horn okra at 5” (others shorter), green beans a bit thinner
than a pencil, carrots at whatever size you like, 7” asparagus, 6” zucchini
• Color: Garden Peach tomatoes with a pink flush. The “ground spot” of a
watermelon turns from greenish white to buttery yellow at maturity;
the tendril where the stem meets the melon turns 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, snap beans that are crisp with pliable tips. Harvest most
muskmelons when the stem separates easily from the fruit (“Full slip”).
For market you may harvest “fruit” crops a bit under-ripe
• 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 like your chest not your head or your belly
when thumped. Try the “Scrunch Test” - press down firmly on the melon
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Winter Vegetable Storage
Winter Squash storage
• Meeting the different storage
requirements of various crops helps
maximize their season of availability
• Many crops may be stored without
electricity, perhaps in buildings that serve
other uses at the height of the growing
season.
• A publication from Washington State
University Extension, Storing Vegetables
and Fruits at Home, is a good introduction
to alternatives to refrigerated storage,
using pits, clamps and root cellars. There is
also good information in USDA Agriculture
Handbook 66.
• Some vegetables need to cure before
storage and the curing conditions are
different from those needed for storage.
Curing allows skins to harden and some of
the starches to convert to sugars.
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Four Sets of Storage Conditions
In my chart on the next slide, the Summary column indicates the
general conditions needed for each crop, and allocates each crop to
one of 4 groups. By providing storage spaces with these 4 types of
conditions, 25 crops can be stored.
A= Cold and Moist : 32°F–40°F (0°C–5°C), 80%–95% humidity —
refrigerator or winter root cellar conditions. Most roots, greens, leeks
B= Cool and Fairly Moist: 40°F–50°F (5°C–10°C), 85%–90% humidity —
root cellar. Potatoes. Below 40°F (5°C) starches convert to sugars,
giving the potatoes a bad flavor and causing them to blacken if fried.
C= Cool and Dry: 32°F–50°F (0°C–10°C), 60%–70% humidity — cooler
basements and barns. Garlic and onions
D= Warm and Dry to Fairly Moist: 50°F–60°F (10°C–15°C), 60%–70%
humidity — basements. Sweet potatoes and winter squash.
Table of
Storage
Conditions
See the
handout or
my book
Sustainable
Market
Farming, for
the
complete
chart
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
In-ground storage
 Depending on the severity of your winter temperatures, some cold-hardy
root crops (such as turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem
artichokes and horseradish) and also leeks can be left in place in the
ground, with about a foot (30 cm) of insulation (such as straw, dry leaves,
chopped corn stalks, or wood shavings) added after the soil temperature
drops to “refrigerator temperatures.”
 Hooped rowcovers or polyethylene low tunnels can keep the worst of the
weather off. There could be some losses to rodents, so experiment on a
small scale the first winter to see what works for you. We have too many
voles to do this with carrots or turnips on our farm, but horseradish
survives without protection, as do some winter-hardy leek varieties.
 Besides being used as a method for storage of hardy crops deep into
winter, this can be a useful method of season extension into early winter
for less hardy crops such as beets, celery and cabbage, which would not
survive all-winter storage this way. Access to crops stored in the ground is
limited in colder regions — plan to remove them all before the soil
becomes frozen, or else wait for a thaw.
Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Storage clamps (mounds)
Cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes,
salsify and winter radishes (and any root vegetables that can survive cold temperatures) can
be stored with no electricity use at all, by making temporary insulated outdoor storage
mounds (clamps).
• Mark out a circular or oval pad of soil, lay down some straw or other insulation, pile the
roots up in a rounded cone or ridge shape, and cover them with straw and then with soil,
making a drainage ditch round the pile. As a chimney for ventilation, leave a tuft of straw
poking out the center. Slap the soil in place to protect the straw and shed rainwater.
• For the backyarder, various roots can be mixed, or sections of the clamp can be for
different crops. Those growing on a large scale would probably want a separate clamp for
each crop. It is possible to open one end of a clamp or pit, remove some vegetables, then
reseal it, although it takes some care for it to be successful.
• There is a balance to be found between the thermal buffering of one large clamp and the
reduced risk of rot that numerous smaller clamps provide.
Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Pits and trenches
• To store in pits or trenches dig a hole in the ground first, lining it
with straw, lay in the vegetables, then cover with more straw and
soil. To deter rodents, it is possible to bury large bins such as (clean)
metal trash cans, layer the vegetables inside with straw, and cover
the lid with a mound of more insulation and soil. Trenches can have
sidewalls made with boards to extend the height.
• Another alternative is to bury insulated boxes in the ground inside a
dirt-floored shed or breezeway. A new life for discarded chest
freezers! Insulated boxes stored in unheated areas need six to eight
inches (15–20 cm) of insulation on the bottom, sides and top.
Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Root Cellars
• With a good in-ground root cellar, potatoes can be
stored for five to eight months.
• Potatoes are best stored in a moist, completely dark
cellar, at 40°F (5°C) to 50°F (10°C). Ventilate as
needed during times of cool temperatures, to keep
the cellar in the ideal range.
• Also for apples, cabbage, or root vegetables, but be
careful what you mix, because ethylene from the
apples, for example, will cause potatoes to sprout!
• Some people pack unwashed vegetables in boxes of
sand, wood ash, sawdust or wood chips. Perforated
plastic bags are a modern alternative.
• Whole pepper plants can be hung upside down in
the cellar to ripen, or simply to store.
• Headed greens like cabbage can also be hung upside
down, or be replanted side by side in tubs of soil.
• Celery and leeks can also be stored in the same way.
• See Nancy and Mike Bubel’s book Root Cellaring
Twin Oaks root cellar. Photo
McCune Porter
Part 4- Harvest and Storage
Ethylene
• Ethylene is associated with ripening, sprouting and rotting.
• Some crops produce ethylene in storage — apples, cantaloupes, ripening tomatoes
all produce higher than average amounts.
• Chilling, wounding and pathogen attack can all induce ethylene formation in
damaged crops.
• Some crops, including most cut greens, are not sensitive to ethylene and can be
stored in the same space as ethylene-producing crops.
• Other crops are very sensitive and will deteriorate in a high-ethylene environment.
Potatoes will sprout, ripe fruits will go over the top, carrots lose their sweetness
and become bitter. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
Resources - GeneralATTRA 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,
many 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, source of reliable information.
www.johnnyseeds.com. Growers’ Library, Winter growing guide
www.motherofahubbard.com Winter Vegetable Gardening
www.averagepersongardening.com info on winter gardening
Growing Small Farms: growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu click Farmer Resources. Click Farm Planning and
Recordkeeping to download Joel Gruver’s spreadsheets. Includes Farm Planning and Recordkeeping
Mark Cain www.drippingspringsgarden.com under the CSA tab, their Harvest Schedule. Notebook-based system.
Jean-Paul Courtens , Roxbury Farm www.roxburyfarm.com. Regenerative Farming Practices tab, 100 Member CSA
Plan, including a CSA Share List, Greenhouse Plan, Field Plan (with charts of possible crop yields).
Tables of likely crop yields johnnyseeds.com/assets/information/vegetablecharts.pdf
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 Unit 4.5 CSA Crop Planning:
casfs.ucsc.edu/documents/Teaching%20Direct%20Marketing/4.5_CSA_crop_plan.pdf
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University has good information on compost-
making, such as Composting on Organic Farms. cefs.ncsu.edu
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. )
Resources - Slideshows
 Many of my presentations are available at www.Slideshare.net . Search for Pam Dawling.
You’ll find
Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables, Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers, Crop Planning for
Sustainable Vegetable Production, Crop Rotations for Vegetables and Cover Crops, Diversify
your Vegetable Crops, Fall and Winter Hoophouse, Fall Vegetable Production, Feed the Soil,
Producing Asian Greens, Production of Late Fall, Winter and Early Spring Vegetable Crops,
Seed Growing, Spring and Summer Hoophouses, Storage Vegetables, Succession Planting for
Continuous Vegetable Harvests, Sustainable Farming Practices. Also garlic, sweet potatoes
and a few more.
 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 and Cover crops for vegetable cropping systems by Joel B 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
 Cultural Practices And Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers. Brad
Bergefurd, Wide scope. www.slideshare.net/guest6e1a8d60/vegetable-cultural-
practices-and-variety-selection
 Alison and Paul Wiediger : www.slideshare.net/aunaturelfarm/high-tunnel-1-why-grow-
in-high-tunnels, at least 11 more.
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
 Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook – Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture,
Andrew Mefferd, New Society Publishers
 Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market, Vern Grubinger,
http://host31.spidergraphics.com/nra/doc/fair%20use%20web%20pdfs/nraes-104_web.pdf NRAES
 The New Organic Grower and The Winter Harvest Handbook, 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
 Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon, New Society Publishers
 The Lean Farm, How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work
and The Lean Farm Guide Ben Hartman
 The Urban Farmer, Curtis Stone, New Society Publishers
 High-Yield Vegetable Gardening, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm, Storey Publishers
 Market Farming Success: The Business of Growing and Selling Local Food, Lynn Byczynski
 The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, Chelsea Green
 Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, Daniel Brisebois and Frédéric Thériault (www.cog.ca)
 Nature and Properties of Soils, fourteenth edition, Nyle Brady and Ray Weil
 Garden Insects of North America, Whitney Cranshaw
 SARE Crop Rotations on Organic Farms, A Planning Manual, Charles Mohler, Sue Ellen Johnson, editors
 John Jeavons How to Grow More Vegetables has charts: Pounds Consumed per Year by the Average Person in
the US & Average US Yield in Pounds per 100 Square Feet
Year Round Vegetable
Production
©Pam Dawling 2017,
Twin Oaks Community, Virginia
Author of Sustainable Market Farming
SustainableMarketFarming.com
facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

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Year round vegetable production dawling 2017 90 mins

  • 1. Year Round Vegetable Production ©Pam Dawling 2017, Twin Oaks Community, Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming
  • 2. I live and farm at Twin Oaks Community, in central Virginia. We’re in zone 7, with an average last frost April 30 and average first frost October 14. Our goal is to feed our intentional community of 100 people with a wide variety of organic produce year round.
  • 3. Part 3 – Season extension Dealing with hot weather Cold weather crop protection Cold-hardiness table Pests Diseases Weeds Part 4 – Harvest and Storage Harvest and maturity Storing vegetables What’s in This Presentation Part 5 - Resources Part 1 – Feed the Soil What are healthy soils? Crop rotations Cover crops Compost making Organic mulches Part 2 - Year Round Production Direct sowing Transplanting Crop spacing Succession planting Interplanting Efficient production strategies
  • 4. Part 1 – Feed the 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 See my slideshow Feed the Soil on SlideShare.net
  • 5. Part 1 – 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
  • 6. Part 1 – 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.
  • 7. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations Feed the Soil 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
  • 8. Part 1 – 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 roughly equal plots, each big enough for any of the major crops 4. Group compatible crops together to fill out the other plots 5. Determine a good sequence 6. Include cover crops, maybe include no-till crops 7. Try it for one year, then make improvements
  • 9. Part 1 – 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)
  • 10. Part 1 Feed the Soil Crop Rotations steps 2 & 3 Make Maps  Divide your land into roughly equal plots, each big enough to take your largest crop  Start filling your map with your major crops remembering crop rotation and cover cropping considerations. Note the spaces for squeezing in other crops
  • 11. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 4 Group Other Big Crops Together to Fill a 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
  • 12. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Crop Rotations step 5 Determine a Good Sequence • We spread the 3 corn plots 3 or 4 years apart, • and the 3 nightshade plantings likewise. • We kept the winter squash 3 years after the watermelon. Squash Corn Potatoes Corn Broccoli Cabbage Tomatoes Water melon Corn Potatoes
  • 13. 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 To decide the sequence, we looked at timing and at winter cover crops
  • 14.
  • 15. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Cover crops feed the soil 1. Identify your opportunities for cover crops 2. Clarify your cover crop goals 3. Shortlist suitable cover crops for each situation 4. Make a decision from among the options 5. Record your decisions and results, and review for possible changes next year. Crimson clover and bumble bee. Bridget Aleshire
  • 16. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Cover Crop Opportunities  Late winter or early spring, if the area will not be planted with a vegetable crop for 6 weeks (Oats)  In spring, summer or fall, 4 weeks or more between one vegetable crop and a later one  Undersowing at last cultivation (oats and soybeans in corn shown here.)  In fall, after food crops, for 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.  To replace a crop failure.  Year-round cover crops/green fallow. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 17. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Cover Crop Goals and Options • 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 • Grazing • Bio-fumigation • Killing nematodes See my slideshow Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers on SlideShare.net
  • 18. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Winterkilled Cover Crops - oats  Winter-killed cover crops smother weeds and grow biomass to provide a dead mulch to cover the soil and hold it in place until early spring. The dead material is more easily incorporated in spring than a green cover crop, making the soil ready for planting earlier.  We sow oats in the areas where we plan to plant the early spring crops next year.  Needs a crop rotation that clears those patches before the end of the previous August. AFTER GROWING early sweet corn, spring broccoli, cabbage and spring-planted potatoes Sow OATS in August or early Sept NEXT YEAR, PLANT peas, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, March-planted potatoes, spinach and the first sweet corn
  • 19. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Leguminous Cover Crops Include legumes in cover crop mixes whenever possible, to add nitrogen to the soil. For maximum N, mow and incorporate cover crops when they start to flower. A good legume stand can provide all the N the following crop will need. We only spread compost for our late crops if we had poor luck with the legumes. Crimson clover is our favorite clover for over- wintering. We use it in almost half of our winter cover crop mixes. Red clover would also work, but grows less biomass. Cowpeas or soybeans are warm weather legumes. Most cowpea varieties mature in 60- 90 days and will be killed by the first frost. (Oats may provide temporary protection). Austrian winter peas can be sown later than clovers. Crimson clover flower, Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 20. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Over-winter crimson clover in our rotation sweet corn, June-planted potatoes, watermelons and sometimes tomatoes and peppers Crimson Clover sown 9/20- 10/15, with wheat. Turned under in late April after flowering Later corn plantings, winter squash, transplanted watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, June- planted potatoes, fall brassicas Vegetable crops cleared by end of September/ mid October Vegetable crops planted after late April Photo Crimson clover Bridget Aleshire
  • 21. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Austrian Winter Peas in our rotation Latefinishingcrops winter squash, melons, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, middle sweet corn, June- planted potatoes Sow Austrian Winter Peas Oct 1-Nov 7 With winter wheat or rye CropsafterMay1st winter squash, melons, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, middle sweet corn, June- planted potatoes Photo by Cindy Conner
  • 22. Cover Crops for Fall September Before mid-September, oats. Any time in September: winter rye, winter wheat, winter barley, hairy vetch, crimson clover, red clover, Austrian winter peas. October Before mid-October, winter wheat with crimson clover or red clover. After mid-October, winter wheat or winter rye with Austrian winter peas November Before 11/8, winter wheat or winter rye, Austrian winter peas. From 11/9 to 11/15 (a month past our average frost date) winter rye alone Only include legumes if there will be time in spring for them to flower
  • 23. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Summer Cover Crops  If we have a 4 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
  • 24. Part 1 – Feed the Soil No-till Cover Crops We plant our paste tomatoes into a mowed cover crop of winter rye, hairy vetch and Austrian winter peas. This reduces inversions of the soil, and the legumes (if plentiful) can supply all the nitrogen the tomatoes need. Tomatoes in hairy vetch (without added N fertilizer, or weeding) can out-yield plastic-and- fertilizer plots by 25%, and out-yield fertilized bare soil by 100%. Rye and vetch is best sown here in early to mid-September, creating another restriction on which crops the tomatoes could follow. Winter rye and hairy vetch. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 25. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Compost Feeds the Soil  Compost improves the soil organic matter, humus, and the soil structure.  The effects of compost last longer than cover crops and crop residues, especially in humid conditions where plant material breaks down rapidly.  Compost adds beneficial bacteria and fungi to the soil, which can inoculate plants against diseases (“induced systemic acquired resistance”). Plants produce antibodies and other protective compounds before any infection occurs.  Many farms make their own compost, using materials that could otherwise be a waste disposal problem. Certified Organic Farms must follow Organic rules.
  • 26. Part 1 – 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.
  • 27. Part 1 – 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 (carbon:nitrogen) 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.
  • 28. Part 1 – 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
  • 29. Part 1 – Feed the Soil When the Pile Starts to Cool, Turn it • Because more oxygen or more water is needed. • Turning remixes the material - all gets composted. • Turning prevents the pile from overheating — above 150°F (66°C), thermophilic bacteria can die • During turning, add water if needed to keep the pile damp but not dripping. Large scale compost-turning machinery
  • 30. Part 1 – Feed the Soil When the Compost Stops Heating  After the compost materials have all been consumed by bacteria and the N is converted to nitrates, the pile cools to around 100°F (37.7°C)  More turning won’t reheat it  The C is now resistant to further breakdown, and the N slowly becomes available for crops  Leave it to cure for about 30 days, allowing beneficial microorganisms to move back in. It is then ready to be used. Large-scale compost screening equipment
  • 31. Part 1 – 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. Between 16:1 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.
  • 32.  Some people worry about using too much compost and the levels of phosphorus getting too high. On the other hand:  Steve Moore, a veteran high tunnel grower, uses 12-27 gallons/100 sq ft. (5-11 L/sq m)  In his Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman recommends 20 gallons/100 sq ft or 15 tons/acre (8.6 l/m2) (8 L/sq m) on outdoor raised beds, for each successive crop.  For his hoophouses, he makes a plant/seaweed compost and applies it at 41 gallons/100 sq ft. (17 L/sq m)  At the Michigan State University student farm, compost is added before every crop at 25 gallons/100 sq ft (10 L/sq m).  Ben Hartman of The Lean Farm: When establishing new raised beds, they cover the entire growing area with 8”-12” (20-30 cm) of compost. They reshape once each year and replenish with 1”-2” (2.5- 5 cm) if the soil needs help. Their soil now has 10-12% OM. Part 1 – Feed the Soil How Much Compost?
  • 33. Part 1 – Feed the Soil Organic Mulches Feed the Soil 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
  • 34. Part 2 – Year Round Production o Starting Your Plants o Direct sowing and transplanting o Succession planting o Interplanting o Efficient Production Strategies
  • 35. Part 2 - Year Round Production Starting Your Plants Photo Kathryn Simmons  Choose high-yielding varieties suited to your climate, budget, certification and market  Buy seeds or starts? Is what you want available as plants? Do you need Organic? Is the price worthwhile? Money vs labor.  Direct sowing or transplanting? Do you have the equipment to grow transplants?
  • 36. Part 2 - Year Round Production Direct Seeding Pros and Cons 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
  • 37. Part 2 - 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
  • 38. Part 2 - 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 transplants Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 39. Part 2 - 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 – crops are ready for harvest 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.
  • 40. Part 2 - 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
  • 41. Part 2 - Year Round Production Crop Spacing Yield is related to plant density.  Area per plant is the important bit, not particular row spacing, or in-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.”  See handout for chart of crop spacings Photo of Morris Heading Collards by Kathryn Simmons
  • 42. Part 2 - 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"x 3" (30x7.5 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 m 2 ) each 66" (168 cm) 30–84" (76–215 cm) For large varieties. 13–40 ft2 (1.2–3.7 m 2 ) each
  • 43. Part 2 - Year Round Production Succession Crop Planting For all the details, see my slideshow Succession Planting for Continuous Harvests on SlideShare.net • 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 Kathryn Simmons
  • 44. Part 2 - Year Round Production Approaches to Succession Crop Planning 1. Rough plan: “every 2 weeks for corn and beans, 3 weeks for cucumbers, squash, edamame, 4 for carrots and cantaloupes” 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
  • 45. Part 2 - Year Round Production 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; harvest start date along the vertical (y) axis. Mark in all your data. 3. Mark the first possible sowing date and 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 equal segments, according to how often you want a new patch. 6. Determine the sowing dates needed to match your harvest start dates For details of this method see Succession Planting on SlideShare.net
  • 46.
  • 47. Part 2 - Year Round Production Year Round Lettuce Photo Kathryn Simmons • For outdoor lettuce harvests from late April to early December, we transplant 120 lettuces each week. • We use rowcover in early spring and late fall, shadecloth in summer. • We choose varieties suited to the season.
  • 48. Part 2 - Year Round Production Year Round Lettuce • From December to late April we harvest from the hoophouse. • We transplant about 500 leaf lettuces from September sowings. • We harvest those by the leaf. • We also make four sowings of baby lettuce mix to harvest with scissors. Photo Wren Vile
  • 49. Part 2 - Year Round Production 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
  • 50.
  • 51. Part 2 - Year Round Production Winter hoophouse harvest dates • November onwards: spinach, lettuce leaves, mizuna, arugula, beet greens, tatsoi and brassica mix for salad, radishes and scallions. • From December: baby lettuce mix, Tokyo Bekana, Maruba Santoh, chard, kale and turnips. Kale and spinach grow whenever it is above 40°F (5°C). • January till mid-March; the bigger greens, including Senposai, pak choy, Chinese cabbage and Yukina Savoy, lettuce heads. • Yukina savoy. Credit Ethan Hirsh
  • 52. Part 2 - Year Round Production Growing Degree Days  A measure of heat accumulation  can indicate when it’s warm enough to plant tender crops,  or when they might be ready to harvest.  GDDs can also be used to plan dates for succession sowings.  GDDs reflect actual conditions, rather than simply the calendar, a method which will not work well now climate change has taken hold.  For most purposes a base temperature of 50°F (10°C) is used –roughly the temperature at which most plant growth changes start to take place. Each day when the temperature rises above the threshold, growing-degrees accumulate.
  • 53. Part 2 - Year Round Production Growing Degree Days  Average the maximum and minimum temperatures for the 24 hour period, and subtract the base temperature. Add each day’s figure to the total for the year to date. This is the GDD figure.  Wikipedia has a good explanation at www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing-degree_day  http://farmprogress.com/mobile-apps has a free mobile phone app!  Using GDDs to schedule sweet corn plantings https://extension.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=6618  Using Heat Units to Schedule Vegetable Plantings, Predict Harvest Dates and Manage Crops http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/f11degreedays
  • 54. Part 2 - Year Round Production Interplanting • Fast growing crops like lettuce, radishes and greens can be planted between or alongside slower- growing crops to generate more income and diversity • Interplanting lettuce and tomatoes is 39% more efficient than growing each crop individually. (Statistic and photo thanks to Alison and Paul Wiediger) • We have grown peas with spinach, okra with cabbage Planning Step 9
  • 55. Part 2 - Year Round Production Efficient Production Strategies See Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt at Roxbury Farm www.roxburyfarm.com Lots of great help for growers Photo Southern Exposure Seed Exchange  Plan ahead for success when growing a wide range of different crops and doing many different tasks each day.  Plant similar crops together to minimize time-consuming task- switching.  Plan roads and paths for your truck or carts to haul away the bounty.  Break long rows up into manageable chunks. Don’t ask anyone to haul a harvest crate more than 100ft.  Get the tools ready before you start. Make sure there enough knives, scissors, crates, etc. for everyone  Set containers along the rows when you arrive. Keep container weight reasonable. Put full ones near the path.
  • 56. Part 3 – Season Extension Season Extension in Every Season Growing earlier crops in spring Extending cool-weather crops into summer Extending the survival of frost- tender crops beyond the first fall frosts Using spring and fall for carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach. Growing cold-hardy winter vegetables See my slide shows Hoophouse in Spring and Summer, Fall Vegetable Production, Cold-Hardy Winter Vegetables on SlideShare.net
  • 57. Part 3 – Season Extension Pondering Season Extension  Extend the season without overworking yourself, your crew, or your soil.  Find the balance point at which time, money and energy put in are still definitely worthwhile.  It’s easier to get extra harvests for a month or two in fall from mature plants, than to get harvests a week earlier in the spring.  An extension of 2-3weeks takes only a modest investment in rowcover or shadecloth.  A longer harvest season helps you retain and satisfy customers.  Provide year-round employment for your crew - retain skilled workers. Tired but unbroken. Photo Bridget Aleshire
  • 58. Part 3 – Season Extension Growing earlier crops in spring o Choose fast-maturing hardy varieties o Find warm microclimates o Use transplants o Use rowcover, low tunnels, Quick Hoops, high tunnels (= hoophouses) Lettuce transplants in early spring. (Soil blocks) Photo Pam Dawling
  • 59. Part 3 – Season Extension Cold Weather Crop Protection Four basic levels of protection: 1. Rowcover 2. Quick Hoops and Caterpillar Tunnels 3. Hoophouses (High Tunnels) 4. Heated greenhouses Rowcover • Lightweight, easy to use, easy to store. • Hold down edges with bags of rocks or sand, plastic jugs of water, or metal or wooden stakes lying along the edges. • Use rowcover to keep frost-tender crops alive and productive beyond the first few fall frosts. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 60. Part 3 – Season Extension Rowcover  To protect against cold, you need thick rowcover.  Dupont Xavan 5131 (aka Typar). 1.25 oz/sq yd spunbonded polypropylene; 75% light transmission; about 6 F (3.3 C) degrees of frost protection; can last for 6 years or more.  Thinner types are to protect from insects - can be doubled up for cold weather.  Agribon 17 (or 19), 0.55 oz/sq yd spun- bonded polypropylene; transmits 85% of light; offers 4F (2.2C) degrees of frost protection. We think polypropylene rowcover lasts longer and is tougher than polyester (Reemay) • Hoops keep rowcover from sticking to frozen leaves and reduce abrasion. • 9- or 10-gauge wire. • In winter we use double wire hoops
  • 61. Part 3 – Season Extension Quick Hoops and Caterpillar Tunnels Quickhoops • Cover more than one bed, close to the ground. • Can be covered with rowcover topped by hoophouse plastic for the winter. • Or, once plants are established, if they can withstand cold nights, they may benefit more from clear plastic instead of rowcover over hoops. Photo Johnnys Seeds Caterpillar tunnels • Usually tall enough to walk in • Sometimes narrower than Quickhoops. 2 beds + 1 path • Plastic or rowcover held down by ropes at each hoop. • Can be used for summer or winter. • No sandbags. Photo MOFGA
  • 62. Part 3 – Season Extension Hoophouses or High Tunnels • We are amazed at how incredibly productive hoophouses are. • Hoophouses use one or two layers of plastic • Double-layer houses use a small electric blower to inflate the gap • A double-layer house provides about 8F (4.5C) degrees of night- time temperature difference • Rowcovers can be used inside for extra cold protection • Working in winter inside a hoophouse is much more pleasant than dealing with frozen rowcover and hoops outdoors.
  • 63. Part 3 – Season Extension Heated Greenhouses • Greenhouses are great places to start your own transplants – especially with a heated area for germinating seedlings • The cost of heating may not be worthwhile for growing crops to maturity. Buy several hoophouses for the price of one greenhouse and heating • Heat is only one aspect of growing plants – daylength and sunlight intensity are also important. • Aphids and whiteflies can quickly become problems in heated spaces.
  • 64. Part 3 – Season Extension Dealing with Hot Weather Challenges  Choose appropriate crops and varieties. Read catalog descriptions carefully. Look for flavor, productivity, disease resistance and temperature tolerance.  For winter crops sown in late summer, consider direct- seeding rather than transplants. They can be more cold- tolerant, probably because the taproot is not damaged.  Plant seeds deeper than you would in spring, as the soil is already warm and you don’t want seeds to dry out.  In dry conditions sow in sunken furrows. Soak seeds.  Use netting to keep bugs off crops.  Use shadecloth.  Interplant new crops in the shade of older ones
  • 65. Part 3 – Season Extension Sowing when Soils are Hot 1. Consult the tables in Nancy Bubel’s New Seed Starter’s Handbook or Knott’s Vegetable Grower’s Handbook, on the germination requirements for your crop, and the expected time to emergence under your field conditions – and use a soil thermometer. 2. If soil temperatures are too high for good germination, cool a small part of the outdoors. For crops you normally direct seed, consider cooling a small nursery bed for your seedlings and transplanting later. 3. If outdoors is impossible, start seeds indoors: – Put a plastic flat of lettuce in your refrigerator or a cool room. – Use plug flats or soil blocks rather than open flats, to reduce transplant shock.
  • 66. Part 3 – Season Extension Soaking Seeds A help when temperatures are high and soils are dry. Bigger seeds benefit from a longer soak. Soak beans and peas overnight. Smaller seeds may only need to soak for 1-2 hours. Beet seeds easily drown! They suffocate from a shortage of oxygen. Small seeds that have been soaked tend to clump together - drain off as much water as possible, mix them with a dry material like uncooked corn grits, oatmeal or bran, or use coffee grounds or sand. To use soaked or sprouted seeds in a seeder, spread them out in a tray for a while to dry the surfaces. Experiment on a small scale ahead of a big planting, to make sure your seeder doesn’t just turn the seeds to mush, or snap off any little sprouts.
  • 67. Part 3 – Season Extension 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
  • 68. Part 3 – Season Extension Cool weather spring/fall crops • beets, carrots, • chard, spinach, • lettuce, salad mix, • Asian greens, cauliflower, • turnips, rutabagas, • cabbage, broccoli, • kale, collards, kohlrabi, • radishes (large and small) • scallions Spinach and peas. Credit Kathryn Simmons
  • 69. Cool weather fall crops With fall crops, even a difference of 2 days in sowing dates can make a difference of 2-3 weeks in harvest date, because plants grow slower as days get shorter and cooler. The “Days to maturity” listed in catalogs is usually for spring conditions. Plants may mature faster in warm fall soils or slower once the weather cools. Danvers 126 carrots. Credit Kathryn Simmons Part 3 – Season Extension
  • 70. Part 3 – Season Extension Formula to Determine Last Sowing Date for Frost-Tender Crops Count back from your expected first frost date, adding: • the number of days from seeding to harvest, • the 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 - there is often a spell of warmer weather after the first frosts, and you can effectively push back your first frost date.) Zephyr Summer Squash CREDIT: Kathryn Simmons.
  • 71. Cold-hardy Crops to Harvest in Winter • spinach • kale • collards • cabbage • leeks • carrots We grow our winter-harvest crops in our raised bed area, which is more accessible in winter and more suited to small quantities. Deadon cabbage. Credit Johnny’s Seeds Part 3 – Season Extension
  • 72. Choosing cold-hardy crops Use the Winter-kill temperature chart of winter- hardy vegetables for crops that will survive your lowest temperatures, taking any crop protection into account. Add some wind protection, if you can. Look for the hardiest varieties. At our Zone 7 farm, we overwinter Vates kale without rowcover, but not Winterbor or Russian kales. For details, see my slide show Cold-Hardy Winter Vegetables on SlideShare.net Part 3 – Season Extension
  • 73. Part 3 – Season Extension Hoophouses for winter crops • Rate of growth of cold-weather crops is much faster inside • Crop quality, especially leafy greens, is superb. • Plants can tolerate lower temperatures than outdoors; they have the pleasant daytime conditions in which to recover. Salad greens in a hoophouse can survive nights with outdoor lows of 14°F (–10°C) without rowcover. Photo Wren Vile For details, see my slide show Hoophouse in Fall and Winter on SlideShare.net
  • 74. Winter Hardiness Table – Frosty Weather 35° to 25°F (2°C to -4°C) Some starting numbers of killing temperatures outdoors. In the hoophouse (7F warmer than outside) plants can survive 14F colder than outside, without extra rowcover; 21F colder than outside with rowcover (1.25ozTypar/Xavan). See the handout for variety names. • 35°F (2°C): Basil. • 32°F (0°C): Cucumbers, eggplant, melons, okra, peppers, tomatoes. • 27°F (–3°C): Some cabbage, Sugarloaf chicory. • 25°F (–4°C): Some cabbage, chervil, chicory roots for chicons and hearts, Chinese Napa cabbage, dill, endive (hardier than lettuce, Escarole more frost-hardy than Frisée), some fava beans (Windsor), annual fennel, some Asian greens (Maruba Santoh, mizuna, most pak choy, Tokyo Bekana), some onion scallions, radicchio.
  • 75. Colder from 22°F down to 15°F • 22°F (–6°C): Arugula, (may survive colder than this), large leaves of lettuce (protected hearts and small plants will survive even colder temperatures), rhubarb. • 20°F (–7°C): Some beets, some cabbages (outer leaves may be damaged), celeriac, celtuce (stem lettuce), some head lettuce, some mustards/Asian greens (Tendergreen, Tyfon Holland greens), flat-leafed parsley, radishes, most turnips. • 15°F (–9.5°C): Some beets, beet greens, some broccoli, some cabbage, celery with rowcover, red chard, cilantro, endive, some fava beans (Aquadulce Claudia), Russian kales, kohlrabi, some lettuce, especially small and medium-sized plants, curly parsley, rutabagas, broad leaf sorrel, turnip leaves, most covered turnips, winter cress.
  • 76. Colder still down to 10°F • 12°F (–11°C): Some beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, some cabbage, carrots, most collards, some fava beans, garlic tops if large, most fall varieties of leeks, large tops of potato onions, covered rutabagas, Senposai leaves (the core of the plant may survive 10F), some turnips. • 10°F (–12°C): Beets with rowcover, purple sprouting broccoli for spring harvest, a few cabbages, chard (green chard is hardier than multi-colored types), Belle Isle upland cress, some endive, young stalks of bronze fennel, Blue Ridge kale, Komatsuna, some leeks, some covered head lettuce, covered Asian winter radish (including daikon), large leaves of savoyed spinach (more hardy than flat leafed varieties), tatsoi, Yukina Savoy.
  • 77. Coldest down to 0°F • 5°F (–15°C): Garlic tops if still small, some kale, some leeks, some bulb onions, potato onions and other multiplier onions, smaller leaves of savoyed spinach and broad leaf sorrel, many Even’ Star Ice Bred greens varieties are hardy down to 6°F (-14°C), a few unprotected lettuces if small. • 0°F (–18°C): Chives, some collards (Blue Max, Morris Heading, Winner), corn salad (mâche), garlic, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, Even’ Star Ice-Bred Smooth Leaf kale, a few leeks (Alaska, Durabel), some bulb onions, some onion scallions (Evergreen Winter Hardy White, White Lisbon), parsnips, salad burnet, salsify, some spinach (Bloomsdale Savoy, Olympia).
  • 78. Unthinkably Cold • -5°F (-19°C): Leaves of overwintering varieties of cauliflower, Vates kale survives although some leaves may be too damaged to use. • -10°F (-23°C): Reputedly, Walla Walla onions sown in late summer • -30°F to -40°F (-34°C to -40°C): Narrow leaf sorrel, Claytonia and some cabbage (January King?) are said to be hardy in zone 3 • Use this table to decide what to grow and when to harvest it.
  • 79. Part 3 – Season Extension Sustainable Pest Management 4 steps of Integrated Pest Management: 1. Prevention (plant flowers to attract beneficial insects) 2. Avoidance (insect netting, rowcover to keep pests off) 3. Monitoring (is action needed?) 4. Suppression (least toxic solution; parasites, predators) Carrot pest damage photo by Jessie Doyle Zipper spider on tomato, photo by Wren Vile
  • 80. Part 3 – Season Extension Protection from pests For nursery seedbeds we use rowcover or ProtekNet insect netting on wire hoops. Overly thick rowcover or rowcover resting directly on the plants can make the seedlings more likely to die of fungal diseases in hot weather — good airflow is vital. Photos Dubois Engineering (upper), Bridget Aleshire (lower)
  • 81. Part 3 – Season Extension Biological Suppression of 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, not 7. • We also get more beans than previously, and they’re prettier.
  • 82. Part 3 – Season Extension Sustainable Disease Management Diseases need • Susceptible host, • 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
  • 83. Part 3 – Season Extension Bio-intensive Disease IPM 1. Cultural controls (prevention 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 as biorational disease controls) See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com for information on these types of controls. Search for Biointensive Integrated Pest Management Diseased cucumber plant. There are more resistant varieties. Photo Kathryn Simmons
  • 84. Weeds compete with crops for sunlight, water and nutrients, and can encourage fungal diseases by reducing airflow. Cultivating to remove weeds too frequently can leave the bare soil more prone to erosion Each tilling or deep hoeing stirs air into the soil and speeds up loss 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. Part 3 – Season Extension Sustainable Weed Management
  • 85. Part 3 – Season Extension Methods of sustainable weed control 1. Preventing weeds from germinating – tarps, mulches Photo Luke Stovall 2. Reducing weed seeding – timely hoeing, tilling or flaming; stale seed-beds 3. Reducing weed seed viability – seeds on surface. 4. Reducing the strength of perennial weed roots and rhizomes – frequent tilling or digging out. Photo Brittany Lewis See www.sustainablemarketfarming.com for more details. Search for Biointensive Integrated Pest Management
  • 86. Part 3 – Season Extension When to tackle weeds • To be most effective, 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
  • 87. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Harvest and Maturity Indicators • Size: Cow Horn okra at 5” (others shorter), green beans a bit thinner than a pencil, carrots at whatever size you like, 7” asparagus, 6” zucchini • Color: Garden Peach tomatoes with a pink flush. The “ground spot” of a watermelon turns from greenish white to buttery yellow at maturity; the tendril where the stem meets the melon turns 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, snap beans that are crisp with pliable tips. Harvest most muskmelons when the stem separates easily from the fruit (“Full slip”). For market you may harvest “fruit” crops a bit under-ripe • 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 like your chest not your head or your belly when thumped. Try the “Scrunch Test” - press down firmly on the melon
  • 88. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Winter Vegetable Storage Winter Squash storage • Meeting the different storage requirements of various crops helps maximize their season of availability • Many crops may be stored without electricity, perhaps in buildings that serve other uses at the height of the growing season. • A publication from Washington State University Extension, Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home, is a good introduction to alternatives to refrigerated storage, using pits, clamps and root cellars. There is also good information in USDA Agriculture Handbook 66. • Some vegetables need to cure before storage and the curing conditions are different from those needed for storage. Curing allows skins to harden and some of the starches to convert to sugars.
  • 89. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Four Sets of Storage Conditions In my chart on the next slide, the Summary column indicates the general conditions needed for each crop, and allocates each crop to one of 4 groups. By providing storage spaces with these 4 types of conditions, 25 crops can be stored. A= Cold and Moist : 32°F–40°F (0°C–5°C), 80%–95% humidity — refrigerator or winter root cellar conditions. Most roots, greens, leeks B= Cool and Fairly Moist: 40°F–50°F (5°C–10°C), 85%–90% humidity — root cellar. Potatoes. Below 40°F (5°C) starches convert to sugars, giving the potatoes a bad flavor and causing them to blacken if fried. C= Cool and Dry: 32°F–50°F (0°C–10°C), 60%–70% humidity — cooler basements and barns. Garlic and onions D= Warm and Dry to Fairly Moist: 50°F–60°F (10°C–15°C), 60%–70% humidity — basements. Sweet potatoes and winter squash.
  • 90. Table of Storage Conditions See the handout or my book Sustainable Market Farming, for the complete chart
  • 91. Part 4- Harvest and Storage In-ground storage  Depending on the severity of your winter temperatures, some cold-hardy root crops (such as turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and horseradish) and also leeks can be left in place in the ground, with about a foot (30 cm) of insulation (such as straw, dry leaves, chopped corn stalks, or wood shavings) added after the soil temperature drops to “refrigerator temperatures.”  Hooped rowcovers or polyethylene low tunnels can keep the worst of the weather off. There could be some losses to rodents, so experiment on a small scale the first winter to see what works for you. We have too many voles to do this with carrots or turnips on our farm, but horseradish survives without protection, as do some winter-hardy leek varieties.  Besides being used as a method for storage of hardy crops deep into winter, this can be a useful method of season extension into early winter for less hardy crops such as beets, celery and cabbage, which would not survive all-winter storage this way. Access to crops stored in the ground is limited in colder regions — plan to remove them all before the soil becomes frozen, or else wait for a thaw. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  • 92. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Storage clamps (mounds) Cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, salsify and winter radishes (and any root vegetables that can survive cold temperatures) can be stored with no electricity use at all, by making temporary insulated outdoor storage mounds (clamps). • Mark out a circular or oval pad of soil, lay down some straw or other insulation, pile the roots up in a rounded cone or ridge shape, and cover them with straw and then with soil, making a drainage ditch round the pile. As a chimney for ventilation, leave a tuft of straw poking out the center. Slap the soil in place to protect the straw and shed rainwater. • For the backyarder, various roots can be mixed, or sections of the clamp can be for different crops. Those growing on a large scale would probably want a separate clamp for each crop. It is possible to open one end of a clamp or pit, remove some vegetables, then reseal it, although it takes some care for it to be successful. • There is a balance to be found between the thermal buffering of one large clamp and the reduced risk of rot that numerous smaller clamps provide. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  • 93. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Pits and trenches • To store in pits or trenches dig a hole in the ground first, lining it with straw, lay in the vegetables, then cover with more straw and soil. To deter rodents, it is possible to bury large bins such as (clean) metal trash cans, layer the vegetables inside with straw, and cover the lid with a mound of more insulation and soil. Trenches can have sidewalls made with boards to extend the height. • Another alternative is to bury insulated boxes in the ground inside a dirt-floored shed or breezeway. A new life for discarded chest freezers! Insulated boxes stored in unheated areas need six to eight inches (15–20 cm) of insulation on the bottom, sides and top. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  • 94. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Root Cellars • With a good in-ground root cellar, potatoes can be stored for five to eight months. • Potatoes are best stored in a moist, completely dark cellar, at 40°F (5°C) to 50°F (10°C). Ventilate as needed during times of cool temperatures, to keep the cellar in the ideal range. • Also for apples, cabbage, or root vegetables, but be careful what you mix, because ethylene from the apples, for example, will cause potatoes to sprout! • Some people pack unwashed vegetables in boxes of sand, wood ash, sawdust or wood chips. Perforated plastic bags are a modern alternative. • Whole pepper plants can be hung upside down in the cellar to ripen, or simply to store. • Headed greens like cabbage can also be hung upside down, or be replanted side by side in tubs of soil. • Celery and leeks can also be stored in the same way. • See Nancy and Mike Bubel’s book Root Cellaring Twin Oaks root cellar. Photo McCune Porter
  • 95. Part 4- Harvest and Storage Ethylene • Ethylene is associated with ripening, sprouting and rotting. • Some crops produce ethylene in storage — apples, cantaloupes, ripening tomatoes all produce higher than average amounts. • Chilling, wounding and pathogen attack can all induce ethylene formation in damaged crops. • Some crops, including most cut greens, are not sensitive to ethylene and can be stored in the same space as ethylene-producing crops. • Other crops are very sensitive and will deteriorate in a high-ethylene environment. Potatoes will sprout, ripe fruits will go over the top, carrots lose their sweetness and become bitter. Drawing credit WSU Storing Vegetables and Fruits at Home
  • 96. Resources - GeneralATTRA 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, many 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, source of reliable information. www.johnnyseeds.com. Growers’ Library, Winter growing guide www.motherofahubbard.com Winter Vegetable Gardening www.averagepersongardening.com info on winter gardening Growing Small Farms: growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu click Farmer Resources. Click Farm Planning and Recordkeeping to download Joel Gruver’s spreadsheets. Includes Farm Planning and Recordkeeping Mark Cain www.drippingspringsgarden.com under the CSA tab, their Harvest Schedule. Notebook-based system. Jean-Paul Courtens , Roxbury Farm www.roxburyfarm.com. Regenerative Farming Practices tab, 100 Member CSA Plan, including a CSA Share List, Greenhouse Plan, Field Plan (with charts of possible crop yields). Tables of likely crop yields johnnyseeds.com/assets/information/vegetablecharts.pdf 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 Unit 4.5 CSA Crop Planning: casfs.ucsc.edu/documents/Teaching%20Direct%20Marketing/4.5_CSA_crop_plan.pdf The Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University has good information on compost- making, such as Composting on Organic Farms. cefs.ncsu.edu 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. )
  • 97. Resources - Slideshows  Many of my presentations are available at www.Slideshare.net . Search for Pam Dawling. You’ll find Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables, Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers, Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production, Crop Rotations for Vegetables and Cover Crops, Diversify your Vegetable Crops, Fall and Winter Hoophouse, Fall Vegetable Production, Feed the Soil, Producing Asian Greens, Production of Late Fall, Winter and Early Spring Vegetable Crops, Seed Growing, Spring and Summer Hoophouses, Storage Vegetables, Succession Planting for Continuous Vegetable Harvests, Sustainable Farming Practices. Also garlic, sweet potatoes and a few more.  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 and Cover crops for vegetable cropping systems by Joel B 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  Cultural Practices And Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers. Brad Bergefurd, Wide scope. www.slideshare.net/guest6e1a8d60/vegetable-cultural- practices-and-variety-selection  Alison and Paul Wiediger : www.slideshare.net/aunaturelfarm/high-tunnel-1-why-grow- in-high-tunnels, at least 11 more.
  • 98. 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  Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook – Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd, New Society Publishers  Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market, Vern Grubinger, http://host31.spidergraphics.com/nra/doc/fair%20use%20web%20pdfs/nraes-104_web.pdf NRAES  The New Organic Grower and The Winter Harvest Handbook, 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  Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon, New Society Publishers  The Lean Farm, How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work and The Lean Farm Guide Ben Hartman  The Urban Farmer, Curtis Stone, New Society Publishers  High-Yield Vegetable Gardening, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm, Storey Publishers  Market Farming Success: The Business of Growing and Selling Local Food, Lynn Byczynski  The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, Chelsea Green  Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, Daniel Brisebois and Frédéric Thériault (www.cog.ca)  Nature and Properties of Soils, fourteenth edition, Nyle Brady and Ray Weil  Garden Insects of North America, Whitney Cranshaw  SARE Crop Rotations on Organic Farms, A Planning Manual, Charles Mohler, Sue Ellen Johnson, editors  John Jeavons How to Grow More Vegetables has charts: Pounds Consumed per Year by the Average Person in the US & Average US Yield in Pounds per 100 Square Feet
  • 99. Year Round Vegetable Production ©Pam Dawling 2017, Twin Oaks Community, Virginia Author of Sustainable Market Farming SustainableMarketFarming.com facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming