Tuesday, March 22, 2011

food production planning

I get asked fairly frequently about how I plan my gardening/farming efforts. It is true that regardless of how well you plan all sorts of stuff will change your plans. However, I think a production plan it's essential to a sucessful food-growing effort.

Things to consider in creating your plan:

1. Grow what you eat. And grow it in quantities that are reasonable. You don't have to grow radishes if you don't like them. And if you do grow them plant only a few at a time. Staggered planting is something a production plan can help you accomplish.

2. Include the name of the varieties you grow. This will help with records when planning for the future.

3. Assign a target date to each of your plantings. You may not hit this date exactly but you will be more likely to get your vegetables in the ground at the best anticipated time if you actually assign a date. It will also help you to estimate the harvest time and/or quantity of food coming in for the future.

4. Stagger your plantings. Especially with those radishes, but really with any of your vegetables that get picked only once. Plan fewer in quantity and do it more often.

5. Assign your vegetables a location. This will help you to better understand what you can and cannot fit into your garden. It's essential for record keeping and planning for the future.

6. Include the following three plantings in each location so you can properly rotate your crops. Later on, you might not remember that you want spring vegetables in Field 3 or you might remember that only after you've planted a successful cover crop that won't be ready to turn into the soil until after spring vegetables should have already been planted

7. Don't get too hung up on the plan. You are going to make changes to it. It will be a living document so don't put off getting started on your production plan just because you're afraid you don't have absolutely everything decided upon today.

I hope this helps.


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