How to plan a garden for efficient use of space, and your time. Since its getting to be that time of year for seed starting (at least in the northern hemisphere) I thought I would provide a quick example of how I plan my plantings here on the farm.
The instructions here are intended primarily for those intending to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) market garden, but the same approach applies to other market gardeners and even home gardeners who want to be more efficient in their garden planning.
Lesson 1 in how to plan a garden is to determine the quantity of each crop you plan to feed your CSA customers. For this example, let's assume I am planning for 30 full CSA shares.
Now let's figure out how many weeks of delivery I will need for beans.
I direct seed snap beans around my last frost date. For this planting, I would use a dark-seeded variety like Provider that will germinate in cool soil. Days to maturity (i.e. before I can start picking) varies from about 45 days to 55 days, depending on the variety and the time of year. Let's take 50 days as an average.
If I allow a few days for germination, I expect to pick beans from my first planting around the first week of July (May 10 plus germination time plus 50 days).
Most varieties of snap beans will produce for about 3 weeks. So that means I will replant beans every three weeks until 50 days before my last frost (Realize that you may lose a few beans if the frost date is exactly October 5 or earlier, unless you protect them with row cover).
Last planting date therefore is around August 1 (October 5 minus 50 days minus a few days for germination) to hopefully get a couple weeks of picking before frost hits. So I will make about 4 plantings in all. You can read more about a seed starting schedule here
Lesson 2 in how to plan a garden is, how many seeds in each planting? Typically a snap bean plant will produce about 1/4 pound of beans over its 3-week useful life. So if you are providing 2 pounds of beans each week to each share, you will need to start about 2 lbs/share divided by 1/4 lb per plant times 30 shares times 3 weeks = 720 seeds planted every three weeks.
To be on the safe side, I would plant at least a thousand seeds each planting, especially early in the season.
Lesson 3 in how to plan a garden is to figure out how much space
your crop will take. Snap beans work best for me when planted 6 inches
apart in all directions. So a 30-inch wide bed could hold 4 rows. 1000
seeds would therefore need (1000/4/2) = 125 ft of bed, or 2 1/2 50-ft beds.
That's the math, folks, you need to do that for each crop to plan your garden. Keep good records about yield quantities and dates to adjust your planting for next season.
A fellow grower lost out on $5,000 in her first season because of one simple mistake. Get your FREE Market Garden Starter Guide and avoid this costly error.
Imagine building a profitable and sustainable market garden even on a small property.
Enter your email address and your free report will be sent to you right away.
I created this software tool to take the 'guesswork' out of planning your garden crops. The Bootstrap Garden Planner will tell you:
Get it as a FREE BONUS with my Bootstrap Market Gardening book
Bootstrap Market Gardening, my first Bootstrap Book, shows you step-by-step how to start-up, market and manage an organic market garden based on CSA principles.
New edition includes my Garden Planner spreadsheet. Get Bootstrap Market Gardening
Now just $10 only from New Terra Farm.
Or get Bootstrap Market Gardening as part of my Complete Start Farming Pack and SAVE EVEN MORE!
Aug 01, 20 06:29 AM
Make $20 to $25 an hour with a small CSA
Jul 31, 20 07:34 PM
How much money can you reasonably expect to make when small farming for profit?
Jul 29, 20 08:08 AM
Raising chickens is a great business for small land owners. Learn how to raise chickens organically for your freezer and your customers.