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Almost on Schedule

June 2, 2010

Will the tomatoes be ready by August?

I took a risk this year and put a harvest plan in writing. That may not seem risky to you, when you just want to know what will be available when. But for me, I am putting my ability to grow vegetables on the line. Will I produce what I said I would?  Can I live up to this plan? Using general information about growing vegetables, my past experience, and an elaborate spread sheet I got from the Crop Planning for Diverse Plantings workshop, I put together a crop plan.  The crop plan guides me on what to seed and plant out each week, so there will be vegetables to sell…according to the harvest plan.

Fizz is coming soon.

If you looked at the harvest plan, you may have noticed it hasn’t been perfectly accurate so far this season. There are a lot of factors that go into growing a crop that the harvest plan does not account for; like, am I following the crop plan’s schedule? So far, I am doing pretty well on that account. I have seeded almost everything on time and planted most things out into the garden on time. One of the most notable differences from last year is lettuce. Last year, I seeded lettuce about once a month, a total of five times over the season. This year, to have a continuous supply of lettuce, I planned to seed every two weeks. So far, so good. I have already seeded  lettuce seven times (the eighth will come next week). With kale, I planted out the Red Russian and White Russian on time, but not the Lacinato and Fizz. Kale came on the list early, but that is why the latter two haven’t been on the list yet.

The second planting of lettuce is just about ready.

Another factor in the plan is the weather or other things that affect plant growth. I planned for the first planing of peas to be done this week and the second planting ready to take their place. Peas don’t like it hot, but they grow more at 70 degrees than 60. So, now it may be a week or two longer, before the second planting is ready. Even though all the lettuce was seeded on time, there were other problems. Germination in the first batch was poor and it just hasn’t grown well since I planted it out. The second planting is doing great; it will be ready before the first planting is. That is why the harvest plan says there should be lettuce, but there isn’t…yet. It will come soon.

I pulled a lot of carrots from this row.

How much I plant and how fast it sells also affects the harvest plan. I planned to plant carrots once a month, somewhere between 60 and 80 row feet at a time. Again, so far, so good. But, when I put carrots on the list last Thursday, I sold much more than I expected. I had hoped to have carrots continually on the list, but that will not happen. There will be gaps in the carrot harvest. I am working to adjust the plan to plant more, trying to figure out where I can squeeze in extra carrots. Some of you may think Swiss chard hasn’t been on the list yet, but it has– just not on Thursday. There wasn’t enough for both the Monday and Thursday groups.

If you want to know what is coming, take a look at the harvest plan. I’m still planning for tomatoes in August.

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