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With Spring just around the corner, there’s no better way to get excited about warmer weather than to start planning out your backyard farm by creating your crop map! Ideally, you want to start creating your crop map when seed catalogs arrive in the early Spring. Thumb through the catalogs, create your ‘wish list’ and then create your crop map for maximum success and harvest.
Creating a crop map will help you decide what plants to put in the garden and where to place them to maximize production. We have created a series of 4 easy steps and considerations to follow.
The first step in creating a crop map is to rank the vegetables in order of highest priority. This is your vegetable ‘wish list,’ which will help you choose whether to grow one crop over another. Use a scale of 1-5, and rank each vegetable you want to plant with a ‘1’ being very low and a ‘5’ being highest priority. Be certain to include the growing season and growing time in your list.
The second step in creating a crop map to draw the growing area in a bird’s eye view. Find the northernmost edge of the growing area and mark it on the drawing. This is where the tallest plants will go (and trellising if needed). Medium-sized plants will be planted in front of the tall plants as we move southward in the growing area, with the shortest plants along the southernmost edge.
Knowing the spacing of your plants will help you estimate how much you can fit into your growing area and how much you will be able to harvest. Too much crowding, shading, and root competition will reduce production and encourage pests and diseases. Ignore the urge to crowd: sometimes less really is more. Organize your vegetables into 3 crop maps, one for each season (spring, summer, fall), keeping in mind slow and quick crops, and whether the vegetable is short, medium or tall.
Just as it is important to plan where and what crops to plant, it is also important to know when to plant. What are you most excited about growing? Tomatoes? Peppers? Broccoli? Whatever it is, make sure you have room in your garden to plant in your choice in its appropriate season.
All of these elements are addressed extensively in the Crop Mapping Tool, which includes a crop map template to get you started.
Green City Growers invites you to join our 2016 Urban Farming Course March 19th and 20th!
Our Urban Farming Course is an intensive weekend certification program with GCG’s team of Horticultural Specialists, designed to give you the skills you need to grow food at home and in the community. Participants leave with an in-depth knowledge of course topics, such as installing a garden, planting, garden maintenance and season extension.
Interested? Register for our two-day, intensive Urban Farming Course, March 19th-20th and learn the fundamentals of growing your own.