In our corresponding video, we join Tamara McNaughton of TNT Farm N Greenhouse and Neal Reid of Spring Ridge Farm, to discuss planting transplants and seeding directly into your ground. Towards the end of the video, Neal mentions that growers managing over a few acres should utilize larger planting implements (pictured below) to make planting more efficient.
Here you can see a tractor-pulled planter where one to two riders can sit in the back and quickly place plants in a mud hole created by the planter.
Not all growers may need these larger planting implements though. To get an idea of planting on a smaller scale, we join Tamara to see how she will plant the peppers we saw her transplanting in a previous episode/blog.
Tamara uses a string to keep her rows straight and spaces her rows about three feet apart. Each planting row contains two rows of peppers, diagonally spaced from each other.
Once these are all in the ground, Tamara will place short sticks along the side and tie it all together with string, to hold the plants upright.
Tamara mentions that plants do have preferred spacing. Below you can see the first page of a planting guide that shows you spacing, depth, ideal soil temperature, thin rate and much more.(https://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/veggie_chart.htm)
As an organic grower, crop rotation is required. I recommend that you put your crops on a three-year rotation schedule to help manage pests, diseases, and weeds. It may look something like this.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Field 1||acorn squash||bell peppers||cabbage|
|Field 2||cabbage||acorn squash||bell peppers|
|Field 3||bell peppers||cabbage||acorn squash|
If you only have one field to work with, a cover crop during the winter will let you grow the same produce as the previous year. However, we discourage this since this will not be the most efficient way to manage pests, diseases, and weeds.
It’s also highly recommended that you transplant as much as you can. Growing transplants will extend your growing season, help you get a jump start for the year, and will help prepare your plants against the elements as well as weeds, diseases, and insects.
Not all produce can be transplanted though, for instance, squash. So, for direct seeding, we join Neal Reid of Spring Ridge Farm and his Earthway Seeder.
Like Tamara, Neal is managing around acre or so and doesn’t need to utilize a tractor-pulled planter. Neal is able to plant around 6oz of corn seed into a bed of 800 square feet in about ten minutes with his Earthway Seeder. Corn does well when spaced six inches apart but Neal planted them three inches apart; with a germination rate of 96%, Neal will still have a very good yield even if half of them don’t make it. This may not always be the case, so do pay attention to germination rates and thin your plants if necessary. In our next video and blog, we will discuss more crop rotation and companion planting with Richard Moyer of Moyer Family Farms.
Derrick von Kundra