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Exploring local food production and issues in urban areas at a variety of scales.
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Crop Production Planning for a Smooth and Efficient Season


Happy Spring/Vernal Equinox! Better late than never to think about crop planning for the upcoming growing season! This post really should have been put up three months ago, but alas other programs kept me very busy and distracted.

Having an action plan in place for your crop production cycle is important and useful at a variety of scales. Any grower from a backyard urban gardener to a 100 acre vegetable operation manager can benefit from having a plan in place. This plan will act as a guiding document for effortless flow during the production calendar. Yes, things will change due to weather and unforeseen events, but the action plan will help keep the season in context. In addition, having a plan will help reduce production waste and product shrink.

Try to keep these goals in mind:

1) Grow only what you think you can sell/eat/donate based on previous records or experience.

2) Try to even/level out the harvest peaks and valleys throughout the growing season, as well as labor.

3) Anticipate needs during the season so everything is ready in advance and you are not scrambling for seeds and supplies a the last minute

4) Maximize space use by using succession plantings and rotations that allow for use of beds multiple times during a growing season.

5) Use spreadsheets and calendars to keep the planning information organized and easily accessed from year to year.

Below are two links to a pair of You-Tube webinars I have published. The "Crop Production Planning Using Spreadsheets" webinar is a longer discussion about the use of a specifically designed spreadsheet to plan out a crop production schedule, transplant schedule, seed order, and other information. The second link is a shorter lecture on succession planning.

After you view the webinar, if you are interested in trying out some of these spreadsheets to adapt to your operation, contact me at: zgrant2@illinois.edu

Have a productive start to your season!

Crop Production Planning Using Spreadsheets:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ_KdDoQ8g4

Scheduling Succession Plantings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-X6Degmzyc&feature=youtu.be



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