Planning for 2016

Just when I thought that last season(2015) was tough to plan, this year I am modifying what I have at Steiner Field to incorporate what I have learned by reading books like the The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier & also The Organic Farmers Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall. At the middle of last season, I realized I didn’t plan too well and ended up creating rows that were only suitable for a few crops. This year though, I will be incorporating a slightly more dense setup, where the “your plants will have created a canopy with their leaves at 3/4 growth”, which is something that The Market Gardner books speaks about. Last year I noticed that I had a lots of square feet that were not being utilized, with the sun beating down on the soil and it seeming to dry up the soil near the plants in the rows too fast. This will be changed in 2016, where I will use a “T” fitting at each of the rows drip irrigation input, and add another drip line, so there will be two per row, and the row will be about 32 inches wide, instead of roughly 16 inches(or less) currently. The rows will need to be lowered, which are currently planted in “cover crops”, so this will happen when the soil warms up or I place tarps on the soil to assist in the warming process. I do know where I want the rows to go, rotation wise, as I will be growing green chile, jalapeno, tomatoes, and other heavy feeding plants. This year I will also be using transplants more, in order to get the healthiest plants on the field – last year I would guess that half the field was transplanted, and this year I am looking at just about 2/3 of the field to be transplants. I will also be adding a few more rows, with will equal about 300 line feet more area to grow – the additional rows will be at the east side of the field, and also on the north side of the field, where I am planting a corn-sunflower mix in association with warm season broad leaf and legumes to balance it up. I currently have enough seeds saved from last years flint corn and sunflowers that I will not need to purchase seeds for these rows, and they will add a wind break and the flowers will attract & feed pollinators. This year I have two varieties of flint corn to plant, and will also need some rows of sweet corn, as we love to eat fresh garden sweet corn. Lots of work to do still, but I will be posting again with updates on the plants and activities on the field.