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How to make sure you’ve got enough vegetables of the right quality and kind at the time you need them for your CSA.

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Presentation on theme: "How to make sure you’ve got enough vegetables of the right quality and kind at the time you need them for your CSA."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to make sure you’ve got enough vegetables of the right quality and kind at the time you need them for your CSA

2 Laura Krouse Abbe Hills Farm CSA Mt. Vernon



5 72 acres total 54 acres tillable 10 – 15 acres vegetables G – C – OM – M

6 CSA since 1996 20 weeks early /mid June until late October 200 shares pickup Mondays and Thursdays $400 per share in 2011

7 3-4 student workers we grow sweet corn and potatoes for Local Harvest CSA = 200 shares we donate food every week to food pantries and soup kitchens


9 Variety Quantity Quality

10 We strive for at least 10 items per week June 27, 2011 head lettuce spring onions radishes garlic scapes stir fry kit spring turnips kohlrabi kale collards arugula August 11, 2011 potatoes summer onions squash eggplant cukes garlic cabbage sweet corn chili kale collards basil cilantro


12 How much is a share? Enough for 2 adults and 2 kids for 1 week July 4, 2011 2 heads lettuce 6 medium onions 1 daikon 10 garlic scapes ½ lb peas ¼ lb turnips 2 heads broccoli 2 cabbages 8 kale/collards leaves 3 kohlrabi cilantro

13 PFI A Comparison of CSA Offerings crop-resources/A-CSA-Offerings-Comparison.html Roxbury Farm Weekly Share Plan les/942/Weekly%20Schedule%20CSA%20Farm.pdf

14 What is a Share? From “Sharing the Harvest”, p 179 Weight is in pounds Basil 2.0 Beans20.0 Beets and greens15.0 Broccoli10.0 Brussels sprouts 2.0 Cabbage15.0 Chinese cabbage 4.0 Carrots30.0 Cucumber 15.0 Eggplant 3.0


16 How much should I plant? number of shares x amount per share 200 shares x 8 heads broccoli/share = 1600 broccoli transplants 200 shares x 15 lbs beans /share = how many feet of row?

17 Things to consider: How many times can this crop be harvested? (is quality good enough? is it worth you time?) Do I need to plant it more than once? What is yield per foot of row? How much should I overplant? Is there another market beyond my CSA? Do I have room to plant some to give away?


19 Broccoli: I plant 288 seeds (4 flats x 72 cells per flat) of each of two varieties, 4 times to have 400 heads broccoli per week for 4 weeks Why two varieties? Spread risk of failure Slightly different maturities within same week Why so much? (40% more than I need) Not every cell will produce a good plant Not every plant will produce a good head I usually have room I can sell or give away the extra


21 Beans: I plant 3 rows x 250’ of each variety, 5 times, using 1-3 varieties each time = at least 24 rows total Why different varieties? Spread risk of failure Give shareholders choice Why so much? (25% more than I need) Not every variety will yield well every time Shareholders love green beans I usually have room I can sell or give away the extra


23 How much should crops yield? Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog, p 2 Johnny’s Growers Library http :// growers_library.aspx?source=HomeGrowLib0411 Seed calculation and yield chart Charts.pdf Bean comparison chart mparison.pdf

24 Things to consider: Your experience with this crop Weather: temperature and rain Weeds Disease and insect pest pressure Soil fertility, soil health Your ability to do timely harvest

25 “Sharing the Harvest” CSA Crop Planning Chart, p 174 Their actual yield =.15 lb/ft of row, based on records of previous years Johnny’s assumes yield =.8 lb/ft of row My actual yield = about.5 lb/ft of row 1.5 lbs/week x 200 shares = 300 lbs / week 300 lbs / week requires 600 ft of row What yields can you expect?

26 Community Supported Agriculture in Michigan Chapter 4: Planting for the CSA Appendix : Planting Guides Crop Planning for Row Crops

27 1 acre crops = 20 shares More experienced farmers become more efficient Farmers with less land need to become more efficient More mechanization usually means less efficiency per acre (or does it?)


29 When should I plant? Harvest date – days to maturity = planting date Things to consider: Transplant or direct seed? Days to maturity, variety Soil and air temp, moisture levels Day length, temperature tolerances How many harvests from one planting

30 Succession planting Multiple plantings of a single variety Go by calendar Go by developmental stage of crop Single planting of multiple varieties Different days to maturity Scheduling vegetable plantings for continuous harvest. ATTRA

31 Broccoli: I transplant 275 plants of 2 different varieties as early as soon as soil can be worked. Repeat every 10-12 days, 3 more times But it doesn’t always work! Blue Wind broccoli, 49 days, Johnnys, p 12 2010: planted April 19, first cut June 17 2011: planted March 14, first cut June 30 Don’t forget “broccoliettes”

32 Beans: I plant 3 rows of 2 varieties on May 25, repeat 2 weeks later. Plant 3 rows of 1 variety every 2 weeks for 4 weeks. On July 25, plant 3 rows of 2 or 3 varieties for fall Why so many plantings? Always have beans at optimal maturity We usually pick a row only 1 time Some overlap spreads out risk Spring/summer weather favors pathogens I can sell or give away extra


34 Sweet corn: I plant 6000 feet of row of each of 2 varieties when soil temperature is >55 o. When plants have 3 fully extended true leaves, repeat. Repeat again before June 20 6000 row feet = 500 dozen ears (1 ear/foot, 20% more than we need) Bodacious = 74 days Incredible = 84 days

35 Or, you can be like my neighbor and write your own program! Starts with his desired harvest date Then calculates transplant date Then calculates planting date Can handle multiple harvests per year


37 Saturday, October 29, 2011 potatoes onions leaf lettuce hot peppers sweet peppers red beets golden beets chioggia beets daikon radish red radish red meat radish Hakurai turnips red turnips purple top turnips green mustard purple mustard Ho Mi Z Mei Qing Choi Joi Choi Da Cheong Chae Yukina savoy arugula rainbow chard cilantro parsley kale collards Red Russian kale

38 When to plant/transplant for fall harvest Late July/early Aug: beets, leaf lettuce, cilantro, daikon, turnips, chard, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cabbage Mid Aug/ late Aug: mustards, Asian greens, spinach, Red Russian, head lettuce Late Aug/early Sept: radishes, arugula


40 Take Home Messages Plant early, plant often Plant more than you need, >20%, especially late spring/early summer crops Plan to give some away 1 acre = 20 shares 10ish things per week, variety might be more important than quantity Plant for fall, everything for spring except better!

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