Planning for Planting
- Students will be able to describe the value of succession planting and describe how to create a working plan for succession.
Tools & Materials
- Succession Planning Worksheet
- Plant production data for various varieties
The saying in Vegas is “The most expensive room in the city is the one that’s empty” and that’s certainly true on the farm as well. Though there are times where garden beds or entire fields are left fallow, the goal is to maximize production. A solid succession planting plan is the only way to achieve that, to ensure each planter and tower are producing as many days each year as possible.
If you think about it, waiting a few days between plantings in an indoor production facility like the Edible Learning Lab can turn into a very costly mistake. Think about a single hydroponics tower. If its potential is to “turn” a crop every 21 days that means we might expect to get 17 turns from it each year. Waste just 2 days between plantings and you’ll lose two turns for that tower each year.
A specialty crop like basil might wholesale for $3 a bunch with a single tower producing 10 bunches per turn. Although $60 – the value of those two lost turns – may not seem that bad it certainly adds up when you’re talking about 48 towers instead of just one. That’s 96 lost turns per year for just a two-day loss per turn.
Have students use the Succession Planning Worksheet to craft a plan for the entire year. How many plantings will it take? Plan for soil amendments/fallow time as well to maintain healthy soil.
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