Running a farm of any kind is a challenge. The Edible Learning Lab is a farm of sorts and to reach the maximum production it is imperative that you keep plants in the ground as much as possible.
Of course, there is also time that needs to be earmarked for system maintenance when using hydroponics, for soil amending in raised planters, and for the off-season in high tunnels and traditional gardens.
In order to create a plan for maximizing production, start first with the basic math:
- Days to Germinate
- Days to Transplant
- Days to Harvest
All of these data points should be captured in the Steader Journal making the actual planning phase much easier.
A good rotation plan will provide for a never ending supply of new starts ready for transplant when the current crop is ready for harvest. Here is how the process should be approached:
- Initial crop → 12 days to germinate, 14 to transplant, and 35 to harvest = 61 days
- Rotation crop → 8 days to germinate, 21 to transplant, and 21 to harvest = 50 days
Since the succession crop needs 29 days to germinate and transplant, it should be started just 6 days after the Initial Crop is transplanted so that the timing is aligned.
You get the idea. The time to germinate, transplant, and harvest will vary from Lab to Lab based on the conditions and variety. You will need to establish your baseline for each crop using the Planting Log in the Steader Journal. Once you have your baseline for the standard varieties that you plan to grow you can then dial in your rotation timing to maximize the production of your space.
Here is a sample of the data from the Planting Log for the flagship Edible Learning Lab in Buffalo, WY.
As you can see, the Initial Crop data was pulled from the Planting Log. Then we simply enter the Rotation Crop, enter its Estimated Days to Transplant (also recorded in the Planting Log if it’s been grown before), and the Start Date is automatically calculated.
Pretty simple way to track our progress and accurately forecast when to start a new set of seeds. The best part is that our students actually do all of the data recording on the fly as they work through the daily tasks in the Lab!