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Frann Leach

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Organic Gardening:

Planning your crops for the year


Here's what to do when planning your crops for the year, laid out step by step:

  1. Make a list (List 1) of what you grew last year (If you didn't grow anything last year, skip to the next numbered point).

    For each crop write down:
    • How many plants did you grow, or how big an area of land?
    • Were you pleased with the results?
    • Did all or most of the crop get eaten?
    • Would you like more or less of this produce on your menu next year?

  2. Make a list (List 2) of the fruit and vegetables which you eat a lot, but which you did not grow last year.

    For each item write down:
    • How often do you eat it and in what quantities?
    • How much does it cost (eg. cheap, expensive)?
    • Is it a seasonal item or something you eat all year round?

  3. Make a list (List 3) of fruit and vegetables which you do not eat very much, purely because of cost or availability, but which you would like to eat more often.

  4. Look through List 1 and decide in each case whether you want to grow that crop again this year. Take into account significant differences in quality or price from shop bought produce (Remember, if you have seeds left over from last season, this year's crop will be significantly cheaper than last's - in fact, virtually free). Cross out any items you feel you would be better off buying rather than growing.

  5. Look through Lists 2 and 3.
    • Unless you have a really big area available for growing, cross out all crops that are easy to buy at low cost, eg. carrots, cabbage and maincrop potatoes.
    • Check your skill level: it's best to stick mainly to crops you are already familiar with, and crops that are fairly easy. Don't take on more than one or two new "difficult" crops at a time.

  6. Now you have your preliminary selection. Consolidate your lists into one, and add a couple of columns to the right. In the first column, you need to write down the time period the crop will be occupying the ground (eg. beginning June to mid-August), and in the second column, how much space you will need for each crop.

  7. Add up all the space you need for particular times (I find it useful to do this month by month on separate sheets). If any month needs more space than you have available, reduce quantities or remove crops until it all fits.

  8. And now you have it.

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Article ©2007 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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