Market Gardening: Production Systems - Sarasota County Extension
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Market Gardening: Production Systems - Sarasota County Extension

MARKET GARDENING:A Participatory Primer CoursePart #4: Production Systems andPlanningRobert A. KlusonAgriculture/Natural Resources Agent IIUF/IFAS – Sarasota County Extension

Outline• Short Review of Course Syllabus• Production Systems Overview &Assessment– Agroecosystem Analysis– Food crops & information sources– Growing requirements– Production methods– Management factors• Cropping Diversification & Models

Market Gardening CourseClass Topics Sequence• #1: Introduction• #2: Holistic Management• #3: Business and Marketing Plans• #4: Crop Production Systems & Planning• #5: Equipment and Tools; Post HarvestHandling• #6: Food & Farm Safety and Regulations• #7: Farmers’ Markets• #8: Financial Resources & ManagementToday’sTopic

How Can I Produce Food as aMarket Gardener?FieldContainersHydroponicsGreenhouse/Hoophouse Textbook- Review -

“Building A Sustainable Business”Holistic Management Process* Review *1. Identifying stakeholder values2. Assess your current situation3. Vision, mission & goals4. Strategic value & evaluation5. Presenting, implementing & monitoringToday’sTopics

“A Sustainable Business Plan”• Task 2 - Assessment Factors– Farm history– Current markets and sales– Operations situation– Human resources situation– Financial situation– Sources of riskT TO OD PA IY’ CS S

Assessing the Current Situation• SWOT Analysis - ReviewStrengthsWeaknesses= What the organization does well= What is done poorlyOpportunities = External events, that if takenadvantage of, could improve the organizationThreats = External events, that if notaddressed, could harm the organization• SWOT needs to be an inclusive process

Operations Situation Assessment- Review -• All Resources Available toProduction Operations & Enterprises– Physical– Biological– Production systems– Management– Human

“A Sustainable Business Plan”- Cedar Summit Farm Case Study-• Dave/Florence Minar, CedarSummit Farm• 30 years operation before abusiness plan• Objectives– Evaluate on-farm milk processing toreduce yearly income volatility– Create permanent work for severaladult children• Our class example for purposesof following steps in businessplan process from our textbook

Cedar Summit Farm Case StudyAssessment ExamplesBio-Physical resources – p. 40Production systems – p. 43cropping – p. 43; livestock – p. 44calendar – p. 45Human resourcesneeds – p. 47; skills – p. 49Planning strategiesproduction – p. 135 & 144calendar – p. 147human resource – p. 150-51While not a case study of a market gardeningenterprise, reviewing their process is very informative.

-Cedar Summit Farm Example-Whole Farm Strategy* Review *• The System-wide Connections of theStrategies of the 4 Management Areas– Marketing– Operations– Human resources– Finances• It Considers How Each Strategy AffectsEach Other

Full Circle of Tasks & Process –* Review *

Agroecosystem Analysis• An additional whole farm planning process (i.e.,holistic management) based on the concepts of theSustainable Agriculture.• Ecosystem definition– a functional system of complementary relations betweenliving organisms and their environment,– delimited by arbitrarily chosen boundaries,– which in space and time appears to maintain a steadyyet dynamic equilibrium.• Agroecosystem definition– human manipulation and alteration of an ecosystem forthe purpose of establishing agricultural productionGliessman, S. 2004. Chapter 2, Agroecology and agroecosystems. In D. Rickerl and C.Francis, (ed.) Agroecosystems Analysis. American Society of Agronomy, Madison , WI

Ecosystem Model• The ecosystem model includes functional emergentproperties & subsystems (e.g., nutrient cycling, etc)

Agroecosystem Model

How to Do Agroecosystem Analysis• Recognition of the whole systems nature offood, feed, & fiber production• Balancing concerns of– environmental soundness– social equity– economic viability• Functional interactions betweenagroecological & social/economic systemsGliessman, S. 1998, Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture

How to Do Agroecosystem Analysis• Analyze both the immediate and future impacts ofagroecosystem design and management so that wecan identify the indicators in each system on whichto focus the search for alternatives or solutions toproblems• Indicators of agroecosystem sustainability– Energy flow– Nutrient cycling– Population regulation mechanisms– Dynamic equilibriumGliessman, S. 1998, Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture

Crop Production Systems & Planning Let’s Get Started . . .

Key Points of Cropping Enterprises

So…wadda ya got?(time to complete your inventory)NRCS, Bozeman, Mont.

And What Do You Want?WSU Extension

Make A Map of Your PropertyShow:• Buildings: house, barns, shed, etc.• Facilities: pastures, fences, wells, septictanks, power lines, sewer lines, etc.• Assets: existing vegetation, pastures,streams, ponds, wetlands, irrigation,defensible space, related features• Problems: easements, weedy areas, etc.• What your neighbors are doing

LegendWellTreesWeedyBaregroundAcres = 25Animals = 6 cows,1 horse, 3 goatsPastures = 1Months animalsgrazed = 9Soils = sandy clayloam, siltGrasses present = Tallfescue, orchardgrass,clover, bentgrassWeeds present = Canadathistle, pigweedProperty MapHouseMarshyStreamWatertroughGateFenceSepticBarnBarnBarnManurepile

Photo documentation• An excellent way todocument and/orassess existingconditions• Helps you trackchanges over timeDNRC, Helena, Mont.DNRC, Helena, NT

Reasons for Keeping Photo Records• Provides a low-cost way to trackchanges• Shows value-added features• Adds to your personal satisfaction• Documents property additions forinsurance purposes• Aids in the permit application process

Some Photo Hints• Make sure your photos include datesand descriptions• Store the photos in a photo album orsome other easily accessibleorganization system• Use photo reference points• Establish a schedule for taking photos

Soils & Water Inventory• Survey Learn the soil types and properties at yourlocation

What does yourwatershed look like?

Learn the hydrology, e.g., drainage, at yourlocationWSU

Water Atlas•

Market GardenProduction System Factors• Crop Options– variety and cultivar– growing requirements• Management Options– field– container– Greenhouse/hoophouse• Diversification– Multiple cropping and/or enterprises

Commercial Crops of Florida• Types• Cultivars• Distribution

Food CropSeasonalityin Florida

Food Crops• A wide variety of foodcan be grown insouthcentral Florida• You need to be awareof limitations–Varieties–Diseases–Insects–Climate–SoilFruitsHerbsVegetables

Vegetable Categories that Can be GrownSuccessfully in Southcentral Florida• TemperateBroccoli• SubtropicalSweet Potato• TropicalAmaranth

Fruit Categories that Can be GrownSuccessfully in Southcentral Florida• Temperate GrapeLycheeSapodilla• Subtropical• Tropical

Herb Categories that Can be GrownSuccessfully in Southcentral Florida• TemperateComfrey• SubtropicalSweet Basil• TropicalChinese Chives

Food Crop Variety InformationEDIS Publications – see Research & Education Centers:Food Crop Trials Reports & Publications –see

UF/IFAS Online Newsletters• “Vegetarian Newsletter”– A Vegetable Crops Extension Publication by UFHorticultural Sciences Department• “Extension Berry/Vegetable Times”– By Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Balm• “South Florida Vegetable Pest and DiseaseHotline”– By Hendry County Extension Office

‘Minor’ Food Crop VarietyInformation UF IFAS Manual of MinorVegetablesE.C.H.O., ,North Ft. Myers, FL – see

• Florida was once a major producer (beforeglobal imports)!• Now only grow specialty crops such as:– Sunflower– Celosia– ZinniaCut Flower Cropsfor Market Gardening– Snapdragon– Dianthus– Assorted Lilies

• Seed Company Examples– SE USA RegionCrop Variety Seeds• E.O.N.S. (• FL Tomato Growers Supply Company(• Southern Exposure See Exchange(\)• E.C.H.O. (– USA Region• Seed Savers Exchange (• Johnny’s Selected Seeds(• Seeds of Change( 50

Edible Mushroom Cropsfor Market GardeningOyster Mushroom(Pleurotus ostreatus)Chanterelle(Cantharellus cibarius)Shitake(Lentinula edodes)

Additional Cropsfor Market Gardening

Edible Native Plantsin Southcentral FloridaElderberryRed MulberryPlum FlatwoodsAmerican Persimmon

Crop Production StrategyDevelop a Farm Plan to IdentifyCrops and Production Systemsto Meet Seasonal Opportunitiesfor Direct Marketing

Crop Production Seasons• Spring & Fall – Traditional• Winter – Surprisingly Good• Summer – Tough(but very feasible)

Vegetable Crop ProductionScheduling• Experienced vegetable growers plan the harvestperiod of their crops to avoid unfavorable weather &to take advantage of market windows.• Many commercial seed catalogs provide days tomaturity data as part of variety descriptions. Thesedata are correct for the area where the evaluationoccurred, but may be quite misleading for Floridagrowers due to factors such as:– seasonality– geography– varietal maturity differences

Vegetable Crop ProductionScheduling ExampleTABLE 1: Crops grownfrom transplantsSwiss chardParsleyGreen onionsKohlrabiHead LettuceBroccoliCauliflowerPac choiCollardsCabbageSummer squashCucumbersStorage onionsEggplantBell peppersTomatoesWatermelonsCantaloupessuccessional interval(weeks) 7 7 2-3 2 2 2 2 2 * 3 3-4 4-5 * 8 * * 2 2seed to transplant (weeks) 5 10 10 6 4 6 6 5 6 6 4 3 10 6 8 6 4 4transplant to harvest(weeks) 8 8 6 5 6 8 10 7 10 10 8 7 12 9 9 10 12 11seed->transplant->harvest(weeks) 13 18 16 11 10 14 16 12 16 16 12 10 22 15 17 16 16 15direct seed as analternative (weeks) 10 14 12 9 9 12 14 NR 12 12 10 8 NR NR NR NR 14 13

Vegetable Crop ProductionScheduling ExampleTABLE 2: Crops grown fromdirect seedingRadishesSpinachArugulaBeetssuccessional interval (weeks) 2 2 2 2 2 2 * 2 * 2 2 * * *seed to harvest (weeks) 4 6 5 8 6 7 8 6 10 10 8 10 9 10TurnipsKalePeasMustard greensCarrotsSweet cornSnap beansOkraSouthern peasEdamameThe numbers above are generalizations for early-medium maturity varieties.The earliest varieties available may mature sooner. Late maturity varieties are likely to take 2+ weeks longer.LegendAs the season progresses, rate of crop maturation tends to accelerate. This should be considered when timingsucessional plantings!* = only one plantingNR = not recommended

Vegetable Crop ProductionProfitability AssessmentProfit or Loss equals revenue minus costof production• Revenue ($) = [Yield (lbs) X Price Received ($/lb)]• Cost of Production ($) = crop budget total (i.e., preand post harvest expenses)Following slides show example crop budgets and yieldsfor 100 ft row field production of different vegetables

Vegetable Crop Budgets Data• UF/IFAS Resources– Large Scale Commodity Data• EDIS publications – see• SW FL Research & Education Center (REC) – see– Small Scale Enterprise Data• UF/IFAS Small Farms & Alternative EnterpriseProgram – see Vegetable CropBudget (100 ft row) Use as a reference point and modify according to yourmanagement practices

FL Vegetable Crop ProductionManagement Guidebooks• UF/IFAS Resources– Large Scale Commodity Data• EDIS publications - see– Small Scale Enterprise Data• J. Stephens. 1999. Vegetable Gardening in Florida• EDIS publications - seeFL Vegetable Gardening Guide - Gardening -

Crop Yields(100 ft row)Examples

Crop Yields(100 ft row)Examples(cont.)

Crop Yields (100 ft row)Examples (cont.)

ManagementSoil Testing– UF/IFAS Soil Lab– Alternative Soils Labs

ManagementPests Considerations• FL = Subtropical Pest “Wonderland”• Soil Pests– Nematodes– Wilts, Root Rots• Foliage & Fruit Diseases• Plant Viruses (insect vectors)• Vertebrate Pests– Deer, Crow, Raccoon, Coyote• Decide Management Approach– Organic, “Soft” Pesticides, Traditional

ManagementWeed Considerations• Easily Underestimated• Cultural Practices• Consider Mulches– Plastic– Organic Material

Management• Irrigation Considerations– Overhead/Sprinklers– Drip Irrigation(recommended)

Management– Drip Irrigation Benefits• Irrigate larger areas• Reduces disease• Aids in fertilizerapplication• Can use many smallpumps and wells

Irrigation Management• Best Management Practices(– Water efficiency example

Irrigation Management• Best Management Practices– Water efficiency example• Soil moisture monitoring equipment• Tensiometer example

Irrigation Management• Florida Automated Weather Network Resource– Evapotranspiration data– Freeze warnings– Temperature data and forecasts

Production SystemsAn example Florida market garden in the field74

Production Systems• Field Example– Square foot gardening– View these videos

Production Systems• Field Example– “Double dug” gardening– View these videos

Container Production System• Container Example– Earthbox ®– View this video

Production System• Additional Container Ideas Pots and cansBuckets andbasketsStrawberry BarrelSoil less media(gravel, sand,sawdust,bark,vermiculite, etc)Styrofoam icechestsPlastic bagsDrums

Container Production SystemExample

What is ?• New modular portable cropping system for:-Agriculture = First Harvest-Landscape = GroSoxx• Uses Mesh Enclosure-Contains Customizable Planting mix inside-Air on all sides = no anaerobic conditions- Superior to grow bags• Irrigation inside soxx-Easy fertigation-Controlled moisture

Installation of Soxx with Blower Truck

Combined With Hoop Houses

Planting In Soxx

Planting Between Soxx

Vine Cucumbers



Hydroponic Production SystemEmpty PotsVERTICALTOWERNasturtium (Edible Flowers)View video:

Hydroponic Production System• AdditionalContainerIdeasFloating Water GardensView video:

Hydroponic Production System• Hanging Bag System90

Hydroponic Production System• “VerZontal” Systems91

Hydroponic ProductionCrop Choices• Can I grow the same crops with hydroponicsystems as field systems?View video:

Crop Production Diversification- Benefits -• Increased resource efficiency– nutrients, water, space, equipment, etc• Crop synergisms– e.g., enhanced pest and disease control• Expanded growing and harvest seasons• Exploit profitable niche markets• Reduced risks of production• Promote local ag economic development• Enhanced agroecosystem sustainability

Crop Production Diversification- Challenges -• Market development. Expect to conduct substantialresearch.• Information on varietal performance, bestmanagement practices and post-harvest handling andstorage may be hard to find.• Seed selection may be limited and plant establishmentmay be difficult.• Pest management information for alternative cropsmay not be available.• A need to modify or replace equipment. Consider thathand labor may occasionally be the only viable option.

Crop Production Diversification- Challenges -• Harvesting, post-harvest handling and storageconsiderations, with possible additional costs.• Locating local businesses and infrastructure forhandling, transporting, processing, storing andmarketing.• Price swings for alternative crops.• Contracts. Sometimes contracts are not available foralternative crops every year – or at all.

Diversified Crop Production- Examples -applesstrawberryStrip Cropping of VegetablesAgroforestry (Alley Cropping)

Agroecosystem Property Example“Hierarchical Scale”Crop diversification can be applied at various scales

Agroecosystem Property ExampleEarlyStages“Succession”ExampleTechniques:- agroforestry,- interplanting- rotationalcroppingLateStagesMimick natural ecosystems for enhanced stability.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSRobert C. HochmuthUF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center –Suwannee ValleyLive Oak, Florida“Developing a Plan for Vegetables, Herbs, & Cut Flowers”“Non-Traditional Gardens: Crazy and Fun Stuff”Susan DonaldsonUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension“Living On the Land:Stewardship for Small Acreages Program”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSOregon State University Extension“An Introduction to Sustainable Farming”

Market GardeningOnline Resources• Agroecosystem Analysis Reading List 2008, Univ. of NE - see• ATTRA Publications – see– Market Gardening– Horticultural Crops– Specialty Cut Flowers Production and Marketing– Agroforestry Overview• Gliessman, S. 2004. Chapter 2, Agroecology andagroecosystems. In D. Rickerl and C. Francis, (ed.)Agroecosystems Analysis. American Society of Agronomy,Madison , WI - see• Horne, J.E. Essential Steps to a Sustainable Agriculture – see• Maynard, D. 2006. Scheduling Production of FloridaVegetables. EDIS Pub #HS 204 – see

Market GardeningOnline Resources• Office of Agricultural Policy, FDACS. Best ManagementPractices: Rules, Manuals & Other Documents – see• Peet, M. Sustainable Practices for Vegetable Production in theSouth – see• S.A.R.E. Diversifying Cropping Systems• UF/IFAS/FAMU Small Farm & Alternative Enterprise Program• UF/IFAS Virtual Field Day website

Online Reading Assignments• ATTRA Publications -– Market Gardening– Horticultural Crops• Peet, M. Sustainable Practices forVegetable Production in the South.• SARE, Steel in the Field: A Farmer’s Guideto Weed Management Tools

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