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RE: Re: mathematical formulas and food production/news/Don's & Jim's comments

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Re: mathematical formulas and food production/news/Don's & Jim's comments
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 09:34:04 -0500
  • Importance: Normal

 But, whew, mercy!
7.6 pounds per foot, Sharon? Wow! Is this observation,
or theoretical max? The Marlins play like they eat
pretty good diets - maybe there's something in the
soil down your way. Or all that sunshine.

***I went for a medium level of success in the garden.  If you maximize your
biointensive strategies and have built up good soil fertility, have three
crops a year, well chosen varieties and good weather, you can get 24+ pounds
per square foot. Conversely if you have one crop of sunflower seeds, you can
get .024 pounds per square foot or .96 (almost one whole pound) pounds of
food from the 40 square foot demo garden. (And just to clear up the way I
worded my last post, I don't live in Florida, was just helping out the group
at their request.  They wanted to know what might be possible from one small
bed at the new houses.

One other notion: If you made compost from leaf drop
and yard waste, you could divert 6 big bags of leaves
from the landfill each year for that bed, turning
'waste' into wholesome organic food, improved soil,
and taxpayer savings (I can show you my numbers to
back this up, if you'd like).

***If you were getting three crops from a bed per year, it would be very
important to have lots of compost to restore soil fertility.  And in the
Florida Habitat example it would need to be made somewhere outside of the
4x6 bed.

***Don, I was thinking that if you had this statistic for one bag of leaves,
it would be a nice piece of data for the ACGA website as well as the sign,
and the cityfarmer sites.  People could use the one bag amount to count what
their garden is doing.

Good news, while I'm here. Remember how I was begging
for advice, when advising a new community garden last
summer under somewhat challenging circumstances? It's
not only up and running, but the big local daily, The
Charlotte Observer, has been giving us lots of
coverage and positive press. There's even talk of
expanding the garden in the spring. Very cool, indeed.
Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

***Don, would they let the articles be archived on the ACGA (or other)
sites?  I'd enjoy reading them.

A short comment on Biointensive Gardening.  I believe in this manner of
gardening as long as you reach maximum productivity. But when it comes to
planting 50 different plants in a small space just to say it can be done
goes against being a "productive" garden.  In one bed, we planted
squash(spring), followed this with Purple Hull Peas (July) and finally
planted Tokyo Cross Turnips.  Thats what I call Biointensive Gardening.

***In a normal community garden plot or one where the whole garden is used
by one group like Jim's, I'd vote for larger beds of one (or 2-3 at most)
crops.  The planning and work is easier.  Where you have a small bed such as
the Florida Habitat ones or the Clinton ones which are in the 4x6 foot or
5x7 foot range it's helpful to maximize intensity and variety
simultaneously.  This can be done with strategic planning and good
organization of transplant preparation.  On any one day you won't harvest a
lot of one particular food, but you can get a good variety for a salad,
soup, or stirfry.

In a case of me overseeding 2 beds of broadcasted turnips, our yield will be
low if any.  This is what happens when you
have overcrowded plantings.  They compete for everything, water, nutrients,
above and below ground space, etc.

***Very true.  To maximize use of the land, it's helpful to plant
transplants at the right distances from the start.  Amazingly, if you are
careful, you can even transplant vegetables like tiny carrot seedlings.

This year, we went vertical on one planting of our cucumbers.  5 rows @ 40'
yielded over 500 lbs. See at... http://www.casagarden.com/cukes_03.htm
Plus, the volunteers loved harvesting them grown like this. We will
go with this format in the future for all our cucumbers.  We used cattle
fencing cable tied to 6' T-posts.  Everything
is reusuable except the cable ties which are cheap.

***Vertical is a big help with yields, plus you get straighter cucumbers.
When I do this, I find that they are also less damaged by bugs.  One thing
that I saw some other community gardeners doing this year was to grow each
cucumber plant in a tomato cage.  She had beautiful cucumbers and seemed to
have a bountiful crop, but I don't know how it compares per square foot to a
flat planting like cattle fencing cable.

Connie wrote: "As to how much a typical 4 X 8 bed produces, I've seen
everything from 4 pounds to 15 pounds.

Our typical GardenAngel gardens which are 4' by 8' normally yields at least
30 lbs and can go much higher if properly

***This could be an interesting experiment from around the country to see
what the maximums might be given different choices and growing conditions.
I'm planning on 4x9 for next year when I do my experiment for matching as
close as I can to Clinton garden's 5x7 with the 4 foot wide beds in my
garden (so will be 36 square feet instead of 35).

Oh yeah, I figured out our weed problem.  Next year, we will cut out
literally hundreds of hours of weeding.  News at eleven...

***Eyes alert, eager to read...


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