Vegetable Production Planning

Anyone can put seeds in the ground and grow a lot of food. But if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it, it can be a problem. Market plans, production plans, and work plans are critical when you sell fresh produce.

Susan Jutz of Solon, Iowa, has been growing vegetables for a CSA – or Community Supported Agriculture – program for over 20-years. She says the more organized you are in January, the better the rest of the year will go. Start by pouring over last year’s records.

"I have harvest and yield data. We have workers who work on our farm, we have time sheets, we look at that to see where the work load was and what I need to change. We have planting plans, we have very detailed planting plans. Crop rotation is a part of it, cover crop data," says Jutz. "Everybody needs to have a business plan, and know what your goals are, and what those needs are for your family."

Have a production plan for your markets. What do your customers like, and how much do you need to produce to meet those needs?

Carmen Black works on the farm with Jutz. She says a planting diagram and schedule is critical because the challenge is to have a high-quality product when you need it throughout the growing season.

"Some important things here, is that we have the distance apart in the row, number of days till harvest from transplant, and then different dates here in our target harvest date," says Black. "So these are just things when you’re making your own planting plans that you might want to have on there. Things to think through."

This is also the time to order seeds from those big, beautiful seed catalogs you’re getting in the mail. Jutz says if you sit down with those catalogs and don’t have a plan, you can spend a lot of money on seeds that will just sit in the cupboard.