If you’ve recently bought land or have new plans to use your current land to start your own small farm, it’s important that you implement proper farming techniques to get the most out of your land. Even if you’re new to farm succession planning, you can practice the right steps that can increase your small farm’s productivity and help you grow more crops on your land. This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming, with well-grounded preparation you’ll be handling them in no time. Here are 8 farming techniques you can practice to fully optimise your farmland.
TRANSPLANT AS MANY CROPS AS POSSIBLE
While there are some crops such as carrots or radishes that will require direct-seeding, transplanting as many crops as you can, enables you to harvest more from a single bed throughout the course of the season. For example, rather than direct-seeding beets, you can transplant your beet seedlings as soon as they clock a few weeks old. By doing this, you’ll be creating enough space for that bed to grow another crop during that period. When you apply this transplanting technique on the entire farm, it’ll result in a great amount of room to grow more over the course of the season.
PLANT MORE CLOSELY
An easy way to get more produce from your growing area is to plant your crops closer together. Many farmers tend to ignore this farming technique by planting their crops much farther apart than is required thereby leaving a portion of the land to waste. Follow the spacing guidelines outlined by your seed company and squeeze out as much space as you can. Planting your crops does have its limitations such as inadequate circulation which can lead to disease. So it’s best that you practice disease control with spray tanks.
MAKE USE OF YOUR VERTICAL SPACE
Make use of the available vertical space in your growing area to get the most of your land. For instance, you can target areas within high tunnels and propagation spots. Utilise the vertical space within the areas by installing shelves along the north and south corners of your farmhouse to serve as additional support for transplants. Implementing this technique requires that you check your growing areas regularly and don’t forget to stack seeded trays that are yet to germinate.
With regards using space in high tunnels, you can begin by trellising your tomatoes, eggplant and peppers along a long cord tied to cables that run through the entire tunnel. In the long run, your plants will grow vertically rather than horizontally.
This farming technique has been practised successfully for thousands of years and continues to be used today. Crop rotation involves planting different crops within the same field but during different times. This process preserves the productive capacity of the soil because some plants gain nutrients from the soil while other plants contribute to the soil’s nutrients. Applying crop rotation maintains the fertility of the land due to the fact that the crops have a different mechanism of taking in nutrients. In addition to better soil structure, crop rotation also increases the ability to store carbons on farms.
AVOID TILLED FIELDS
In tilled fields, you will find that the soil is broken down to enhance crop growth. However, due to the soil’s loose texture, many farmers tend to avoid this practice as the soil can easily be blown away by wind or washed away by rain. Instead, they avoid breaking down the soil in order to maintain its structure when it rains or when the wind blows.
GROW PLANTS IN PERMANENT RAISED BEDS
The use of permanent raised beds has become easily adopted in the farming system due to the proper management of space it provides. While traditional farming systems space crops in single rows separated by tractor paths, permanent beds plant multiple rows of crops within beds with the same width. This farming technique leads to fewer pathways, more growing space and dense plantings.
A constant flipping of beds helps you get the most out of your growing area. Many farmers apply this approach by making use of cover crops to increase productivity. The soil is also more enriched as a result of the easy passage of nutrients. They plant cash crops such as in all of their beds without any pause while replanting the beds as soon as they were cleared out of a previous crop. Another approach involves making use of vegetables to protect the soil. While this method may not be suitable for all farmers, it is important that you implement the underlying principle which is to fully optimise all portions of your growing space to increase the production of your crops before putting up your farmland for sale.
Water harvesting involves the linkage and optimal use of rainfall with the use of various techniques to store as much water as possible out of each rainfall. The various systems and structures for harvesting water are specific to the culture in which they were set up. Among the many structures, you will find are directing water from rooftops, overflowing streams and rivers during the monsoon season or from other artificially installed systems. Practising this technique ensures that you have a reasonable quantity of rainwater and rural drinking water supply in case drought takes place.
Interplanting is Another farming technique that helps you get the most out of your growing area. This process involves growing different crops together at the same time. One way you can do this is by planting fast-growing crops such as kale or green onions together with a slow-growing vegetable such as pumpkin or cabbage which usually takes up to a few weeks to fill a bed. While certain types of crops are suitable for interplanting, some crops do not fair well together. So it’s important that you carry out some research before planting different types of crops together. Hydro vacuum excavation techniques can help break down the soil for improved planting.