Twitter hour 28/11/16
Space planning – getting the most out of your plot. Hosted by Carol Siddorn from @Carolsgarden and Moa from @Carlssonandco with notes by Jill Smith @binningtonblooms
- Maximising cropping space and attaining the most achievable flower yields is good business practise. Good record keeping and detailed planning based on previous experiences is the first step to achieving this. If you haven’t your own records then use reference books or download plans However best laid plans will always be refined by seasonal conditions.
- plan succession planting to maximise use of beds which may require sometimes removing plants before totally finished to get another crop in. Helpful to make diary reminders to succession sow.
- over planting bulbs with annuals.
- using space efficiently in tunnels, it should be possible to get three crops in succession in a tunnel. Use all the tunnel area for growing – no benches etc. Stack plantings in mushroom trays.
- remember to feed soil with compost or fish blood and bone meal when growing multiple crops.
- plan beds to minimise time spent walking, consider which plants need to be closest to water supply/ packing shed/compost/plant supports. Plant in flowering order to make picking less time consuming. Separate annuals from perennials.
- compost heaps – have a number around the garden so less far to fill and distribute
- paths, reduce to a minimum, can be as narrow as 30cm
- spacing of plants – general consensus that planting closely is not detrimental, longer and straighter stems can be achieved. Some varieties can produce smaller flower heads if planted too close. Some recommended plant spacing: Dahlias (18″), bit more for dinner late ones, cosmos (18″), ammi and cornflower (12″), antirrhinums and stocks (6″). Bigger spacing for overwintering hardy annuals.
- Plan in detail before planting. Things to consider when planning: How much time do I have? How much money do I need to make from sales (stems sold)? How much labour does each crop require? When will each variety flower?
- Tools for planning: Calendar with full page/day, a planning book or diary, drawing detailed bedplan, spreadsheet.
- If limiting factor is time rather than space, then looking at time efficiencies is more important.