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Top 10 ways to grow more food in the same space

  1. Grow your own transplants and plant them at the most efficient spacing. Use pelleted seeds and a precision seeder when direct sowing to avoid wasting space.
  2. Grow in a hoophouse, caterpillar tunnel, or low tunnel. Yields and quality are significantly higher in an environment that is protected from wind, hail, rain, disease, and insects.
  3. Overwinter cold-tolerant crops under Quick Hoops™; they will start to grow very early in spring and be ready for harvest long before spring-planted crops.
  4. Use plastic mulches to warm soil, prevent weeds, repel insects, and increase yields.
  5. Protect crops from insect damage with floating row cover. Use support hoops for upright plants with growing tips that could be damaged by contact with the row cover.
  6. Use drip irrigation. Without wasting a drop, drip irrigation delivers the water plants need for steady growth.
  7. Companion plant for maximum space efficiency. For example, plant lettuce on the outer edges of a bed and tomatoes down the center; the lettuce will be ready for harvest by the time the tomatoes need space.
  8. Hoe regularly when weeds are tiny to keep them from competing with crops for water and nutrients.
  9. Graft tomatoes to reduce disease and increase yield, especially in heirlooms. Then prune and trellis them to improve air circulation, prevent disease, and focus the plant's energy on fruiting.
  10. Get a soil test and follow the recommendations for fertilizers and cover crops.

Lynn Byczynski is the editor of Growing for Market and the publisher of The Hoophouse Handbook.

Articles by

the author:
Lynn Byczynski was growing organic vegetables and cut flowers for market when she decided to create a magazine that would help market gardeners nationwide share experiences and information. Her first issue of Growing for Market appeared in January 1992 and it has been published continuously since then. GFM is renowned in the market gardening world for realistic articles that give growers practical, how-to information about growing and selling produce and flowers. Lynn is now partnering with Johnny's to provide similarly useful information for the website and other publications.

Lynn, her husband Dan Nagengast, and their two children have grown vegetables and cut flowers since 1988, selling through a CSA, at farmers markets, to chefs, grocery stores, and florists. They currently grow cut flowers and hoophouse tomatoes on about 2 acres of their 20-acre farm near Lawrence, Kansas.

Lynn is also the author of several books about market farming:
The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers; The Hoophouse Handbook; Market Farming Success

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