Planting Considerations

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Planting season is fast approaching for home gardeners and commercial vegetable growers. Ground prep is underway and plans are being made for the upcoming growing season. One of the decisions that growers face is what variety of vegetables to grow. Let’s take a look at some of the things that go into making these decisions.

Things to consider when choosing what variety of vegetables to grow.

  • What market are you growing for: retail, wholesale, or processing?
  • How is your product going to be packaged?
  • Of course, disease resistance and susceptibility should always be considered

The market that your produce is going to plays a huge role in choosing the right variety to grow. Every market has a different standard and size requirement. For example, a retail market may want a smaller size but want everything uniform. This is so that it will look good on the shelf or in a display. If the product is going into a wholesale market, the weight may be more important than the size and uniformity. Whereas a processor may not be as concerned with size but more with weight and uniformity. Therefore, it is very important to choose the variety that will produce the product that meets your needs or market requirements.

How your produce is packaged is also something to consider when deciding what varieties to grow. Some crops are sold by a count; some are sold by weight and some are sold by volume. A great example of this is sweet corn. A crate of sweet corn contains 48-52 ears of corn. The crate needs to be full but not over full. So, if you have a crate of corn that has 48 ears in it and it is bulging, then the ears are too large. Likewise, if you have a crate of corn that has 52 ears in it and the crate is not full, then they are too small. Of course your market may not require corn to be in a crate. Processors may want it in a bulk bin and be a certain weight so the size of ears is not as important as weight. If you are selling at a tailgate market, packaging is not as important because it is probably sold by the piece. 

When growing vegetables, diseases are always a concern. Choosing varieties that have resistance to common diseases can go a long way toward producing a good crop. In addition, keep in mind there are different levels of resistance. Some may be very resistant where others may only have a little resistance. Most seed and plant suppliers will advertise the level of resistance to certain diseases. There are also some crops that can be grown that have insect resistance. 

Choosing the right variety to grow along with good cultural practices can make your backyard garden or commercial operation a success. Remember those good veggies at your July 4th cookout start now. 

For more information, contact N.C. Cooperative Extension of Yancey County @ 828-682-6186