Sattin Hill Market Farming Course Module 12: Transplanting & Interplanting (FSFS250)

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Episode Summary

This episode of Farm Small Farm Smart features the twelfth module of the Sattin Hill Market Farming Course, where Josh Sattin talks about the benefits of transplanting and interplanting, as well as the strategies and techniques he uses to transplant and interplant. 

Today’s Guest: Josh Sattin

Josh Sattin is a farmer at Sattin Hill Farm in Raleigh, North North Carolina. As an educator and professional videographer, Josh has published hundreds of educational farming videos on his YouTube to help make a difference in the local farming and foodscape.

            Josh Sattin – YouTube | Instagram | Website

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • An overview of the Sattin Hill Farm Course Module 12 (01:05)
  • Why Josh prefers transplanting over direct seeding (01:15)
  • Considerations before transplanting (02:28)
    • Bed prep (02:30)
    • Harden off transplants (02:42)
    • Time of day to transplant (03:18)
  • Transplanting tools and techniques (03:38)
    • Measuring tape (04:27)
    • String lines (05:17)
    • Gridder (05:38)
  • How Josh plants in his transplants (07:40)
  • Hardened off transplants don’t need babying (09:39)
  • Josh’s transplant spacing techniques (10:58)
  • Transplanting with the help of the Paperpot Transplanter (12:28)
  • Employing shade cloth for new transplants (13:20)
  • Instead of shade cloth, use holed landscape fabric (13:54)
  • The difference between interplanting and companion planting (15:28)
    • Interplanting is not a beginner technique (15:50)
    • Timing is a challenge in interplanting (16:02)
  • Why should you consider interplanting? (16:42)
    • Increase yield per bed (16:47)
    • Increase diversity (16:54)
    • Control crop output (17:20)
  • Interplanting crop combinations that has worked for Josh (18:00)
    • Don’t go too crazy with the crop combinations (19:19)

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FSFS250 (SHFC #12)

[00:00:00] Diego Footer: Welcome to farm small farm smart. I'm your host Diego, DIEGO. Today, it's module 12 of the Sattin hill farm course. And this module farmer, Josh satin is going to be talking about transplanting and interplay. If you want to watch this module, you can do so on Josh's YouTube channel. And if you want to get additional resources related to this module, you can do so at

[00:00:30] And while you're there, you can enter a contest to win a Jang seeder. For more information about that contest, check out the link below. Now let's get into it. Module 12 with farmer Josh Sattin.

[00:00:44] Josh Sattin: Welcome to module 12 of the satin hill farm course. This module is all about transplanting and inner planting.

[00:00:50] And before we get into it, I just have to have a huge state store sponsor paper, pod co, without the help of Diego and paper, pod co, this entire course will be possible. And payer pods can be doing a giveaway. So if you want to hear what that's all about, make sure you stick around and find out about it later on in the video.

[00:01:05] In this module, I'll be going over why you should be transplanted crops, techniques for transplanting alternative techniques and interplanting.

[00:01:15] I definitely prefer to transplant as many crops as possible as opposed to direct seeding. And the biggest reason for me is that I can get a bigger yield. And for me, as I said, many times throughout this course, I have a very small farm. So any way that I can increase the yield on my smaller acreage, I'm going to try to do it.

[00:01:31] Now. Let me explain why this is the case. If you are starting seeds in the nursery, they're going to, they're going to grow for, let's say three or four weeks before you put them in the ground. While those are germinating and starting to grow in the nursery. You can have other crops in the beds that they're going into.

[00:01:45] And in those three or four weeks, those crops will be getting to maturity. You'll be harvesting them and then cropping them out. And so basically you get more output per bed. Now, the other thing here is that when you are just getting started, and let's see you're doing a lot of direct seeded stuff. You might have spotty germination or inconsistent growth or whatever, but the cool thing about transplants is that when you're taking them out and putting them in the ground, you can just select the best transplants and you can also select the layout and the density in the beds.

[00:02:13] So your beds will be perfectly full to give you the maximum amount of yield. So you can, as you can see, when you're on small acreage and you're trying to eat out as much yield as possible, the best thing you can do is try to transplant as much as you can.

[00:02:28] Couple of things we need to talk about before we get into the actual transplanting, make sure you have your beds prepped and ready to go when your twin transplants are ready to go out. So make sure that time it works out. If you're interested in learning about how to prepare your bed, please go check out module six.

[00:02:40] I go through all my methods. The other thing you need to make sure you do is harden off your transplants, which I talked about in the last module, module 11. So once you have your bed ready and you're hurting off, you can go through and pick out the best possible starts. And you can do that as you�re putting the transplants out into the field.

[00:02:54] The transplants should be moist, but they shouldn't be soaking wet because if they're soaking with them, I fall apart, especially for using, um, cell trays. But what you want to do is make sure they have a little bit of moisture because when you put them in the ground, often the ground is a little bit dry, and the soil will suck all the moisture out.

[00:03:13] So having them a little bit moist will give you, give them a better head start. Time of day also matters, especially with leafy greens and stuff like that. I recommend trying to transplant out as late into the day as possible, especially if you're in the warmer months. If you transplant them out in the morning or midday, they're going to get full sun and full heat and they're gonna get really stressed.

[00:03:31] So again, if you can do it later in the day, uh, I think that could be really helpful. So those are the main tips to think about. Now let's get into tools and techniques. I strongly recommend that you figure out a system to get your transplants out an orderly and repeatable way. And there's a couple of reasons for this one is if you are measuring out your transplants in terms of your spacing, what it�ll allow you to do is dial in your spacing and make sure you're maximizing your yield.

[00:03:59] So if you pick a spacing and you notice it's too far apart or too close together, you can then make changes on future transplants and make sure you're maximizing yield in this space. The other thing I really try to tell people is to focus on straight rows and making sure you're planting a straight as possible.

[00:04:14] And the reason for this is that it's much easier to cultivate. So when you come through with a colinear hoe or a wire weeder, which we'll talk about in a later module, if you have nice straight rows, it makes cultivation super, super easy. It also looks awesome. But, uh, all right. So the first method that I used to do transplants in my farm was using something like this.

[00:04:33] This is just a. Uh, a measuring tape and these were great. The only thing is, um, what I realized was after I went to Raleigh city farm, this didn't work as well because it was a lot more confusing to explain the system to people. But if you just put this down here, And you pull it all the way down to the end, and then you can use the tape measure to figure out the spacing and just go.

[00:04:58] So if you're doing every six inches, every eight inches, you can just transplant a way. Now, some people, when they get started, how trouble visualizing the lines of the transplants. So some people take a rake with a couple pieces of pipe on it and drag it through there. Like the three or four after you hit a few times, you can definitely.

[00:05:14] Um, do that without it you'll get used to planting a straight lines. The other thing that really helps too, which I talked about in the, the bed prep section is use string lines. So I always have string lines on here when I'm preparing the bed. I leave them on until I finished my either direct seeding or transplanting, because it allows me to plant really straight, like I was talking about.

[00:05:33] So the tape measure is great. It's cheap, easy to, to get going. Um, But one thing we did was we picked up this gridder and the gridder is great. Cause it simplifies a lot of things. You don't have to think very much when you're, when you're out there working. And especially if you have a crew and you're trying to train our volunteers, this is kind of like foolproof.

[00:05:52] And so let me explain a little bit how this works and how you use it. So they come in different number, um, gritter pieces. This is the four. And so it's easy to figure out because that's a 30 inch. There's going to be four rows. So you take 30 divided by four, you get seven and a half. So it's seven and a half inches.

[00:06:09] So this will plant out four rows, seven and a half inches, uh, between the plants and they sell them in other ones. So for example, the three is going to be 10 inches or 30 inches divided by three, which gives you 10 inches. So that would give you three rows, 10 inches apart. Now you don't have to plant just on the markings.

[00:06:29] You can, you can improvise, you can come up with your own strategies depending on what you're trying to plant. For example, with beets, I use the three roller, but I plant them five inches apart. So I just plant them, you know, on every marketing and then in between the markings and there's a whole bunch of different ways.

[00:06:44] You can use this tool to figure out different in alternative spacings. So you can get really creative with it, but allows you a really good starting point. And I found that when you're getting people on your farm that don't have a ton of experience with this, it really helps. It also helps me. Cause I don't have to think here and sit here and think about spacing and stuff like that. I roll this out and it just works. So let me show you how this works.

[00:07:08] So you can push it or pull it. I tend to push it. So, I'm just going to put this here. And of course, like I was saying before with the string lines, it really does help. I just roll this out.

[00:07:23] As you can see, it's pretty quick that was marking out the whole bed. So for this, this is a four roller. So we're going to planting lettuce into this bed. It's pretty straight forward. So bed is prepped and all marked out. Now get to transplanting, gonna transplant these lettuces into this bed. And I got my transplants ready to go here.

[00:07:45] As I said, they're a little bit moist, which is perfect. And these are my soil blocks. So if you're curious about soil blocks, how to make them, why I use them, check out the last module, module 11. And so what I do here, I just go through. And I take out a bunch and I just drop them on all of the sort of cross hairs, right.

[00:08:07] Everything that was marked out. So come through pretty quickly. And what I'll do is I'll just do this for a bunch. And while I'm doing this, I'm definitely looking at each plant, making sure that they look strong. If they don't look strong, then I won't transplant them. Cause there's no point. And remember, you always got to start a few extra so that you have some to choose from.

[00:08:35] And as you can see, these are all germinated and looking pretty strong. So that's awesome. And so, yeah, this is the time that you can go through and actively select which ones you want to use. And so I'll usually lay out a bunch at a time. And then come through and do the transplanting. What I'm doing this, not on camera.

[00:08:56] I will probably lay out the whole tray�s worth at a time and come through and put them in the ground pretty quickly. And after you get a hang of this, it goes pretty fast. But right now, let me just show you what I'm doing here. Now, if you lay out a whole bunch at once, just be careful that they don't dry out because you want to make sure these stay nice and moist.

[00:09:10] Like I was saying before. So I'm going to come through here and show you how I trick. I put them in the ground and there's a couple of ways you can do this one way is to kneel on the ground like this, and then work. Which is fine too. I find that, um, I don't really like that. And the wood chips, um, if I'm wearing shorts or hurt my knees too, I tend to straddle the beds, which is worse on your back, but I moved pretty quickly and just, I'm very conscious about it.

[00:09:33] So let me show you how that works. Now, another thing I want to point out about transplanting is that a lot of people, um, sort of overly baby the plants when they're going in the ground, if they are strong transport, And they're hard enough properly, then they just still grow. So just get them in the ground.

[00:09:49] And so with this, all I'm doing is sort of taking the soil, moving it out, putting the plant in, closing it up. So as I'm moving pretty quickly, it's like two fingers. Open it up, put it in, close it, two fingers, open it up, put it in closing. And so you can see that I've done a lot of this before. And when you first get started, you might have a different sense of this, but you'll see that it starts to go pretty quickly, got all these transplants in and it looks awesome.

[00:10:25] Like I said, nice and straight, great for cultivating and also, uh, running drip lines. And so if you watch the last module about nursery management and seed starting, I talked about how you have to then dial in, you know, how many cell soil blocks you make for each bed of transplant? So this is what I have leftover from three trays, which is perfect.

[00:10:43] I'll often throw this back in the nursery. If any of these don't make it, I can come in and fill in some holes. And the other thing you could do is which we'll talk about later is filling holes in other beds that might have other crops in them. So now that these are all done, I really want to make sure that I get them watered in right away.

[00:10:58] Now that I got that bed all transplanted and watered in, I want to talk a little bit more about spacing, cause I did talk very briefly about it. So this, I bring the three by gritter over this bed because I'm a transplant beats in here and the three by greater, remember it's uh, uh, 30 inches divided by three, which gives you a 10 inch spacing in between plants.

[00:11:16] And so for me, what I will do is for beets, I want them three rows at five inches. So we'll plant them at the cross hairs, but also in between the cross hairs. So I'll go through like this. And that'll give me three rows at five inches. Now I would do the same thing. If I was doing green onions, I haven't grown them lately, but that would do the same thing for green onions.

[00:11:35] If I was doing, let's say kale, for example, I like those three rows. It's a little tight at 10 inches. So what I like to do is I just offset them. And the way you do that is I would plant two at the ends and then the row in the middle, I'll offset it by putting it in the middle. So again, at the cross here, In the middle.

[00:11:56] And so that allows the plants a little bit more room when you offset them. So as you can see, there's a lot of different options here. Uh, you can get these different grid grids and then figure out how to work for your systems. And once you practice a few times and see what spaces you like, then you can repeat it and get really big yields.

[00:12:16] As you can see, transplanting is pretty straightforward. The biggest thing is making sure that you have really strong transplants going out into the field, you get your timing, right? And then once you have all that sorted out, you can start dialing in your spacings and really increase your yields.

[00:12:28] A couple more things I want to talk about in terms of transplanting, the first of which let's talk about the paper pot transplanter, not just because the course is sponsored by paper pot, but I think it has been an instrumental tool for a lot of market gardeners.

[00:12:39] In fact, I personally haven't used it, uh, on my farm here. I don't think it works in my context is because of the tight tunnels and stuff like that. But I know a lot of farmers that have really implemented it into their systems and it's been the term game changer, but I know that gets overused a lot, but absolutely game changer.

[00:12:55] I know people have designed their farms sort of around the paper pot system and it's allowing them to get transplants out in the field super fast, especially when you have a short season and you have a lot of transplants to do early in the season, it can be super helpful. I really recommend you go check out paper, pod co for the paperback transplanter, but also if you have questions or want more information, it's something that can work for a lot of people.

[00:13:16] Uh, I just haven't personally used it, so I can't speak on experience, but I know plenty of farmers that have. In addition to that, there's some other things you might want to think about transplanting. Um, one is. So what some people will do, especially in the warmer months is when they're transplanting, leafy greens like lettuce and stuff out in the field, they'll put shade cloth over beds for the first week or so to ease that transition because the sunlight can be super, super harsh.

[00:13:38] So that might be something you want to consider. I know a lot of people had great success of that, especially in the south, trying to get stuff established the first few days or even the first day is the most crucial for the transplants you want to make sure they're super happy. And what I mentioned before, trying to transplant late in the day and also watering them in is super important.

[00:13:54] Another thing is using landscape fabric with holes in it. And so I mentioned this in an earlier module about using that to help occultate or just, you know, kill things that are growing underneath and at the same time transplant in. But if you have landscape fabric with holes at designated spacings for certain.

[00:14:10] You can lay that out and then transplant right into it. You don't have to measure anything. I've also heard that landscape fabric can actually help keep the soil cooler, even though it's black. It actually reduces the soil temperature. So I didn't get to experiment that I was going through the summer, but as I said, I'm not going to be growing in the summer here, but those are some other options and things to think about with transplanting.

[00:14:31] Let me jump in real quick and take a minute to talk about our. as I mentioned at the beginning of this module, this entire course is sponsored by . I'm amazed at the continued support and generosity of Diego and to the farming community, in addition to making this course possible, which I honestly wouldn't be able to do and give away for free without their support.

[00:14:51] They're going to be doing a giveaway of several Jang seeders. That's right. Several genes. And I'll be talking about seeding and all that stuff in the next module. So if you're interested in having a chance to get one of these Cedars, there'll be a link down the description below for you to check out.

[00:15:05] Also head over, to pay pod code, to check out the tools, equipment, and supplies they have for sale. They're a great place to buy things from, in addition to all this Diego's an awesome podcaster and YouTube has to check out his podcast, farm small farmer smart and Cara cashflow. Also, there are additional resources for this course over at paper,

[00:15:24] Back to the module.

[00:15:28] Interplanting is essentially planting two or more different kinds of crops in the same bed. Now, a lot of people will talk about this as companion planting, companion planting in my mind is planting two crops. That's that benefit biologically some way with each other. And so for me, I don't really think about that way.

[00:15:43] I think about it in interplanting more than one crop in a bed so that I can increase yield and increase diversity. This is not a beginner technique. I really can't stress this enough. This is something that you shouldn't just, if you're starting out, go for, you really need to master all the crops that you're putting in the bed separately before you start mixing them together and timing.

[00:16:03] Is a big challenge with enjoy planting for a couple of reasons. First of all, you want to make sure that the transplants going out into the field are already at the same time. So I'll talk about some specific combos that I liked, but one was lettuce and green onion. Well, green onion takes like five or six weeks in the nursery and let us take three or four weeks.

[00:16:21] So if you want to transplant those out together, you're going to have to start the green onion earlier. Now, the other part of it is the timing in the ground, because some things grow faster. Some things grow taller you to understand the cycle of each crop, because if one crop gets so big that it overgrows and shades out, the other crop will, then you're going to lose that crop.

[00:16:39] And maybe both crops start struggling. Now, why would you want to do inter planting? Cause it sounds like it could be a pain. Okay. First thing is you can get more yield, right? Because you have a little bit extra space and there's some times where you can grow something before something else fills out the bed.

[00:16:54] You can also increase diversity, which I really love and talk about in the living soil section, right? We're talking about the best way to create living soil is keep the ground covered. Keep the ground planted, disturb as little as possible and create diversity. So in addition to planting each bed different from each other next to each other, this is usually the goal, but also if you can have diversity of crops in each.

[00:17:15] That contributes to getting, uh, Living soil. The other thing is if you need to control the output of a crop, so you let's say you planted a whole bed of green onions, them is a lot of green onions. And if you can't sell all that well, what do you do? Do you plan a half a bed? Do you plant, you know, do you limit the amount of planting?

[00:17:35] Well, one thing to do is just plant less Roosevelt and interplant it. So if generally I'm planting three rows of green onion in a bed, and I don't need that much coming out at once. Like the succession would work. It'd be too much ready at one time I can enter plant one row or two rows into a bad. And that'll give me the yield I want.

[00:17:52] So you can really control the output based on, you know, the number of rows you're putting in a bed by planting

[00:18:01] let's talk combinations here and there almost infinite combinations. I just want to let you know what some of the ones I've used and some ones I've had good luck with the best thing which I mentioned before was green onions and lettuce. I love that combo because as I said, I can plant less green onion.

[00:18:16] Would if I planted a whole bed and, well, the thing about green onions as they grow straight up and the lettuce kind of grows out. So they don't really interfere each other too much, but you have to really make sure what the timing you get the timing right on that. Otherwise you can get into a disaster.

[00:18:28] One of the easiest ways to get started with inter planting is planting stuff on the sides of taller crops that take a long time, for example, tomatoes, peppers cucumbers, you know, when you're putting them in the ground and there's, you know, there's seedlings like this, they take at least like a month or maybe even longer to get tall and start shooting things out.

[00:18:46] Well, in that time period, you can grow something along the side. So things that I like to put on the side are lettuce and beets. Uh, peppers and beets works really well. I did cucumbers and. I think any of those combinations of tomatoes, peppers, peppers, cucumbers with letters or beat work really well. The other thing you can do, if you don't necessarily have transplants ready to go for the.

[00:19:07] Is, you can direct seed quick growing crops. You can just use your Cedar after you plant your tomatoes, for example, and then run down the side with something quick, like radish or rugala. So there's a lot of options out there. Uh, as I said, I don't recommend that you just go crazy on your whole farm because you can actually lose both crops if you're not careful.

[00:19:26] But I do recommend that you experiment with this just a little bit every year and get a little more comfortable with it. Maybe not your first year, but after you get a good feeling of. It's kind of fun to play with. Also, like I mentioned earlier, if you have extra transplants like lettuce, if you have spotty germination, like let's say you planted carrots and you didn't have good germination, you can go through and fill in empty spaces with, with lettuce heads and harvest those out.

[00:19:48] It kind of looks funky, but again, it's space. That's not having anything. You might as well get some yield out of it. So there's a lot of ways that you can implement inter planting in your farm.

[00:20:02] Well, that about wraps up transplanting and inter planting. And as I keep saying, I really recommend that you dial in your nursery game, get really high quality starts going into the field and then get really good at transplanting and making sure the beds are nice and full to give you the biggest. As I continually say the biggest thing about small-scale farming is getting the most yield in a small space and this strategy of transplanting and sometimes enjoy planting can definitely do that.

[00:20:27] Remember there will be live Q and A's every Monday at 3:00 PM. Eastern, the next module will be about direct sales. Oh, see you there, there,

[00:20:36] Diego Footer: you have it. Module 12 of the satin hill farm course. If you want to watch this module, you can do so on. Josh's YouTube channel, which I've linked to below. And if you want to learn more about this module, you can do so at paper,

[00:20:49] And on that page, you can enter a contest to win a Jang. That's all for this one. Thanks for listening until next time. Be nice. Be thankful and do the work.


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