3 Tips to Increase Your Harvest

As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links on this website. I only link to products that I use myself and have found helpful.

Increase Yields, grow more food

If you are going through the trouble of growing your own food, you want to make sure you are getting the most for all your hard work. There are some ways to increase your yields that will help you get more food production.

Soil! Soil! Soil!

Seriously your soil and more importantly the nutrients in your soil make a huge difference in the amount of production you are going to get. I cannot stress enough how important your soil is. If you have poor soil you will struggle to get a decent yield from any plant. Adding compost is a great way to help your soil. You will be adding nutrients and organic matter through compost which will also encourage microorganisms to thrive. You want worms and other little bugs working to break down all that organic matter into the nutrients that your plants can use. You can buy worm castings to add to your soil, or you can build up your soil to encourage earthworms to live in your soil. Earthworms will loosen soil and create little air pockets that will help your plants grow and hold moisture as well as providing all the castings you need. Check out my previous post about Compost.

Crop Rotation

This kind of relates back to the soil but also has to do with controlling pests. Rotating your crops from year to year, so you are not growing your tomatoes in the same spot two years in a row for example, will help keep you from depleting nutrients in the soil. Each plant type will need certain nutrients. Some plants, like legumes will provide nitrogen to the soil. You will want to rotate where you plant your crops. There are several ways you can think about crop rotation. Often you will see charts that move through roots/fruits/leaves/legumes. Other times you think of the rotation as high feeder/giver/low feeder plants. Either way you are looking at what a plant group needs from or gives to the soil. This variety will help improve your soil over time and will keep pests from getting established. There are many types of pest that can damage your crop, from bugs to soil borne diseases. If you are moving your crops regularly you are not allowing the pest time to accumulate in that area. Crop rotation can be a simple process or quite complicated depending on how many crops you are growing and how you are mixing in companion plants. Mother Earth News has two articles one either end of this spectrum. For a simple 4 crop rotation check out Simple Crop Rotation for Organic Gardening by Erik Theil. You can find a deeper dive that covers a technique for planning a 9-crop rotation in Maintaining Healthy Soil with Crop Rotation by Barbara Pleasant.

Companion Planting

This is going to sound corny but just like people, plants thrive with friends. There are several reasons for this. Companion plants can provide nutrients, shade, and support. When they are not competing for the same nutrients you can grow more in a smaller area. The soil will hold water better when it is shaded by the other plants, and you will have fewer weeds as they are not able to compete with your other plants. My favorite example of great companions is the traditional three sisters. Corn, beans, and squash. The corn provides the support for the pole beans, the beans provide nitrogen and the squash shades the soil with its large leaves, keeping in moisture and reducing weeds. All three species are doing better than they would if grown separately and you end up with three crops in the space that you would normally use for one. Another great example of companion plants is tomatoes and basil. The basil thrives in the shade of the tomato plant and helps prevent bugs from eating your tomatoes. The basil fits nicely in between the tomato plants so without using any extra space, you now have two crops instead of just one and both are healthier and more productive. Tomato and basil pair well together in your salad also, so it is quite convenient to have them in the same bed.

An added side benefit I have found of companion planting, is that I can focus my time and energy in these areas of higher production. I have less weeding, and I don’t get burned out because I can see the progress and production with the little time I have. It is also easier to get everything watered and taken care of if you have plants grouped together in a smaller area.

Implementing these three tips will increase your crop yields, making you and your garden more productive. How much more produce can you get out of your garden space?


Make sure you sign up for our newsletter for more tips and tricks around the homestead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *