Courtesy of Roxanne C., Philadelphia PA
The advantage of using a system like SPIN-Farming is that it provides benchmarks to guide your business and measure your progress in highly specific terms. Let’s take a look at what comprises SPIN’s benchmarks, and how they all add up.
SPIN’s units of production are:
> A bed = 50 sq. ft. (it measures 2 ft. x 25 ft.)
> A segment = 1,000 sq. ft. (many backyards can accommodate this size plot, with a typical dimension being 25 ft. x 40 ft.)
SPIN’s revenue benchmarks are:
> $100 gross per crop, per bed
> $1,300 gross per crop per segment
SPIN’s relay cropping techniques are:
> bi-relays in which 2 or more crops are grown in the same bed or segment, per season
> intensive relays in which 3 or more crops are grown in the same bed or segment, per season
Relay cropping doubles or triples production and therefore revenue, without expanding the growing space. You can think of it as intensifying your growing space.
Putting these benchmarks into play on a half acre, which is about the size of many suburban backyards, goes something like this.
1 segment = 13 beds and $1,300 gross revenue
a half acre = about 20,000 sq. ft., or 20 segments
20 segments = $26,000 gross revenue
If you intensify the half acre by using relay cropping, you can at least double or triple your revenue, like this:
20 segments in bi-relays (2 crops/season) = $52,000 gross revenue
20 segments in intensive relays (3 crops/season) =$78,000 gross revenue
Since relay cropping is labor intensive, the exercise becomes, how can you intensify your half acre, without incurring labor costs, or keeping them to a minimum? So to make the work load manageable for you and a partner, and occasional help, you might use your 20,000 sq.ft. to target $55,900, broken down like this:
5 segments in single crop production = $6,500 gross revenue
7 segments in bi-relays = $18,200 gross revenue
8 segments in intensive relays = $31,200 gross revenue
As you can see, the options are many, and the result is a system for generating specific, steady and predictable income throughout the season. But since farming is never steady state, the system is adjustable throughout the season, and from year to year.
Playing with SPIN numbers is not an academic exercise. It’s the basis for your business, production and operational plans. All you need to do is get with the system.
Here is a bed of spinach past its prime being tilled under and readied for the planting of a second crop. Planting several crops sequentially, one right after the other, in the same bed throughout the season is called relay cropping. It double or triples the revenue you can make from a single plot.