Crow's Footing Increases Crop Yields By 15%


For those keen on agriculture I would like to draw your attention to 'Crow's Footing,' which is a way of planting seeds that was told to me by my grandfather, Stanley Buxton. Instead of planting seeds in a set distance between rows we can use equilateral triangles to plant the seeds. The rows are closer together but the seed rows are planted out of sync with the rows on either side. In this way he found it possible to increase food production by 15% on his market garden. This is an interesting statistic for those with 'green fingers' and I have been campaigning to have it used in the Third World for many years. Not only can the amount of 'cash crops' be increased, but more importantly, so can subsistence crops, which are much more important.


Mathematical Proof


We must subtract the triangle are used from the square area used, so we must use Pythagoras to work out the distance between rows of a crop planted in triangles, the unit of length being the distance that any particular plant has to be away from any other.


Height of a triangle can be worked out:


a squared + b squared (the height) = c squared


b squared = c squared – a squared


b squared = 1 squared- 0.5 squared


b squared = 1 – 0.25


b squared = 0.75


b = square root of 0.75


b= 0.866


Given that the distance between plants is the same whether planted in squares or triangles then:


1-0.866 = 0.134


Thus reducing size of earth needed by 13.4%, which means that:


1 / 0.866 approximately equals 1.155, or 15% crop increase


For example, a field of 100 x 100 units ( a unit being the distance between plants) could have 10,000 square planted plants, but a field of the same size planted in equilateral triangles could have 10,000 divided by 0.866 = 11547 plants, an increase of 1,547 plants. Who needs expensive Genetically Modified crops (1.7% crop increase) with that free increase?


It must be noted that if a crop only has two rows, then there will be no benefit in cropping in equilateral triangles if there are seven or less plants in each row due to the edge of the triangle at each end wasting a small amount of space, any greater cultivated area than this gives an advantage.


Planting Method for Maximum Plant Size


Plants in the UK usually begin life in compost, which is good for seedling's growth because it is soft, and thus is easier on the roots. The problem for plant growth comes when those planting the young plants plant them in the relatively hard soil at a later date; this is because the roots have difficulty adjusting to the hard soil, and thus the adult plants will be stunted. To get a larger adult plant we need to mix compost with the soil they are going to be planted into in equal measures, this will give the roots time to toughen up in the mixture before they meet the hard soil later; this gives a larger plant and thus will increase crop production.`