You’ve probably seen pictures or videos of giant combines harvesting different types of crops. While that is one part of harvesting crops, there is a lot more that goes into the process. Furthermore, not all crops can be harvested with a combine, so some crops require manual labor instead. Here’s everything that goes into harvesting crops:
- Seeding - There are many different methods of seeding used depending on the crop being planted. However, this is the first and most important step in producing a bountiful harvest. The farmer will collect soil samples and make sure the soil is properly fertilized so that the seeds will germinate, take root, and start to grow.
- Growing - While the crops are growing, farmers still have plenty to do, including more fertilizing. Some farmers perform a “side dress,” which entails applying more fertilizer alongside plants after they have started to grow. There is also a process called gleaning where farmers let people pick undesirable crops that wouldn’t be sold and use them to provide food for the hungry in the area. Gleaning can also occur after the harvest when there are leftover crops standing in the fields.
- Delivering Crops - Harvesting generally occurs in late summer and early fall, so many farmers pre-sell their crops for the following spring or summer, especially if they can get better prices for them. Farmers who do this will need to clear out their grain bins by late summer in order to make room for the new crops that are yet to be harvested.
- Maintenance - The growing period is also a prime time for farmers to make any necessary repairs to their machinery since they will need everything ready to go when it’s time to harvest their crops.
- Final Harvest - Late summer into fall is usually the time when crops are ready to be harvested. For many crops, farmers will use a combine to easily pick and separate their crops from the stalk. However, certain plants require handpicking and take much more time to harvest.
At Healthy Harvest Food Bank, we operate as a local farm to food bank to help solve hunger in Virginia. We provide hope in the communities we serve through the right food and education as part of our core programs. Volunteerism is vital to our success as we rely on donations and volunteers to continue our crucial work providing food to almost 9,000 people a month. From June-December, we’ll need even more help from volunteers with our gleaning and harvesting efforts. Find out how you can get involved and help feed those in need today!