in a plot of land, such as a field or orchard, the area occupied by a single plant. The feeding area, which is usually expressed in sq cm or sq m, is determined by the biological characteristics of the variety and age of the plant and by the conditions and purposes of cultivation. A proper feeding area ensures maximal use of sunlight and of moisture and nutrients from the soil, thus increasing the yield and quality of the harvest. It is often expressed in terms of the density of planting, that is, the number of plants per hectare (ha).
The most densely planted crops, such as common flax and herbs, number 20–30 million per ha. Their feeding area is 3-5 sq cm. Cereals are planted 5-6 million per ha, with a feeding area of 20-25 sq cm. Square-cluster plantings of corn have a density of 40,000 plants per ha and a feeding area of 0.25 sq m. Pumpkins are planted 2,000–3,000 per ha, and their feeding area is 3-5 sq m. Fruit crops have a density of 200–500 plants per ha and a feeding area of 20-50 sq m.
The feeding areas for tall crops (such as corn), plants with fruits developing on tall stocks, and late-maturing vegetables (such as cabbage) are larger than those for low-growing varieties, fruit crops with low stocks, and early maturing vegetables. Young vegetable and fruit plants do not make use of their entire feeding area during the early stages of vegetative growth. Thus, it is possible to sow or plant rapidly maturing crops in the interrow areas to make more productive use of the ground.
With a good regime of fertilization and irrigation, decreased feeding areas may produce maximum yields. For this reason, dense plantings are more productive on fertile fields. Larger feeding areas are provided for plants grown from seed.
REFERENCESRubtsov, M. I., and V. P. Matveev. Ovoshchevodstvo. Moscow, 1970.
Zemledelie, 2nd ed. Edited by S. A. Vorob’ev. Moscow, 1972.