Farmer’s market

Garden redo 6.0!

So if we ever started a YouTube channel, our video and discussion themes would be Market Gardening…What NOT to do.

2011 – The plot that would become our market garden

 

When we bought this farm, it was predominantly pasture.  A blank slate of opportunity.

We have a passion for great food, cooking, as well as for all things outdoors.  The thought crossed our minds about how cool it might be if the farm could generate extra income while feeding us and others.  So we broke ground with only a cursory knowledge of backyard gardening (no marketing research, no sales experience, no on-hands market gardening experience and a load of debt to boot).

Six years later, we are on our 6th iteration of what we want our gardens to be like.  We’ve discovered another farm doing truly amazing things (Neversink Farm) and have bought in to the Neversink philosophy of simplification and standardization (not that we never wanted this, but we are taking the time to devote all our energy to these things for the first time ever).

After several years of “seat of the pants” and “do what we can when we can with what we have” farming, we are redoing EVERYTHING to create a standardized system, focusing on ease of management and maximized production.  Sounds dreamy doesn’t it?  We are excited.  After all, we are getting older, and we want to farm as long as we are able to remain upright.

Here’s what’s in there works:

The first 30’x50′ plot getting amended with compost

 

All of our planting beds are being remade.  For years, we worked off of raised beds that were just made. By that I mean we eyeballed everything and just made the beds.  The result?  Beds of different widths and lengths despite our best intentions.  Now we are flattening everything and making standard beds of 30 inches wide and 50 feet long.  The planting beds will be in 30 feet blocks.

The benefits – the standardization of planting beds will make amendment application simple and less wasteful.

We’ll get a better idea (read that as an idea period) of what our production yields are per bed.

Easier to instruct others what to do, where to do it, and how to do it if everything is standardized.

Additionally, things like row covers will all be the same length and can be used interchangeably between the beds making storage of such items worlds easier.

We are still utilizing black fabric especially since the entire garden is being tilled to flatten it out for the planting bed reconstruction.

Black fabric may be in our garden plants for a couple or more years due to the fact the garden was previously pasture, is surrounded by pasture, and has a history of weeds.  Tilling will disturb the soil and bring weed seeds to the surface.  The black fabric will be essential for weed control at least initially.  Sure, it is less efficient and will limit yields, but the fabric can be used for many years and will be huge for managing/limiting weeds.  The other benefits of the black fabric are that erosion is virtually eliminated, the soil is warmed, and moisture is retained well beneath the fabric.

2019 – Burning holes in the black fabric

 

Having 30 feet by 50 feet blocks of planting beds also will help simplify rotations of our crops.

Why go through all of this change?  Well, because we really want to do things right and do them exceptionally well.  Farming does not equal perfection, but it does challenge us to constantly learn and improve.  We are excited about the changes although it has been and still will be a lot of work to get all the planting areas redone.

Yesterday, we transplanted about 1500 plants into our first block of beds.

2019 – First transplants going in!

 

These beauties should be ready for harvest in May.  Come find us at The Marketplace in Pulaski, VA on Tuesdays starting May 14th or at the downtown Blacksburg Farmer’s Market in Blacksburg, VA starting in May (TBD) on Saturdays to sample these delights and others.  We hope to see you soon!

 

Garden update

Hello friends.

The summer has sneaked up on us.  We enjoyed a brief respite, celebrating the 4th of July with friends and family.

Tomorrow, we return to market at the start of a summer heat wave.  The lettuces and I are wilting, but the summer fun crops are starting to make themselves known.

Beans!

Coming tomorrow to the Pulaski Market is one of our summer favorites – green beans!  Also making their debut – beets!  Coming soon – tomatoes, peppers and squashes.

We also will have other favorites: onions, turnips, radishes, kales, cabbages, herbs and more.  We hope to see you at the old train depot, downtown Pulaski (4-8).

May 16, 2016 Market

Greetings Friends.

We kick off our market season tomorrow at Pulaski’s The Marketplace Farmer’s Market.

Asparagus

Come join us there and stock up on fresh harvests of:

  • Asparagus
  • Mixed loose leaf lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Salad Turnips
  • Radishes
  • New potatoes
  • Arugula
  • +/- Tomato plants (Cherokee Purple, Striped German, German Johnson, Yellow Brandywine, Black Cherry, Glacier)

The Marketplace is located in downtown Pulaski at the train depot.  It offers a variety of craft vendors, artisans, meats, produce and more.  You can also grab a bite to eat, enjoy a beverage from places such as West Wind Winery, and listen to some music while you shop.

Please join us and stock up tomorrow.  We will NOT be at the Marketplace next Tuesday due to day job schedule conflicts.

See ya tomorrow!

Leaf Lettuce

Harvest info & market news – heading to Pearisburg

Hi, all. Here is the run down of things that are being harvested right now, things that are coming in, and of things that are going out…..

Items like head and leaf lettuces are peaking. It is likely that I will have a small gap until new sowings come in. I’ve yet to master my timing with these delicate things as Mother Nature seems to get a little feisty now and again, throwing off my exacting calendar.

Rain summary

Rain summary

Look at that breakdown of all the rain we’ve had over the years (click on the picture to view a larger image). 2013 was the worst. 2012 was the best growing season for us (We had just broken ground. The weather was generally good for that hodgepodge garden. It tricked us into thinking we could really master the market garden)! Mother Nature really affects the timing of things for a part-time farmer.

Anyway…these things are in full harvest: broccoli, kales, new potatoes, onions, chard, perpetual spinach. These things are coming in (harvest will be increasing each day/week): squashes, beans, tomatoes, peppers (hot & bells), cabbages.

Sungolds

Sungolds

Things I still need to check: cucumbers and beets (beets were getting close last I checked).

These items are ending this week: kohlrabi, turnips (without greens).

These things are finished until fall (if I can get plantings in): radishes, turnips, collards, Asian greens, kohlrabi.

As for market news, Jordan and I took a road trip to Pearisburg on Saturday to check out their new community market. They’ve asked us to join their ranks, and we have decided to give it a try. This market has a great community feel to it. It is that sense of community that we love so much at the Pulaski Market. So, instead of setting up shop at the South Main market in Blacksburg, we are moving our tables to the front lawn of the Pearisburg Community Center on Saturday mornings, starting July 18th. This market runs from 9-2 on Saturdays, but we still will harvest the morning of market, so it is highly likely our arrival to Pearisburg will be around 11. We’ll keep you posted on Facebook.