Ann Schrag – 04:10
Thank you for doing the video on Steven Cornett. That was my favorite so far and I’d enjoy seeing more on small growers.
This year I am experimenting with growing produce for friends and neighbors and hope to see if it’s something I can make work on a larger scale in the future.
I am in the Midwest, zone 7b, ave annual precipitation is 31″. I have a small plot about 25′ x 40′ that I’d like to prepare for planting next year. The problem is that it is full of bindweed. I’m working on digging it out as much as possible. I know it will still come back, but hopefully this will weaken it quite a bit and I can just pull it from here on out. Currently it is bare ground except for the bindweed. I had chickens on it for awhile earlier this spring & they took care of the weeds at that time. The ground is hard, but when I dig down the soil isn’t too bad. It’s a sandy loam with some earthworm activity, but very lacking in organic matter. Other weeds are starting to sprout now & I’d like to get this plot covered as soon as possible. My question is what to cover it with. My options are putting down cardboard & then covering that with straw, or covering with a layer of old horse bedding that is not yet decomposed, or putting down a layer of black plastic. These are the things I already have available, but I will consider other suggestions. I am mechanically challenged so I do everything manually and don’t use a tiller. I use the chickens to help shred organic matter in my fenced plots, often just before planting. The straw or horse bedding would eventually help with the need for organic matter, although with our sometimes meager rainfall it can take quite awhile to decompose. Putting down plastic would be the easiest option, but would only suppress weeds and not add anything to the soil. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Theplotmarketgarden – 14:23
Hi Curtis, can you expand on setting the depth for the jang? I’ve looked at mine and it seems to be set at 1/2” and I would like to adjust it to 1/4”. You say to measure the bar sticking out of the jang but if I adjust that to 1/4” that means I’ll be making the trench deeper. What should the bar measure to be 1/4”. Thanks
Stephen – 16:50
Subject: Limiting your scale
As a successful farmer in your area I’m sure you’ve had people offering you plots, offering you accounts/sales etc. My farm has taken off in its second year and I’m currently doing about $80K a year gross on about one third of an acre in Hawaii by myself. At farmers markets sales are increasing, and my accounts continually say that they can take more product. Other new accounts are available as well. My question is where do you draw the line in terms of scale and finding that sweet spot? I could hire people, expand more, sell more but I’m already stretched a bit thin. Theres a desire to fulfill demand and get it while I can and theres the other side saying I should stay where Im at. Wondering your input as someone who has continually stayed at a small scale.
I have a question regarding delivering two grocery stores and restaurants. I live in the country a minimum of 20 miles from any of my clients that I deliver to, I am wondering if you would charge a delivery fee or service fee for every delivery you make to stores in town as they are such a distance out?
Chris – 28:08
Subject: Newbie! Virgin!! Raw!!!
I’m a registered member of your From The Field, having followed a few of your activities. I just acquired 4000 sq.ft. of land for vegetable market gardening and having fun planning. I knew you were coming to Calgary and wish I had a chance to show you this scenario when things are less than skeletal! Anyways just thought I should let you know. I’m gathering all the courage I can to venture into this. Marketing seems daunting for a new entrant (never liked marketing anything but I love to farm!). You’ve advised from your videos before and I’d appreciate more. Calgary’s weather scares many from field growing but I’m determined to learn.
Kent Warren – 35:34
Curtis: I’m intrigued with your comments about Eric Schultz’s nightmare with compost supplier in your Q&A of March 8. I realize you want and need to be careful about what you say. But, I’m hungry for more input since I’m looking to buy a bunch of compost. The key to buying compost is the feedstocks, of course. The soil testing labs have a bewildering array of ‘environmental’ tests they can do on the material you send. You can test for pesticides, fungicides, etc. Of course, C/N ratio is useful and info on other elements is too. Can you please venture out into ‘best practices’ for testing compost that we are buying from a third party, without giving specifics about Eric’s nightmare? Thanks, KW
Henrik Ellerbrock 43:26
Inspired from last weeks Q&A I have a question regarding compost for you as well. Together with a partner I’m in my second season, having about 1/3 of an acre in production, mostly high rotating crops like radishes, salad turnips, various cut greens and Salanova, both for retail, restaurants and a small CSA in Europe/Portugal.
For us it is very difficult to purchase quality compost as it seems that there is no one making high quality compost in the whole country. We tried out various sources, already spend more than 2000€ in compost full of sticks and other carbon residues. We tried doing our own compost, produced about 40qm3 by emptying stables from grass fed goats last winter, but we came to the realization that it is just to much work without proper machinery. Also we are not really keen to go into that business as we want to farm vegetables.
You promissed a new video with your friend John Hover about his way of producing aerated Hot compost finished by worms and it would be a great deal for us to get as much information about that technique as possible (also how much labour it requires, hours/qm3). As material we have easy access to sheep and chicken manure from our neighbours. All hour crop residues, like greens from radishes, Hakurei, etc and woodships from near by forest. We don’t have a BCS or tractor, helping to turn the compost, so every bit of appropriate technologies which doesn’t imply turning would be appreciated.
Thanks for your time and amazing effort to create this content which means a lot for us here in the south of Europe!