YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED (audio) – 032219
02:40 – Nina Jaakkola
Subject: Well/ pond – pros and cons of each?
We have an old “ring” well on our farm. Last summer was a draught summer (rare here in Finland, but the climate is changing) and the well proved insufficient. The options are drilling a new well (10 000 euros at least) and digging a pond (? euros). I’d greatly appreciate any thoughts you have on the pros and cons of each for market gardening. Also, how big should the pond be, roughly? We’re in Southern Finland, zone 5, mean annual rainfall 600 mm (24 inches). Mostly it rains regularly throughout the summer and the summers are rarely very hot, but there is usually a 2-3 week period of no rain and +25-30 C (77-86 F). Our market garden is 500 m2 (5400 ft2). Currently it’s all on drip irrigation or no irrigation, but I’m planning on changing half of the area to drip and the other half to micro sprinkler irrigation (http://www.avagro.fi/tuotteet/kastelu-ja-sadetus/sadettimet/hadar-7110-mikrosadetin). The idea is that half of the area (2700 ft2) would be for high-rotation crops and half (2700 ft2) for potatoes, garlic, broccoli, storage root crops etc, that don’t need much watering here. I’m running a small CSA type club but want to start selling also at the local farmer’s market and possibly to one restaurant/ store. The market garden is a part-time business for me.
12:49 – Michael Marchand
I just wanted to say I really like what you are doing with From the Field. I signed up when you launched and the content is impactful and helpful.
Also I was going to let you know since we talked back in Oct 2017 I have gone all in on produce. From me finding your original videos on YouTube to now….what a ride…we are farming 12 mos out of the year, 2 high tunnels now and approx 1-1.25 outside acres. My rolling 12 month crop plan which I have broken down quarterly totals approx $475,000 over the next 12 mos. Heavy on tomatoes as I have high tunnel and field space and heavy on the quick turn and market garden crops. You can see pics here: https://www.instagram.com/whitehurstfarms/
We are selling 90% to restaurants, no farmers markets (we do have 2 people that sell our vegetables at farmers markets), 10% direct. I text chefs pictures and a list from the field and stuff sells so fast. We sell almost everything at retail prices…such demand most chefs dont even ask about price. We are only limited by production learning curves.
I credit the produce with saving our farm. We still have egg layers, a fraction of our pig herd – both these products turn fast and at high margin. The heavy animal farming when you scale is unsustainable in so many ways. We couldn’t continue physically or financially.
If you ever need content and want to use us a case study or are ever near Houston please stop and see us! Its been a big evolution from our original heavy dependence on animals.
15:55 – Josh Koch
I have found myself in a scary position this season, both of the farmers markets i attended this last season have not accepted my application to return this year. I have reached out to previous clients that gave me their contact info as they run canning and preserving groups. Would you ever change your business model to fit this niche?
For context: In Arvada Colorado USDA zone 6b, majority of crops that they want are Tomatoes ( about $0.50 less than my market price last year), Herbs (market price), and Peppers (I grew these for market to draw people to my table, total loss leader)
24:12 – Yoni
Thanks for your replies to my previous questions.. i was actually encouraged with your advise to till the crabgrass. Still have a bit of rain, so i’ll wait another week or so, i guess..
Got another question.. last summer i grew baby salad greens under mesh lowtunnels, and irrigated with microsprinklers. That worked great even in super hot July and August..with good quality and yields.. but… I think i might have watered too much. This year I’ve git loads of mole-cricket damage.. (are you familiar with this pest?) about 80% loss after transplanting.. (lettuce, chives, anything practically…) which could be related to consistent moisture.
I was advised to space the irrigations times, which might solve the issue..
but im not sure if this will work in summer with baby greens.. im afraid they might dry out… Should i keep the top soil moist during the entire growth period, or should i let it dry out for a day, and then water again?
This keeping in mind that im trying also to solve thr mole cricket problem.. any advise?
30:39 – Theus
Greetings from Portland, OR! My partner and I are starting a salad specific CSA where we will grow salad specific veggies and also produce our own salad dressings, delivering them to folks weekly and selling at farmers market. One stop shop for a high quality, easy to prepare, seasonal and local salad! Our situation is a little unique in that we will be growing less than an 1/8th of an acre, but we have a 1/4 plot that we are leasing. We are part of a rad incubator program (headwaters) https://emswcd.org/farm-incubator/headwaters-farm/ so space is not an issue. Our fields are 150′ long and I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out the best way to set up the beds (also keeping in mind irrigation needs come summer). I like the structure of cropping out a specific length bed based on weekly needs, but our needs are also not quite known due that we are just starting out and mostly selling at market to begin with a number of people signing on for our CSA.
Would you plant out sections of a 150′ row over the course of a couple weeks and then turn over the front portion as crops come out? What about simply starting at the top of the field and planting a mixed row followed by a mixed row the next week and so on, then dragging a tarp over each bed as they finish?
Shoot out whatever comes to mind, appreciate your thoughts and your work. Happy spring and be well!