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The Market Gardener : A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming - Jean-Martin Fortier

The Market Gardener

A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

eBook Published: 1st March 2014
ISBN: 9781550925555
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Grow better not bigger with proven low-tech, human-scale, biointensive farming methods

Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in Eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helene feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments. The secret of their success is the low-tech, high-yield production methods they've developed by focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

The Market Gardener is a compendium of La Grelinette's proven horticultural techniques and innovative growing methods. This complete guide is packed with practical information on:

  • Setting-up a micro-farm by designing biologically intensive cropping systems, all with negligible capital outlay;
  • Farming without a tractor and minimizing fossil fuel inputs through the use of the best hand tools, appropriate machinery and minimum tillage practices;
  • Growing mixed vegetables systematically with attention to weed and pest management, crop yields, harvest periods and pricing approaches.

Inspired by the French intensive tradition of maraichage and by iconic American vegetable grower Eliot Coleman, author and farmer Jean-Martin shows by example how to start a market garden and make it both very productive and profitable. Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think.


1 Small Is Profitable
Can You Really Live ff 1.5 Acres?
Not Just Making a Good Living, but Making a Good Life

2 Succeeding as a Small-Scale Organic Vegetable Grower
A Biologically Intensive Approach
Minimizing Start-Up Costs
Minimizing Production Costs
Direct Selling
Adding Value to the Crops
Learning the Craft

3 Finding the Right Site
Climate and Microclimate
Market Access
Growing Space Needed
Soil Quality
Access to Water
Assessing Possible Pollution Problems

4 Designing the Market Garden
Buildings and Foot Traffic
Standardizing the Garden Layout
Locating the Greenhouse and Tunnels
Protection against Deer

5 Minimum Tillage and Appropriate Machinery
Permanent Raised Beds
The Two-Wheel Tractor
The Broadfork (Grelinette)
Tarps and Pre-Crop Ground Cover
To Till or not to Till

6 Fertilizing Organically
Soil Tests
Crop Requirements
Managing Soil Fertility
Good Compost
Relying on Natural Fertilizers - Why?
Establishing Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation at Les Jardins de la Grelinette
Green Manure and Cover Crops
Connecting with Soil Ecology

7 Starting Seeds Indoors
Seeding in Cell Flats
The Soil Mix
Filling Cell Flats
The Seedling Room
The Evolving Plant Nursery
Heating and Ventilation of the Nursery
How to Water Seedlings
Potting up
Transplanting into the Gardens

8 Direct Seeding
Precision Seeders
Seedbed Preparation
Record Keeping

9 Weed Management
Cultivating with Hoes
Weeding with Tarps
The Stale Seedbed Technique
Flame Weeding
Weed Control Technology

10 Insect Pests and Diseases
Disease Prevention
Using Biopesticides

11 Season Extension
Floating Row Cover and Low Tunnels
Caterpillar Tunnels

12 Harvest and Storage
Harvesting Efficiently
Harvest Help
The Cold Room

13 Crop Planning
Setting Farming Objectives
Determining Production
Establishing a Crop Calendar
Making a Garden Plan
Record Keeping

Conclusion: Farming for Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle

Appendix 1: Crop Notes
Appendix 2: Tools and Suppliers
Appendix 3: Garden Plan
Appendix 4: Annotated Bibliography
Appendix 5: Glossary

About the Author

ISBN: 9781550925555
ISBN-10: 1550925555
Audience: General
For Ages: 16+ years old
Format: ePUB
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st March 2014
Publisher: New Society Publishers