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 two hundred 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. Jean-Martin Fortier is a passionate advocate of strong local food systems and founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized model for successful biointensive micro-farming.
Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Helene Desroches are the founders of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized micro-farm famous for its high productivity-profitability using low-tech, high-yield methods of production. A leading practitioner of biologically intensive cropping systems, Jean-Martin has more than a decade's worth of experience in mixed organic farming. He has written articles about his work for popular magazines such as Canadian Organic Grower, La Terre de Chez Nous and Growing for Market. He also contributes occasionally as a tool and equipment advisor for companies such as Johnny's Selected Seeds and Dubois Agrinovation. The original French language version of this book, Le Jardinier-Maraicher, released in Fall 2012, has sold more than 15,000 copies.
Preface: From erable spring to arable spring? 6 Acknowledgements 10 Foreword 11 1. Small is Beautiful 13 But Can You Make a Living at It? 14 Not Just Making a Living, but Living Well 15 2. Succeeding as a Vegetable Grower 17 The Biointensive Method 17 Minimizing Start-Up Costs 19 Minimizing Production Costs 20 Direct Selling 21 Value-Added Vegetables 25 Learning the Craft 25 3. Finding the Right Land 27 Climate and Microclimate 27 Market Access 29 Arable Land 30 Soil Quality 31 Topography 33 Drainage 34 Access to Water 35 Infrastructure 36 A Word on Pollution 38 4. Setting Up Your Farm 40 Organizing Your Work Space 40 Standardizing Your Growing Space 40 Locating Your Greenhouses and Tunnels 44 Deer Protection 44 Windbreaks 45 Irrigation 46 5. Minimum Till and Alternative Machinery 48 The Beauty of Permanent Beds 49 The Two-Wheel Tractor 50 The Broadfork (Grelinette) 53 Tarps and Pre-Crop Ground Cover 54 The Future of Minimum Till 54 6. Organic Fertilizer 56 The Importance of Soil Testing 57 Crop Requirements 59 The Elements of Fertility 60 Compost 63 Granulated Poultry Manure 64 Crop Rotation 65 Green Manures 71 Your Personal Sense of Humus 79 7. Growing Indoors 81 Seeding in Cell Flats 82 The Importance of a Good Soil Mix 82 The Seedling Room 84 The Plant Nursery 86 Heating and Ventilation 87 Watering 88 Potting Up 90 Transplanting 90 8. Direct-Seeding 94 Precision Seeders 94 Seedbed Preparation 96 Record Keeping 97 9. Weed Control 100 Hoeing 101 Smothering 102 The False Seedbed Technique 103 Flame Weeding 104 Mulching 105 10. Insect Pests and Diseases 107 Scouting 109 Prevention 109 Biopesticides 111 11. Season Extension 113 Row Cover 113 Caterpillar Tunnels 115 Permanent Hoophouses 116 12. Harvest and Storage 118 The Importance of Harvesting Efficiently 120 Harvest Help 120 The Cold Room 121 13. Crop Planning 123 Determining Your Production 124 Establishing Your Crop Calendar 127 Making a Garden Plan 128 Record Keeping 128 Conclusion: Agricultural Policy: Back to the Future 132 Appendix 1: Crop Notes 134 Appendix 2: A Gardening Story 168 Appendix 3: Garden Plan 172 Appendix 4: Glossary 184 Annotated Bibliography 192 Tool and Equipment Suppliers 198