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Clay Bottom Farm

Clay Bottom Farm We are a CSA farm in Goshen, Indiana. Home of the The Lean Farm. WWW.CLAYBOTTOMFARM.COM WWW. Lean Book: https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Farm-Minimize-Increase-Efficiency/dp/1603585923

Ben Hartman and Rachel Hershberger own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers market, and through a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana’s Reader’s Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben’s

Ben Hartman and Rachel Hershberger own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre. Their food is sold locally to restaurants and cafeterias, at a farmers market, and through a community-supported-agriculture (CSA) program. The farm has twice won Edible Michiana’s Reader’s Choice award. The Lean Farm, Ben’s

Operating as usual

07/26/2022
Harvest. Sleep. Harvest. Sleep. Late-July tomato farm! A few tips for this season:…In the final pic you can see our simp...
07/24/2022

Harvest. Sleep. Harvest. Sleep. Late-July tomato farm! A few tips for this season:

In the final pic you can see our simple fertigation set-up: a siphonject and buckets of liquid k-sulfate. I’ve found that a gallon per week per 100 plants keeps them ripening well.
—You can buy k-sulfate at many farm elevators, or powdered soluble online.
—With heirloom and heritage tomatoes, harvest every day, to avoid cracking fruits.
—Make carts your friend. When setting up the greenhouse in the spring, we graded the paths and planned for turnaround space for the carts at the end of rows.

#tomatoes #organicmatters #leanfarming #margold

Maria Martinez from @mmushrooms_goshen grows oyster mushrooms, pink and gray, for sale at Clay Bottom Farm’s booth. Gosh...
07/12/2022

Maria Martinez from @mmushrooms_goshen grows oyster mushrooms, pink and gray, for sale at Clay Bottom Farm’s booth. Goshen Farmers Market, every Tuesday 3-7pm, sometimes Saturdays. Says Maria, “Eat mushrooms to lower your cholesterol!”
#mushrooms #oystermushrooms

Summer lettuce! Here are a few tips:…—We’ve had success germinating on our covered porch, with wet cement. The cement st...
07/12/2022

Summer lettuce! Here are a few tips:

—We’ve had success germinating on our covered porch, with wet cement. The cement stays relatively cool, and I only need to water a few times per week. I keep the cement wet and water overhead.
—These are 6” paper chains, using the paper pot system. But I would germinate the same way if I were using plug flats.
—Favorite summer varieties, for salad mix or heads: Intercut (so productive!), Muir (so sweet!), Rubygo (so expensive!), and Red Sweet Crisp Salanova (so funky!)
#summerlettuce #growingsalad #marketgardening #leanfarming #leanfarm

Wall-o-cucumbers! Four lean tips for enthusiasts:…1. Cucumbers are water storage vessels. We keep the soil consistently ...
07/05/2022

Wall-o-cucumbers! Four lean tips for enthusiasts:

1. Cucumbers are water storage vessels. We keep the soil consistently moist to a depth of 4” as the grow. (We use two runs of drip tape with 4” emitter spacing.)
2. For straighter fruits and easier picking, use a trellis. Ours is hortinova, and cattle panels work well too. We help young plants find the trellis, but for the most part this variety (Corinto) does well with no pruning. Our “wall” is intentionally 7 1/2’ tall—that’s as far as we can reach by hand.
3. Give them room. We planted one seed every 18”.
4. Succession plant. Seeding a dozen or sow plants every 2-3 weeks until July gives a steadier harvest of quality fruits than a single planting.

#cucumbers #cucumbersalad #greenhousegardening #leanfarming #leanfarm

At a recent workshop we discussed strategies for transitioning beds from one crop to another. Some details for growers:…...
07/04/2022

At a recent workshop we discussed strategies for transitioning beds from one crop to another. Some details for growers:

—In this case, we decided to cover this bed of old lettuce with a tarp.
—No cutting or weed eating or tilling beforehand.
—Within a week, as seen in the final pic, the bed is ready to replant, after raking the melted debris. We like the simplicity of this approach.
—In spring and fall, depending on the heat, it might take longer than a week.
—With bed prep, we try to work a week or two ahead of ourselves, so that when we’re ready to plant, the beds are waiting.
#summerlettuce #growinggreens #leanfarming

Now that they’ve reached 7’ tall, the cucumbers are trained to grow over instead of up.
06/28/2022

Now that they’ve reached 7’ tall, the cucumbers are trained to grow over instead of up.

06/28/2022
06/27/2022
06/23/2022
Harvest time! Many thanks to Christian and Andrew, who have planted, trellised, pruned, and coaxed these plants for mont...
06/22/2022

Harvest time! Many thanks to Christian and Andrew, who have planted, trellised, pruned, and coaxed these plants for months. Couldn’t do it without you guys!

A wheel hoe, with Hoss sweeps, being pulled for deep soil loosening ahead of carrots. Technology with a human face, as t...
06/21/2022

A wheel hoe, with Hoss sweeps, being pulled for deep soil loosening ahead of carrots. Technology with a human face, as they say.

Here are several pics from Clay Bottom Farm’s Lean Farm Start-up 2022 2-day workshop last weekend. Thank you everyone in the group. What a weekend!

Join our mailing list (link in bio) for future event notices.
#leanfarming #smallisbeautiful

Onions! How we grew early onions:…—Seeded Bridger onions by seed in August, transplanted in November into a hoophouse.—W...
06/16/2022

Onions! How we grew early onions:

—Seeded Bridger onions by seed in August, transplanted in November into a hoophouse.
—We transplanted at 2” spacing using a paper pot method, but hand transplanting works too.
—This spring we harvested every other onion as baby onions.
—The final set of pictures shows the same onions that we seeded in April for an August harvest

Time for some shade! After this morning’s pea harvest we threw a shade cloth over the plants. Also pictured: spinach and...
06/14/2022

Time for some shade! After this morning’s pea harvest we threw a shade cloth over the plants. Also pictured: spinach and small head lettuces under shade tunnels.

The entire garden will be hydro-cooled every few hours for 20 minutes with xCel wobblers. We might spend a few minutes under the sprinklers, too 😁.

#shadegarden #shade #spinach #peas #leanfarming

We are getting excited about peas. …—Variety is super sugar snap—Seeded densely at 24 seeds per foot—Trellised stake-and...
06/07/2022

We are getting excited about peas.

—Variety is super sugar snap
—Seeded densely at 24 seeds per foot
—Trellised stake-and-weave-style, like tomatoes
#peas #marketgardening #leanfarming #smallfarm #smallfarming

The kale and cucumbers are in a stiff competition to see who can grow tallest. Some info for growers:…—The cucumbers are...
06/03/2022

The kale and cucumbers are in a stiff competition to see who can grow tallest. Some info for growers:

—The cucumbers are on 7.5’ hortinova and planted at 18” spacing
—Corinto variety
—The kale is also 18” apart, with 3 rows per 42” bed (but two rows would have worked as well or better)
—I’m seeding cukes every 3 weeks for a steady supply
—Winterbor variety
—Kale was transplanted in early April, if memory serves
—I worked a bit of feathermeal into the ground before each of these crops. They both appreciate the fast N release.
#cukes #kale #cucumber #cucumbersalad #cucumbers

Time for shading already. Here kales provide nice dappled shade for head lettuce, and scroll through the photos to see a...
05/31/2022

Time for shading already. Here kales provide nice dappled shade for head lettuce, and scroll through the photos to see a simple shade structure over spinach. I use #9 wire bent 90 degrees.

The head lettuce and kale are keeping each other’s company this spring.
05/26/2022

The head lettuce and kale are keeping each other’s company this spring.

Tomato pruning! We prune for an open structure (for good air flow) and balanced plants (with leaves evenly spaced), and ...
05/19/2022

Tomato pruning! We prune for an open structure (for good air flow) and balanced plants (with leaves evenly spaced), and to train each plant to two leaders, for ease of trellising. As a general rule, the lower leaves are pruned up to the first fruit cluster, and sometimes just above it, but not too far—the leaves shade the fruits. Pruning is art and science, there are many ways to do it well.

05/18/2022

I covered a finished bed of cilantro in my previous post and here a new bed of cilantro goes in (different location). See a full sized bed of cilantro on the left here. These are 6” paper pot chains with 4-6 seeds per cell.
#cilantro

#smallisbeautiful
05/11/2022

#smallisbeautiful

Here is how we built a simple pole bean trellis....--Ingredients: 7' t-posts and insulators, 10' EMT (electrical conduit...
05/10/2022

Here is how we built a simple pole bean trellis.
...
--Ingredients: 7' t-posts and insulators, 10' EMT (electrical conduit) and couplings, 6 1/2' tall hortinova netting
--We used the "poly tape" insulators from TSC (that’s what we had on hand) but there are likely others that could work. Not sure if these insulators would hold a heavier crop like cukes.
--(Alter the height of the posts/netting depending on the crop.)
--First step is to pound in posts about every 10' and add the insulators.
--Then weave the conduit through the upper trellis netting (see photos) and set into the insulators.
--Secure the netting to posts with zip ties or twine.
--Note these pole beans were transplanted to give us a jump start in a cold spring.
#beans #growingdrybeans #drybeans #springplanting #leanfarming

Photos from a fun weekend planting 200 trees on the farm, with community support. Here’s Rachel, Ben, and Rosemary putti...
05/09/2022

Photos from a fun weekend planting 200 trees on the farm, with community support. Here’s Rachel, Ben, and Rosemary putting in the last one. Thanks to Hartwood Tree Care, @inovafcu and enthusiastic volunteers for making this dream a reality. Goshen, Indiana, where Clay Bottom Farm is located, has set a goal of 45% tree canopy by 2045. We’re well on the way.

Hartwood Tree Care aims to plant as many trees per year as it cuts down, partnering with local farms as planting sites.
#planttrees #healtheplanet

Oh my. Found this inside a hoophouse. #mothersdaygift #strawberry
05/06/2022

Oh my. Found this inside a hoophouse.
#mothersdaygift #strawberry

05/06/2022
Here’s super-organized Nicole, assistant farm manager, with our CSA veggies. To reduce plastic use, we ask customers to ...
05/05/2022

Here’s super-organized Nicole, assistant farm manager, with our CSA veggies. To reduce plastic use, we ask customers to place coolers on their porches. We then drop our food into the coolers every Thursday. If they want greens, customers supply their own Tupperwares (size of their choice) for us to fill (we use tongs).

These radishes and cabbages enjoyed each other’s company this spring.
05/05/2022

These radishes and cabbages enjoyed each other’s company this spring.

A view inside the tomato greenhouse. The plants are about three months old, starting to climb the strings. #tomato #toma...
05/01/2022

A view inside the tomato greenhouse. The plants are about three months old, starting to climb the strings.
#tomato #tomatogarden #greenhousegardening #greenhouse #microfarm

Sunangel spinach grown by transplant method on a deep compost bed. The second image compares it to a direct seeded bed (...
04/25/2022

Sunangel spinach grown by transplant method on a deep compost bed. The second image compares it to a direct seeded bed (on the left).

Here’s a photo series showing how we transformed a bed of spinach into tomatoes—in one fun afternoon. Feel free to ask q...
04/22/2022

Here’s a photo series showing how we transformed a bed of spinach into tomatoes—in one fun afternoon. Feel free to ask questions. A favor to ask: if you’ve read The Lean Farm or Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, I appreciate your rating/review on Amazon—it helps others find the books. Thank you! :)
#tomato #organicgardening #spinach #growingbrainfood #brainfood

A few harbingers of spring: daffodils and turnips.
04/22/2022

A few harbingers of spring: daffodils and turnips.

First turnip harvest goes to the farmers! Here are some growing specs:...--Turnips are a hot-cold crop: they like heat t...
04/22/2022

First turnip harvest goes to the farmers! Here are some growing specs:
...
--Turnips are a hot-cold crop: they like heat to germinate (we germinate at 78F/26C) but then cooler weather to grow.
--Hakurei is the best variety for fresh eating, in our opinion.
--For big, early turnips, we transplant into a no-till deep compost bed. (See March 2 post.) These are 3 seeds per cell, transplanted 6" apart in rows 9" apart. The roots grow away from each other, above the surface. Pretty cool.
--We keep the turnips covered for the entire growing period to prevent fly maggots from eating the roots.
--For large size, don't let the soil dry out. Hakureis are water storage units. We run drip take between rows.
...
Happy spring growing! It feels good to eat fresh roots again.
#turnips #marketgardening #microfarm #urbanfarming #urbanfarmer #urbanfarm #greenhousegrown #organic #organicgardening #localfood #brainfood

This is Tiara cabbage, a wonderful early mini cabbage for our CSA baskets, with radishes down the middle. The cabbage ar...
04/19/2022

This is Tiara cabbage, a wonderful early mini cabbage for our CSA baskets, with radishes down the middle. The cabbage are spaced about a foot apart. The radishes were broadcast by hand, about a dozen seeds per foot, the same day cabbages went in.

Spring farming can be a wild ride in the upper Midwest. To get to these greens yesterday we had to pull off a blanket of...
04/19/2022

Spring farming can be a wild ride in the upper Midwest. To get to these greens yesterday we had to pull off a blanket of wet snow. 🥴 But worth the hassle.

We typically transition from greenhouse to field harvesting for our salad crops around mid-April.

The row cover is Agribon 50–it has kept these early-March-seeded crops going so far. 😊

It’s one of those days when inside the greenhouse feels like a different universe from outside the greenhouse. These are...
04/18/2022

It’s one of those days when inside the greenhouse feels like a different universe from outside the greenhouse. These are indeterminate (long-season) tomatoes.

We uncovered the ultra low tunnel today. Some details:…—March-seeded greens include spinach, cilantro, and various Asian...
04/12/2022

We uncovered the ultra low tunnel today. Some details:

—March-seeded greens include spinach, cilantro, and various Asian greens.
—These are good choices for cold climates under a layer of row cover. We use AG50. We are zone 5b, northern Indiana.
—This will supply our accounts with greens in early May while we wait on field crops.
—We use a deep composting method that involves laying down 4-6” of compost (in year 1), and then not tilling between crop rotations (we ‘burn’ old crops with silage tarps). This greatly decreases weed pressure.
—The fence is to discourage our deer friends.

Happy April gardening and growing! 🤗

Welcome back, kale! You’ve been missed. …This is curly kale transplanted into a no-till bed topped with leaf compost las...
04/07/2022

Welcome back, kale! You’ve been missed.

This is curly kale transplanted into a no-till bed topped with leaf compost last year. 3 rows, and the plants are about 18” apart.

Springtime is an extended reunion with our favorite plants. 😊

Basil! This is prospera compact basil in 3” pots, headed for local markets soon. It can be transplanted, or perch it on ...
03/30/2022

Basil! This is prospera compact basil in 3” pots, headed for local markets soon. It can be transplanted, or perch it on your windowsill.

03/29/2022

Transplanting cilantro this evening.

Some photos of the Clay Bottom Farm team hard at work/play putting in tomatoes. 🙂 A few tips:…—Notice four runs of drip ...
03/28/2022

Some photos of the Clay Bottom Farm team hard at work/play putting in tomatoes. 🙂 A few tips:

—Notice four runs of drip tape. This is to keep the entire root zone moist (but not saturated), thus increasing biological activity and mineral uptake.
—For fertility, we rely mostly on a 1/2”-1” layer of our own compost, no tilling, just applied to surface—The compost=grasses, leaves, and spent grains from @goshenbrewing delivered starting fall 2020 and turned last summer. Also added organic k-sulfate pellets in the late fall because tomatoes are potassium pigs. :)
—When can you transplant tomatoes? We look for daytime soil temps above 60F/15C. And nighttime lows above 55F/13C. This is for field, hoophouse, and (heated) greenhouse.
—The trellising system is roller hooks on 1/8” cable, tensioned with fence wire tighteners.

Thank you everyone who signed up for the masterclass this spring. A few days left for discounted sign up. Happy growing!

These are staple crops that get us through the winter: (left to right) cilantro, curly kale, mizuna, Tokyo bekana, red m...
03/25/2022

These are staple crops that get us through the winter: (left to right) cilantro, curly kale, mizuna, Tokyo bekana, red mizuna, and spinach. Strawberries and figs on the far left are fun, too.

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340 Hackett Rd
Goshen, IN
46528-2702

Telephone

+15745388741

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Clay Bottom Farm is now at our Tuesday Market! Stop by on Tuesdays between 3 pm to 7 pm for local produce, plants, and more 🌱
Celebrating our 80th “Oak” Anniversary with Hartwood Tree Care LLC at Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen planting trees! 💚
Bulk Spinach or Bulk Salad Mix is available on Tuesdays from Clay Bottom Farm! Bring your own container and save $1. Our Tuesday market is now open from 3 pm to 7 pm. Starts next Tuesday!
This year we are thrilled to partner with INOVA Federal Credit Union and Clay Bottom Farm for our One Tree Planting event. Click below to learn more about the event and to RSVP!
Here's some exciting things to look forward to starting in May: 🌸 Tuesday Market begins May 3rd from 3 pm to 7 pm. Our Sprouts Kids Club also starts then! 🌼 Clay Bottom Farm will be joining us for our Tuesday Market! 🌸 White Yarrow Farm is expected to return on Saturday, May 7th 🌼 Mary's Market Gardens will be outdoors again starting May 7th 🌸 Mediterranean Michiana returns may 7th from their Spring break! 🌼 A warm welcome to Twin Sycamore Farms, LLC Joining us weekly starting May 7th on Saturdays! Find lots of fresh seasonal produce, plants, baked goods, meats, and more year-round on Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm and Tuesday 3 pm to 7 pm May to October.
Our business spotlight this week is Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, IN! Owners Ben and Rachel implement lean farming techniques to reduce waste and increase the profitability of their farm. They began the journey to lean farming back in 2011, when a CSA customer approached them about it. Since then, they have downsized from 5 acres to less than one, work less hours, got rid of most of their tools, yet their profitability has increased! They currently sell to Goshen chefs, whom they consult to plan their crops each season to reduce waste, as well as at the Goshen Farmers Market. Their best selling products are their seasonal green mixes and their tomatoes! Ben has also written two books on lean farming and teaches a master class on the techniques. To learn more, check out their website https://www.claybottomfarm.com/ or follow them Clay Bottom Farm ! #CommonGood #Community #CommunityEmpowerment #Local #SolidarityEconomics #EconomicDemocracy #Farm #WasteReduction #CSA #Lean #LeanFarming #Local #FreshProduce #Education #FarmersMarket #H**p
They’re here!!🍅🍅 It’s our favorite season at the Coop and just in time for summer! We have local basil plants and heirloom, red slicer and cherry tomatoes straight from Clay Bottom Farm and Hebron Farms • • • #tomatoes #local #produce #coop #basil #PPFC #purpleporch
It’s what’s inside that counts! 😉 Our wraps are loaded with the best ingredients! Clay Bottom Farm greens, local veggies, and Fischer Farms Natural Foods turkey slices! 🌯 #local #fresh #organic #maplecitymarket #maplecitymarketdeli #welcometothetable #delidelicious #fischerfarms #claybottomfarm
!!! 50% OFF !!! ...on these locally grown and produced CBD products just until the end of March. A sale like this doesn't happen very often, so don't miss out! Check out Clay Bottom Farm to learn about all the magic that happens on their unbelievably productive half-acre farm in Goshen. 🌱 #localcbd #supportlocal #leanfarming
“Here are several pics of a raised bed drip tape install we did for Seed to Feed food bank in Elkhart, IN. Key parts are 1” blue stripe oval hose tubing, drip tape shut off valves, and Chapin 10 mil 4” emitter drip tape. For a timer we chose Galcon 7001d. Some tips if you have a project like this: —kwikcut plastic pipe cutter are the safest and best way to cut oval hose —do this on a sunny day when the plastic is nice and warm and soft...people and plastic will be in a more cooperative mood :) —1 run of drip tape will cover a width of about 8” —these are common parts available online —we use a Dramm brass shut off valve with hose fittings to regulate pressure (no pressure regulator) —this the same set-up we use the field (about 1 acre), except the main line is 1 1/2”” -Clay Bottom Farm 📸 : @claybottomfarm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are you a local grower?! 👩‍🌾👍 Want a MAGAZINE 📚 that focuses solely on LOCAL food & flower FARMERS? 💚 @growingformarketmagazine has been in publication for over 30 years! 👈🤩 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SUBSCRIBE & Get 10 issues/yr for as low as $30/yr! 😍🌱 Our articles are research based & written by experienced farmers in the 🌎 of small-scale farming ✍️ Link in bio —> @growingformarketmagazine ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #growingformarketmagazine #foodpantry #foodjusticeisracialjustice #foodjustice #raisedbeds #driptape #marketgardening #leanfarming #greenhouse #communitygarden #feedyourcommunity #community #farmers #knowyourfarmer #indiana
“Here’s video of a flex fine w**der in action. It will dislodge perhaps half the small w**ds here (without damaging the spinach), and we will still do a quick hand w**ding on the rest. The tool is also preventing w**ds, disrupting unwanted chickw**d and bittercress in the ground before they show themselves. The tool won’t work in all soils, though—conditions have to be just right. Farming is both an art and a science.” - Clay Bottom Farm 🎥: @claybottomfarm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are you a local grower?! 👩‍🌾 👍 Want a MAGAZINE 📚 that focuses solely on LOCAL food & flower FARMERS? 💚 @growingformarketmagazine has been in publication for over 30 years! 👈🤩~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SUBSCRIBE & Get 10 issues/yr for as low as $30/yr! 😍🌱 Our articles are research based & written by industry leading farmers in the 🌎 of small-scale farming ✍️ Link in bio —> @growingformarketmagazine ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #growingformarketmagazine #urbanfarming #twobadcats #marketgardening #leanfarming #smallfarm #regenerativefarm #marketgarden #farmfresh #localfarming #farmtools #farmers #farmlife #vegetablefarm #localfarm
This semester, our High School Apprentices are doing a book study on The Lean Farm by Ben Hartman from Clay Bottom Farm. They'll spend time discussing what they've read together along with Farmers Mohamed, Hana, and Kelly!