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.
Transplanting cilantro this evening.
My son providing quality control during cilantro transplanting.
In my previous post I showed how we remove crops in the greenhouse. Here is cilantro going into that bed. Cilantro is an ideal crop for transplanting because it takes such a long time to germinate, especially in winter.
—here we have 2-3 seeds per cell in 2” chains
—5 rows on this 42” bed (I would do 3 rows on 30” bed)
—I don’t mind walking on the bed as long it’s not too wet. It’s heavily composted and has good structure
—we sell in bulk to @goshenbrewing (Pad Thai!) and in 5oz bags to @maplecitymarket
A post about how we cut greens, and relax.
Our Lean Market Growing Masterclass is 25% off through March, our biggest sale.
…The tool: quick cut greens harvester from @farmersfriendllc (long handle version is a prototype)
#marketgardening #leanfarming #spring #springgreenhouse #babygreens #salad #springgarden
For me, there is no more satisfying crop to grow in winter than spinach. Here are some suggestions for growers who might want to try this transplant technique:
--We typically direct seed spinach but transplanting is handy in the late winter, for that first planting of the year, to get a jump start
--I’ve had success using 2” paper chains with 2-3 seeds per cell, for baby leaf spinach
--Try 6” chains and/or 1 seed per cell for larger leaves
--Variety here is sunangel, which is new for me
--Use good fresh compost, with plenty of N
--I transplant when the leaves are about the size of a mouse’s ear 🤓
#leanfarming #marketgardening #spinach #organic #notill #regenerativeag
A bit about greenhouse figs.
Today is the final day of the Masterclass sale, thank you all who signed up.
#figs #greenhouse #growingfigs #leanfarming #marketgardening #organic #greenhousegardening
Here are a few tips for greenhouse/hoophouse design based on my experience—some improvements. This is the 7th tunnel I’ve built (the 2nd on our current farm), and this is the last one, I swear. :)
#greenhouse #notill #leanfarming #leanfarm
The Lean Market Growing Masterclass is 25% off now through the end of October. Be active, be healthy, and grow food. Join students from around the world learning how to farm smarter and smaller. Click on the link in bio for more information.
This is a summer view of Clay Bottom Farm, Goshen, IN, host of the Masterclass.
#leanfarming #leanfarm #marketgardening #marketgrowing #growingformarket #organicfarming #october #nodig #notill #notillfarming #smallfarm #urbanfarm #leanproduction #globalsmallfarming
Fall kale, with playful banter in the background! This winterbor variety was transplanted in April, survived the hot summer (zone 5b), and will continue to produce for several more weeks. Here’s how I grew it:
—Seeded into 72-cell plug flats using Morgan Composting 101 mix in early March
—To prep beds, I applied 1” of very fresh compost, full of slow-release minerals, to the bed surface.
—At transplant time, I added 1/4 cup dehydrated chicken manure directly in the transplant hole.
—2 rows per 36” bed, 16” spacing
—Row covered for a month
—In season, sprayed organic Dipel whenever I saw a hint of a worm, 3 days in a row when possible to break the hatching cycle
Just 10 days left for 25% off sale of the Lean Market Growing Masterclass, which includes live Zoom classes. Thank you to all the new students this fall.
#notill #kale #marketgardens #marketgardener #leanfarming #leanfarm #growingformarket #organicgardening #smallbusiness #smallfarm #smallfarms
By 2pm the arches are now set…
Here’s another view of the extended handle @farmersfriend greens harvester. I’m cutting just a short run here but typically fill the basket more. A few tips for growers thinking about using this tool:
—It cuts best when the greens are dry (less belt slippage). If dew is too heavy in mornings, I like to harvest at night.
—Important to get the drill speed right. Here I’m using a 3-speed Dewalt XR hammer drill DCD996B in the drill mode, setting 2. This is an optimum speed for me.
—I helped design this extended handle version—still in prototype mode, but I’m told could be available soon.
25% off my masterclass this month, for growers starting out.
Grow (and eat) greens!
#greensharvester #greens #growingformarket #marketgardening #notill #notillgardening
Getting set up for a community build for our new greenhouse. In a few days, farm friends and neighbors will help us throw this structure together.
To prepare, we’ve pre-constructed the arches and lined up the purlins, baseboards, angle braces, etc.—for a smooth flow of work.
This just in. Today I unboxed the new extended handle greens harvester and here I’m using it for the first time. It’s a prototype that I helped the team @farmersfriendllc design. Basically, I turned 43 so it’s time start taking ergonomics seriously :)
The main improvement compared to the current model is that the handle sits at 36” high, a more comfortable working height. As with all prototypes, there are probably ways to tweak it and improve it further. My first thought is to cut more holes in the uprights to make it lighter. But overall, this iteration is excitingly close. I’m told it’s not available for sale yet but could be in the near future.
My market growing masterclass is 25% off this month, and more videos on the website. Happy farming!
A productive farm need not be huge. Here’s a drone’s-eye view of our farm from this summer. Four years ago, a few years after I wrote The Lean Farm, we moved into town and set up this smaller farm, inside the city limits of Goshen, IN. We shrank our production space from less than 1 acre to less than ½ acre and we got rid of a wagonload of tools. Nearly all of our food now sells within 1 ½ miles of the farm. After 15 years of farming, we enjoy a smaller footprint and being closer to our customers—and being small helps us improve faster and stay focused.
The website (link in bio) is newly updated with videos and growing info, and today is the start of our 1-month 25% off sale for the Lean Market Growing Masterclass course. Hope you can join. Happy October!
#leanfarming #leanfarm #marketgardening #marketgrowing #growingformarket #organicfarming #october #nodig #notill #notillfarming #smallfarm #urbanfarm #leanproduction
To mark the Autumnal equinox, we pulled down the shade cloth. Some tips for growers about shading a greenhouse:
—Shading helps cool tunnels and prevents sun scald issues on fruits like peppers
—In Zone 5b, we shaded this year from mid-July through the equinox. Mostly tomatoes in here.
—50% shade cloth from Noltz’s produce supplies
—To pull on and off the shade cloth, we tied tennis balls to ropes and threw the balls over. Wheee! The balls/ropes are then tied to greenhouse posts or whatever’s convenient.
—We shaded even though this greenhouse has a peak vent.
—Note we used a shade cloth that only covered about 50%—just the top to keep out mid-day sun. This lets some direct sunlight in in the mornings and evenings. Shading crops is always a balancing act between keeping crops cool while not depriving them of light they need to grow sturdy and to ward off diseases.
Annual fall sale! In October The Lean Market Growing Masterclass is 25% off. Also new free videos and info on the website. Happy fall!
When conditions are just right—loose, crumbly soil with small plants—a tine weeder is just the thing. In this case, I’m cultivating baby cilantro with a @twobadcatsllc 30” weeder.
A lean farmer in the making....
I typically direct seed beans, but with colder soil temperatures in May, I was worried they wouldn’t germinate well. Hence we are transplanting, at 2” spacing. A good two-person job.
Hundreds of bees hard at work in my tomato tunnel today. This is just one of them. Tomatoes won’t set fruit unless their pollen is shaken loose by bees, humans, or the wind—of the three, bees do the best job.
Getting ready for tomatoes, I’m spraying an oxidate solution—an organic fungicide—on this landscaping fabric. The sprayer is lithium powered from Jacto.
Last day of my spring masterclass 25% off sale. Next sale in fall. Bio link for info. Happy April!
Here’s me pulling a sheet of row cover from a pool cover reel, which makes a handy device for moving about large sheets of material. I have several sheets on here with two bungees wrapped around each sheet to separate them from one another. The specific reel I’m using is the Vingli 14’ aluminum reel roller. No more stuffing the barn with a mountain of fabric—I enjoy this work of tidying up.
I offer an online course on lean farming for market growers. It’s an investment to ensure your farm gets started on a solid foundation, so you can make a living and not burn out. 25% off through end of March.
#leanfarming #marketgardening #rowcover #growinggreens #greens
While at my brother’s pool last summer, it dawned on me that a pool cover reel might be just the thing to lean up row covers. This is new for us, but so far the crew gives it two thumbs up. I have several pieces rolled onto here, and can wheel it around where needed to roll or unroll. Then in winter we can store it tidily away.
#leanfarming #5s #marketgardening
Harvesting greens first thing this morning.
A few lean tips for growers:
—Set out your totes ahead of time. Keep them within 10-20 steps.
—Consider small batch washing. In our case, I have a worker in the wash shed hydro cooling, rinsing, spinning, and boxing up the greens as they are picked, in small batches of 10-20#. They will be delivered almost as soon as they’re boxed. This means I don’t need a large cooler to warehouse picked greens. This is an advantage of urban farming, where we are just a mile from our customers. We will pick 100-150# almost every week of the year in this way.
—This explains why I have multiple varieties per bed—so I can mix as I pick, creating smoother flow in the wash shed.
My full growing system is set into 100+ video lessons at the link in bio. Lean market growing masterclass is 25% this month.
#leanfarming #claybottomfarm #marketgardening #growinggreens #urbanfarming
A video of me using the extended handle greens harvester. This is the Farmers Friend harvester that I’ve modified by adding a few feet to the handles so it is more comfortable for an old man like me to use :). I recommend a greens harvester for those harvesting 50# of greens or more in a week.
In lean, the term muri refers to the waste of overburden. Every winter I pick a muri project—something that will make the next growing season easier on my body than the last. It’s a powerful concept that applies well with market gardening.
Yesterday the first plants of the year, winterbor kale, went into the ground, immediately after the spinach crop finished its term. It was a peaceful transition after a long, dark winter.
#peacefultransition #greenhouselife #marketgardening #urbanfarming #microfarm #kale
Here is how we transition beds in the winter greenhouse, using @hossgardentools fixed blade sweeps. This spinach was cut four times and the bed will be transplanted with kale later today. We applied fresh leaf compost before spinach went in—there is plenty of nutrition for another crop. Took about 30 minutes to clear one 5’ x 75’ bed.
Philosophical note...As I get older I enjoy physical work more, not less, even though our culture degrades manual labor as something to avoid, or to move ‘up’ from. I believe in physical intelligence, and the smartest people I know grow food, or they build cabinets or clocks or houses with both their hands and their minds.
#microfarm #microfarming #microfarmer #marketgardening #wheelhoe #spinach #greenhousegrown #greenhousegardening #greenhouselife
Needing more snow for a Christmas fort, we decided to harvest it off the greenhouse and collect it onto totes. As a bonus, more sun reaches the plants inside. :)
#christmas #christmas2020 #leanfarming #marketgardening #urbanfarming #fortbuilding