We began creating our market garden in the spring of 2010. Since we have a lot of clay in our soil we decided to break the clay up by adding sand. We’ve had 100 tons of sand delivered to our place and spread it by hand using two gallons buckets, wheelbarrows and shovels.…….Then we enriched the mix by adding about 10 tons of well composted, horse, manure moving it from the stables with a trailer behind our Toyota Corolla and our four wheeler. After all this soil building was done, we made raised beds to further help drainage.
Doing all that work gave us a late start in transplanting our crops out of our cold frames into the ground. We didn’t have a lot to sell in the beginning of the season but by the end of the summer we were flush with produce and did well at the farmers markets. Summer 2010’s best sellers at the farmer’s markets were kale, ground cherries and edible pod peas. In keeper with our low impact, anti-plastic, philosophy, we went to the market without packaging for the produce other than a roll of butcher paper to make paper cones for customers to carry purchases away. Most people brought their own bags to the market and didn’t care at all that what we were selling was not bagged. We kept greens fresh by only putting a sample on the table and the rest it in buckets of water that we put in the shade. Everything stayed fresh and crisp this way.
We are dedicated to four seasons gardening and buying local. We planted again in August and by the late October the garden was full of frost hardy produce for the root cellar and the fall table. We are having great success with harvestable crops in the garden even in the middle of January with winter radishes, cabbages, spinach, miner’s lettuce and kale. The winter radishes are the biggest surprise. When cooked they lose their bite and taste pleasantly like turnips or squash. Their green tops are very hardy too and I harvest them, under a cover of mulch and snow, along with the root to cook. The cabbages and leeks are under a heavy, insulating layer of hay which I remove to harvest. The kale has a layer of hay around their roots but their leaves can take
the bitterest temperatures and just get sweeter and sweeter tasting. The spinach and miner’s lettuce are in cold frames and I will harvest them when everything else is gone. In winter 2011-2012, we plan to go to the farmers markets in the winter and the spring with produce from the garden and the root cellar.