Why every gardener needs The Market Gardener?
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In the world of farming, there aren’t many rockstars. So it’s kind of a big deal that since the publication of The Market Gardener in 2012, Jean-Martin Fortier has become a household name. At least, he’s become a household name in those households trying to make a living off of feeding people healthy produce.
Now I’m not a market gardener. I’m simply a gardener. But it’s for my own consumption and not for my livelihood. Those are two very different things; like cooking for your family and cooking in a restaurant that serves hundreds of people on a Saturday. So what good is a book like The Market Gardener for me? The answer is simple: no matter the size, a system is always crucial.
Beyond Jean-Martin’s game plan for making a living from market gardening with annual sales between $60,000 to $100,000 per acre, there are some basic key tips for the home gardener which I’ve found invaluable.
Unless you’re gardening with a tractor or a team of horses, rows of single vegetables are a waste of space. Instead, Jean-Martin's recommendations are more efficient use of space with permanent raised beds of 75 cm (30 in) wide and walking paths of 45 cm (18 in) wide. He then gives you the proper spacing for each vegetable. All in all you end up using less space but producing just as much food if not more.
If growing a plant from seed, you need certain information: when to start, in what size cells and the number of days till transplanting. Then you need to know your ideal transplant date, the proper spacing for each plant, the kind of row covering needed, ideal soil pH, etc. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. But with The Market Gardener, you have the information to answer most of these questions.
Whether commercial or personal, gardening is weed control, soil chemistry, proper irrigation, pest management, season extension and so on. What are the right tools for the job when gardening organically? What tools are worth the investment? Jean-Martin covers it all. And don’t think this doesn’t apply to your backyard garden! I’ve been gardening with a drip-irrigation system, plastic row covers, insect nettings, micro-greenhouses and a battalion of weeding tools for several years now. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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