In late July we had an opportunity of participating in two workshops in Nova Scotia where Jean-Martin Fortier was the featured speaker sharing in his philosophy and practices behind his book “The Market Gardener” (click here to purchase your own copy). Abundant Acres was the host farm on July 27 and Bethany Acres on July 28. Both farms have Multi Shelter greenhouses and tunnels. With 50 people in attendance at both locations, it was a wonderful opportunity of interacting with existing and potential customers. We thank everyone that was able to come out, or expressed interest in what went on.
The very unique approach to very intensive food production which Jean-Martin has documented in his book, has made it very popular. He has gotten amazing production and results from his 1-1/2 acres plot of land. Between his CSAs and two farmers markets, Jean-Martin, his wife and a couple seasonal employees are supplying approximately 220 families with weekly fresh vegetables. He does not own or use traditional tractor or rotor tiller. The center point of his land is the greenhouses and processing station with everything efficiently laid out around that.
A cornerstone to his philosophy and practices has to do with proper care and stewardship of the land. A lot of importance is placed on feeding the soil properly and giving the existing organisms in the soil proper chance to do the work they were created for. Everything is grown on 30” wide raised beds that are 100’ long with 18” wide aisles. Compost is added to the top of the bed and then very lightly worked in. Clear and black plastic are used in succession to trigger and kill weeds ahead of planting time.
Another point which Jean-Martin stresses over and over is efficiency. Everything is analyzed very carefully so that all the processes can be done at maximum efficiency. Crops that require the most attention are the closest and crops that require minimal attention are to the outer edges. Heavy feeding crops are always followed by a light feeding crop. During the down time in the winter, the results are further analyzed and everything is planned for including location and timing. No detail is too small not to be documented during the growing season so that it can be analyzed for better efficiency.
The workshops were a wonderful opportunity of learning things that are important to our customers to further guide them in finding their proper greenhouse solution during the purchase process and also learning the value and benefit of efficiency and prioritizing. We urge you to check out Jean-Martin’s book, and call us to help work out all your custom greenhouse solutions!