Andras Hajdu

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since Feb 24, 2015
Cantabria, Spain
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Recent posts by Andras Hajdu

If you have no space constraints, go for your mixed approach. I never quite understood the fuss about soilless media for seed starting though. maybe it has to do with sterility and thus lower chances of seed rot? I use an organic potting mix and plug trays and have had no problems sofar.
One important thing is that most seeds need higher temps in germination stage than in seedling stage. Bottom heat is more efficient for this purpose... Lacking a heag mat or hot table setup I achieve this by placing the seed trays above my heat source (radiator). I also cover the trays with clear plastic so i dont have to water at all until emergence. After emergence you need proper light conditions straight away to avoid leggy seedlings and get good vigor. Seedlings benefit from liquid fertilizer feed especially in small containers. Watering with lukewarm water is a  good idea as well.
1 year ago
You might wanna consider fan inflated double layer polythene. The r value is very similar if not identical to double glass or polycaronate and will cost way less. The fan doesn´t need to be anything fancy, i´ve seen quite large structures blown sufficiently by a 60w unit. Longitudinal runs of galvanised wire can help support the plastic from a snow load.
1 year ago
This was a big AHA! moment for me once it struck me. I have been researching, reading a lot, there is tons of good info out there, but this deatil seems to have been evading me until last year.

In my experience most micro market gardening startups you come accross will inevitably give you the impression that the CSA model is The Way to Go. Reference material like JM Fortier´s book, countless small farm stories online, viddeo channels etc will all be singing the praises, go CSA, go veg box, to unlock a high price point, to ensure sales, to simplify your crop planning... So no wonder we followed suit on our tiny, 1/2acre market garden, maintained by 2 people and started growing diverse crops to supply a weekly veg box and custom order delivery scheme for individual clients and a nice diverse farmers market booth. Bloody hard work, more like a struggle if you ask me. And that´s because we are just too small for CSA. Yupp, that´s a thing it seems.

It was in one of the youtube videos of urban farmer Curtis Stone (highly recommend watching ALL his content on youtube) where he points out: the CSA model will work well with 1-1.5 acre operations (with 3-5 working it), but smaller operators will do better to scale down on diversity, specialize in high value crops and look to sale to restaurants and food distributors (consumer groups) etc.


There is many reasons for this, most of it has to do with efficency of scale/economy of scale and the value you can create given limited space and time. Think about getting your tools and seeds ready in preparation for planting, the time you spend walking to your garden bed or sharpening your hoe. All these constant time investments are there whether you are doing 30 feet of carrots or 300 feet. A super diverse planting schedule squeezed into a small space, managed by 1 or 2 persons brings down your efficiency in many ways. As a result of your divided attention you may end up struggling to stay on top of everything and at the end of it, the harvest of each crop will be very limited due to your small growing space and limited time... this will inevitably mean that you have less produce hence you can provide less veg boxes, for less clients... and again, each time you take the day to set up for packing the boxes, to load the van to half its capacity, to drive to town to deliver... you do all that work for much less value. That van should be full. Better yet, big, and full. Otherwise you are not economic with your time spent delivering. Better use a small space to grow fewer but higher volume, higher value crops that you can then deliver to larger buyers.

Small farmers are already jack of all trades having to do growing, maintenance, selling, admin... your time you put in is your greates asset AND limitation. so if you are small, you need to be super efficient with your sales channels, meaning delivering as much value with as little fuss as possible. Hence the suggestion to work with restaurant and food distributors/consumer groups, where it makes sense.

And then there is context, aka your own situation - marketing possibilities in your area might be very different from what exists in the well documented US and Canadian market gardening scheme.
So choose wisely and choose according to your scale.

In our case:
Here in North Spain organic food consumption is just taking off, many clients are price sensitive, especially in rural areas, and the CSA model is practicly non existent, it would be quite a work to try convince people to pay up front ahead of the whole season.
We have no option for a roadside or farm stand as our location is not suitable for that.
There is hardly any true farmers markets, most markets are practically just stands of veg grocers with bought in wholesale produce. The one organic market we go to is not bad, but has nothing to do with the buzz and turnover of a truly happening French or US farmers market.
Most restaurants here are very limited in the veg department, that´s just how local taste is I suppose.
This place is starting to sound like the worst ever to stat a market garden!

This season we will endeavor to shift towards more restaurant sales (carefully picking the worthwhile ones), while maintaining our original box clients and farmers market channels to keep us afloat and hope that we can change over to a less demanding form of sales.

As always the devil is in the details and fine tuning your economy of scale, and finding the most efficient sales channels will make the difference between scraping by or smooth sailin´.
Just putting this out there for discussion and hope it can be helpful for those brainstorming about their sales plans.

Good luck to us all!

1 year ago
For me it seems unrealistic that someone who wishes to run a self sustaining lifestyle and homestead would have time to waste on pedalling a washmachine for hours.  If you plan on having a fridge freezer around then you ought to have enough capacity to spin a wachmachine electrically - just make sure to provide the warm water from non electrical sources and thats it. You can still find wachmachines that have separate warm water intakes. Life is too valuable to waste on pedalling a drum of dirty clothes.
2 years ago
So quick efficient fencing for/against animals... While the dead hedge idea can work in certain conditions, why wouldn't good old solar electric fence fit the bill?
2 years ago
After a quick google seaqrch I find a very inconsistent data on the protein content of amaranth grain - from 13% all the way down to measly 3% there is everything. Maybe varies with species/variety? Can anyone confrim the high protein qualities of this grain?
3 years ago
A bit of info in here

http://web.archive.org/web/20081025064227/http://www.vanillaexchange.com/moon_effects.htm


A couple of years later, now in grad school, I told the stories of Don Juan and my father-in-law to a Colombian plant physiologist. He immediately said they were both correct. He went on to explain that the effects of the moon on plants are well documented in countries near the equator where the moon orbits closest to the earth. The effect is less pronounced at higher northern or southern latitudes farther away from the moon's orbit. The moon orbits the earth in an 18-year cycle on either side of the equator between 10 degrees of north and south latitude. The moon and sun's gravitational pull causes tides in the ocean and also in the earth's biosphere which is also almost entirely composed of water.

3 years ago
Started pooless life this january. First tried going without any "substance" whatsoever, incl vinegar or soda, so nothing aside from warm water rinse. Made it into week 6 if I remember well, but my hair did look quite sad. Meanwhile my girlfriend¡ was using baking soda/ vinegar rinse and had good results. So I succumbed and started using baking soda - cleaned me up good and am using ever since on hair, about every 2-3 weeks weeks; that´s how often i wash hair, probably would wash a bit more often if I had an office job though my hair doesnt get all that ugly in this time as it would with shampoo usage! GF washes about every 10 days, her hair works diferently I guess. We mix 3-4 scant tsp soda into a pint of water and wash hair with that. It does NOT work with cold water we found so better have good amount of warm water available.

Armpit - ran out of antirespiration deodorant a while ago and noticed my BO decreased after a while. Either got used to my own smell or natural balance came back? Then started using deo again and felt stinky even with it. Now that seems to have phased out again so I don´t quite know what the hell is goin on. maybe I should just dump body soap and deo for good...
3 years ago
It´s a shame that in the podcast hardly any detailed discussion goes into the details of their methods and techniques, and their website doesn´t seem to have any comprehensive material on it either. I guess we´ll have to wait for the book...
3 years ago
"I have a query as to weather some of the success with plant teas is being attributed to nutrients when it is just as likely the anaerobic microbes that grew in the tea were what caused the good effects people have observed. If you have a mix of nutrient from plant matter and anaerobes how can you tell? Thats why its important to have type 1 tea being tested where microbes aren't given the time to grow."

Yes that is basically my question too... I have yet to make a proper comparison btwn simple tea and brew too, though I´m sure someone has already done it hence my asking here. What I saw with my own eyes is that chopped nettle steeped in cold water for 24-48 hours worked very quickly and positively on N deficient onion seedlings. To rephrase your/our question;
it would be good to know whether the hastle of waiting weeks/months and handling unimaginably stinky and disgusting anaerobic stuff is worth it if simple 24hr teas could do the trick equally well. Do anaerobic bacteria and their residues have any additional beneficial effect over simple tea extracts - if not, then why bother...
The emphasis should be also strongly on their residues as that can be downright detrimental stuff too. Especially since anaerobes wouldn´t be active (would die or go dormant) on plant surfaces and only be limited in activity in a good healthy aerated soil... so again, are their residues useful or is it only that their dead bacterial bodies give a nutrient boost? Anyone?
3 years ago