Zach Loeks

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since Feb 07, 2017
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Recent posts by Zach Loeks

Farmers markets in rural areas will have more traffic if they are:

Near an urban area
Near cottage country
Have reputation as destination

Bring something to the market that is amazing and get in newspapers talking about it and promoting the market.

🌿Zach
3 years ago
Organize the beds on contour
Raise them at least 12" by bringing path material onto bed top
Apply manure
Cover crop with winter rye and red clover
Mow the rye
Let Clover come through
Cover with a weed barrier (it's been a year now)
Fry the clover with weed barrier
Apply compost
Begin Guild cropping


Yes analyze soil
Yes plan to integrate trees and annuals
Yes cover Crop over winter


🌿Zach
3 years ago
Hi,

Good question and one near and dear to my heart.


Diversity and efficiency are always at odds, if they were not than we would have fewer monoculture farms.  

Let play it out: diversity means different tools, techniques and skills so a draw back of diversity is the added complexity to the effiexnt flow of a system.  However we also see that diversity has man benefits to system such as cycling nutrients, sharing space and deterring pests.  

So how do we get these benefits and the actual fruits of the diverse garden without over stretching our wallets, time and mind?

Part of this solution is what I call Umbrella Management-- grouping of diverse species into triads (sections of three beds) based on their similarity of management first and also their companionship second.  This way you streamline the integration of diverse species of annuals.

Then you can use Organized Garden Patterning to integrate perennials in a routine ratio into the garden so it need not interfere with annual efficiency while these profit centres develop.

In essence, we need to organize our diversity for efficiency and then find the best companion opportunities.

We talk about our Guild Crop Rotation in the book to highlight this as well as our mapping and organizing of garden lands.

🌿Zach


3 years ago
Great question!

Listen this is a controversial one and there is no one answer.  So first of all I will say each farm has to make their own decision based on their ideology, scale of operation and access to resources.

That being said I try to be open-minded and not adhere to any one fixed ideology.  I also try to weigh the pros and cons.

For instance, if you are a larger commercial grower and laying a row of plastic mulch allows you to integrate perennial species interxropped with your vegetable operation or cash crops and be able to not worry about their weeds and if this strategy produces a 10,50 or 500 acre polyculture in the next decade...go for it.  You are doing far more good using that supply.  After all frowning on a little plastic used in the garden seems a bit niece when plastic is in every business world wide at this point.  So practice restraint.

On the other hand if your production strategy is to lay down a plastic mulch for every single Garden bed and transplant into it and rip it up every year for the dump...then maybe it's best to consider alternatives.

These include using weed barrier that can be moved from season to season over many years, or using rolled and crimped cover crops, hay and straw mulches, and biodegrade mulches.

What do we do?  We work with all of these to find a solution to best fit our needs for a profitable and sustainable market garden.  


🌿Zach
3 years ago
Hi,

Farmstands are best for areas that are frequented-- on a road to cottage country or outside a town or city.

Also, consider that the products you grow will be different.  Farm stand don't require as much diversity-- they require a reputation for having some specific foods people want, and usually these store well with cooling.  They should also be the freshnconveniene vegetables or fruits- ones people can pick up and enjoy.  A good option is small yellow watermelons.

Farmers markets allow you to access a larger clientele immediately.  But you have competition and can have more waste with perishables like salad.

Consider also having events and attracting people to the farm or do a farm Hop with neighbouring farms To attract people to come out and buy at each stop.  Fun space that are multifunctional can serve to draw in a crowd.  For us we have a great rootcellar, walking trails and a yurt.

🌿Zach
3 years ago
Hi,

Great question!

I think one of the best is to simply have a good cellar or cold storage so you can hold fresh products longer since they demand the higher price, don't require extra inputs, and they are in high demand.

A fridge, an insulate room with a coolbot unit or a rootcellar with ice can effectively help your storage capacity in summer and winter.

otherwise sauerkraut is very cost effective.

🌿Zach


3 years ago
hi,

Yes it is possible to start your own market.  Assess the local demand for your products, consider running special events that attract people right to your farm and even Internet sales.

Remember to assess your quality of life when considering the value of a long drive and local sales.

🌿Zach
3 years ago