Before being used as a market garden, the site was a hay field for a couple of decades. It was plowed in 2011 and we started growing vegetables on part of it in 2012. The market garden grew from 0.5 acres to 1.5 acres. We grow a diverse range of 30-40 crops (brassicas, nightshades, cucurbits, alliums, Asteraceae). We do some cultivation with a tractor and simple cultivator (about once per year). Then use a rototiller to prepare beds for seeding. We are working to reduce use of the rototiller by making more use of a small cultivator attached to our walk-behind tractor. In the last 3-5 years, we have been increasing our use of cover crops, including oats, rye, clovers (berseem & crimson), fava beans, field peas, forage radish and a few others in small quantities.
We market through our pre-paid CSA (community supported agriculture) program, to local restaurants, and through Eat Local Grey Bruce (cooperative, online farmers’ market). In addition to the vegetables, we have a small flock of sheep that we graze rotationally through our pastures, hay fields and the market garden (after the harvest season is over!).
Without soil, we are nothing. Plus healthy soil grows great tasting vegetables!