Row by Row Episode 63: Small Scale Market Farming

Small Scale Market Farming

There are a couple of different models that small scale market farmers use when it comes to growing your own food. The first model of market farming is CSA which is Community Supported Agriculture. This system is the process of buying shares upfront at the beginning of the season that the farmer delivers throughout the growing season. So if there is crop failure and the farmer cannot deliver the crops then you do not get your money back. Another small scale market farming model is selling at the farmers market. Nowadays, farmers markets have become a sometimes weekend-long event in several different towns or cities. From the guys experience the best farmers markets they have been to has been in higher populated areas. The last model, the guys discuss is the wholesale model or larger scale selling of produce. This can be for people that like growing produce and then sell it to country stores, restaurants,  or other local markets. Out of all three small scale market farming models, it can vary which one would work best for you as an individual and your personal preference.

Popular Techniques & Common Problems

Depending on certain areas in the North compared to the South, not every gardening technique works best. For example, a popular technique in some gardening areas is the use of 30-inch raised beds. Due to the guys growing so many different varieties of vegetables throughout the growing season the raised beds do not work for them personally. Another popular technique is heavy composting in the North. However, living in the South, we believe in providing good compost to improve soil structures for healthier plants, but heavy composting will burn out and leave our soils looking like sand. A method that is popular in the North and South is intensive growing. The meaning behind intensive growing is growing as much in the garden as you can in a given space. Some common problems that people have when getting started on small scale market farming is no experience growing in a garden, focusing too much on schematic details, and finding individuals that will buy on a consistent regular basis.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, the guys do not have too many vegetables growing in the garden due to the weather conditions. Greg is currently cleaning out his garden, but he still has some ProCut Sunflowers and Zinnias growing. In the greenhouse, he is starting to grow some Cockscomb. Travis has been growing cover crops in his garden. He recently planted Top Millet and Buckwheat that helps with improving the soil structure and weed suppression. The guys discuss some new seeds that will be coming very soon to the website.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about when they are going to start growing collards and kale plants and where they get all of there knowledge from. Travis says if planting kale and collards by transplant start those at the end of August to early September. Greg says if you direct seeding plant them around the beginning of October. A lot of the knowledge that the guys have accumulated over the years is through informal and formal studying. Greg has done a lot of studying on insects, diseases, and received some certifications in agronomy and horticulture. As well as, experienced a lot of hands-on learning through various jobs in the industry. While Travis has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Biology and studied at the Ph.D. level for four years. Overall, a lot of the knowledge comes from getting in the garden and trying new growing techniques all year round in the vegetable garden.

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