Hi there. I've never done this kind of thing before, but today we're going to have our very first book giveaway! 

Way back in February, the growers behind this book contacted me about giving it a read. It took me a while, but a couple weeks ago I finally sat down and started paging through. I'm so glad I did. While the book is really geared toward small scale farmers who want to make a living growing for farmers' markets, it's also full of information that's useful for home gardeners. I picked up some good tips about weeding (put a tarp over a weedy area of the garden and let it sit for a few weeks before you plant—this gives the weed seed time to germinate and then kills the plants because they can't get sunlight), row spacing (48 inches from row center to row center is considered standard, which means hand tools are usually manufactured to work 30 inch rows with 18 inch walkways in between), and how much to turn the soil over (as little as possible). I also liked the idea of putting together a calendar that you can use for many years where chores are marked by the season.

But for any of you out there currently operating or thinking of starting a market garden, there is so much more. The premise for the book is that it's possible to operate a financially successful small-scale market garden business with very little mechanical input and careful organic practices. This means lots of hand tools, a strong focus on soil health, plenty of face-to-face interaction with the plants, and low start-up costs. The introduction ("Small is Profitable") lays out the argument and then each chapter delves into a different aspect of making the business work. Text and illustrations cover siting and designing the garden, using appropriate machinery, fertilizing organically, starting seeds, weed management, insect pests and diseases, harvest and storage, season extension, and crop planning. The crop planning section includes detailed charts that I think would be especially helpful for beginning growers unsure of how to organize their farm. I know I've tried planning rotation crops, and just in our small garden it's a daunting task.

If you're interested in a copy, leave a comment on this post with your email. We'll choose a winner at random and send it along! Happy growing, everyone.

Update 6.13.14: The winner has been emailed. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Patricia said...

Dang, just spent the weekend weeding. wish I'd known that tarp hint but saving it for another spot in the yard.
Thank you for hosting this!

James Jr said...

looks like a great read.


JackiE said...

I am in the process of reading Gaias Garden which is has lots of great info about small scale permaculture. It explains a lot about the overall idea of creating a more sustainable garden working with natures forms and studying closed cycles. If you haven't read this one it would be a great one to check out!


Unknown said...

I'd love to check it out! Thank you for sharing! Dragonfly3085@gmail.com

Unknown said...

This is great, I'm currently looking at moving outside the city to start a more sustainable lifestyle. My email is


Bruce said...

I can't tell you how much I look forward to your blog Elspeth! Our little garden may not be much, but we love it. Had never considered being an actual vendor at our local farmers' market-- but you've just fertilized my imagination with that possibility! Thank You! bnl63@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting read. We just started a new garden this year and hope to do more next :)

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