- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: New Society Publishers (March 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0865717656
- ISBN-13: 978-0865717657
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 361 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming
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"I've read this book in French and all I can say is that, if you want to engage yourself in the market gardening, The Market Gardener is far more than a simple manual, it's the story of a life and a major giveaway of knowledge without the shadow of a secret. A must have, nothing else."Michel Michiels, Arlon / Belgium
"We are so excited that Le Jardinier-Maraîcher is finally translated in English! This book was an inspiration for many of our French members (we are a farmers' co-op) and now we can recommend it to all .... especially to the new generation interested in small scale farming...Thank you!"Nicole Briand Communications, La Récolte de Chez Nous / Really Local Harvest
"In his revolutionary book, JMF brings about a change of paradigm that couldn't come any sooner. New gardeners will find in this book a step-by-step recipe that almost guarantees success, while the more seasoned ones can use it as a steppingstone for future achievements. Ever since its release in Quebec, it has reached thousands of readers and caused a ripple of benefits: people of all ages, especially the young, can now aspire to buy or rent their own land and live a fulfillingand profitablelife in the countryside, which a few years back was still a wild dream for most of us. Aside from being very technically dense, it offers viable solutions to social problems such as land access, unemployment in regions, and the unsustainable nature of modern agricultural practices. It has literally been training an entire army of Davids that is now starting to address the bulk of these problems, or Goliath. And it's happening all across the province! Most importantly, this book deeply inspired me and gave me hope for the future without having to consult an eco-therapist."Alexandre J-Nicole, Biologist, graphic designer and illustrator
"Jean-Martin Fortier extols the virtues of being small-scale, and expertly details the use of such scale-appropriate tools as broadforks, seeders, hoes, flame weeders, low tunnels, high tunnels, and many other unique tools, specifically designed for this brand of farming. He picks up right where Eliot Coleman has left us, applying many of his core principles, but doing it in such a brilliant way as to provide beginning farmers a solid framework of the information they need to start up and become successful small-scale organic growers themselves.Adam Lemieux, Product Manager of Tools & Supplies, Johnny's Selected Seeds
From the Inside Flap
Grow better not bigger with proven
low-tech, human-scale, biointensive farming methods
should be of great use to market growers everywhere. ---Eliot Coleman, organic farming pioneer and author of the Winter Harvest Handbook
This is a fantastic addition to any aspiring market gardener's library Jean-Martin has laid out all of the basics for how we can farm more profitability, productively, and passionately on a more human-sized scale. --- Josh Volk, Slow Hand Farm, Portland, Oregon
Les Jardins de la Grelinette is an owner-operated micro-farm which feeds more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands. The secret of their success is low-tech, high-yield production methods which help them grow better rather than bigger, making their business more lucrative and viable in the process.
The Market Gardener is a compendium of La Grelinette’s proven horticultural techniques, packed with practical information on:
Setting-up a micro-farm by designing biologically intensive cropping systems, all with negligible capital outlay;
Farming without a tractor and minimizing fossil fuel inputs through the use of the best hand tools, appropriate machinery and minimum tillage practices;
Growing mixed vegetables systematically with attention to weed and pest management, crop yields, harvest periods and pricing approaches.
As local organic agriculture continues to flourish, young professional growers like Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches are leading the way with their innovative ideas about farming. Based on low-tech, high-yield methods of production The Market Gardener is a complete, modern, micro-scale farming handbook which shows that making a living wage growing food without large capital outlay or access to an acreage may be closer than you think.
picks up right where Eliot Coleman has left us, applying many of his core principles, but doing it in such a brilliant way as to provide beginning farmers a solid framework of the information they need to start up and become successful small-scale organic growers themselves- Adam Lemieux, Product Manager of Tools & Supplies, Johnny's Selected Seeds
In France, The Market Gardener has quickly become a book of reference for small-scale farming. Both visionary and practical, it is a work of rare intelligence. --- Charles Herve-Gruyer, permaculture teacher and grower at la Fermedu BecHellouin, France
Jean-Martin Fortier is a passionate advocate of strong local food systems, and founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette; an internationally recognized model for successful biointensive micro-farming.
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Keep in mind- this isn’t a guide on how to do permaculture or sustainable agriculture. It’s about maximizing revenue and profit on an organic micro-farm. So he may not provide information on everything you would expect from an organic grower. For example, I was surprised to read that they buy their compost instead of making it themselves, the way every other organic/sustainable gardener seems to do (or at least claim they do). The impression I get from other books and articles is that you can totally sustain your garden forever and ever off the compost you make yourself, and that may be true, but Jean-Martin states that the time and space they would need to create and maintain compost piles is better utilized by growing more produce- plus the organic compost they buy is predictable in terms of quality and composition, which are both important. It made sense to me when I read it. However, he never suggests that it cannot or should not be done on your own- just that it makes more sense for their farm, all things considered, to buy compost instead of make it.
Jean-Martin’s writing style is also refreshing compared to many organic growers. Too often they come across as if their way is the only right way, no matter the circumstances, but I found no such attitude in The Market Gardener. Jean-Martin discusses the various topics in a matter-of-fact way, explaining not only how they do things on their farm but why. He will explain various things they have tried, why they may or may not have worked on the farm, and give the pros and cons to each method, including the method they use, and the impression I was left with was “Here is what works best for us and why. Your situation may be different, so I will give you all the information I have and the reasoning I use, and trust you to choose what you think will work best for your situation.”
The practical advice throughout the book is stellar. There are no photographs, but honestly the book doesn’t need them. The Market Gardener is about substance, not fluff. The pages are packed with useful charts, tables, and relevant drawings. Whether they’re about crop rotation, crop planning, planting, insect management, financial aspects or anything else, the tables and charts are easy to read, practical, useful, AND (for me, anyway), easily adaptable. I spent a lot of time before I bought the book building spreadsheets that would provide me with a good “at a glance” for things I wanted to know, so I was happy to see information presented in a similar fashion.
This book contains, hands down, THE MOST useful information on crop rotation (and how to implement it) than any other resource I have found to date. Before buying this book I had spent literally weeks on the web, trying to figure out the best way (or at least a practical way) to implement crop rotation and not finding anything beyond very generalized advice to “rotate by crop families” or “follow heavy feeders with light feeders” or “don’t plant the same things in the same beds every year”. Trying to find out if plants needed a two, three, four, or more year rotation was difficult and there was a lot of conflicting information on what plants were heavy vs. light feeders (or in between), how long rotations should be, and so on. I also couldn’t find any information on how far move plants for the next season in order to avoid diseases that may be present in the soil. One foot? Five? Ten? A whole field? I never could find that info. This book presented me with a wealth of actual, practical, applicable information on crop rotation, the whys, and how they do it.
With all the information on how to run a successful small market-garden, I honestly did not expect a section of the book to be devoted to different vegetables and how to grow them, but the first appendix is devoted to just that. It isn’t as comprehensive as some vegetable-growing books and guides, and the varieties he prefers are (obviously) more cold-tolerant than the kinds I would choose for the heat of Texas, but the information he DOES provide is great. He gives the common name, the plant family and fertilization needs (good to know for crop rotation), intensive spacing requirements, days in the garden (which may or may not be days to maturity depending on if he direct seeds that plant or not, but it’s easy to tell which are which) and some other various bits of information and notes on the plant in question. The rest of the appendices are also jewels and contain, in a condensed format, information that was otherwise scattered throughout the book, such as the different tools they use and how to source them, or other books to reference.
All in all, I can’t recommend the book highly enough.
Fortier is the next generation, one of the acolytes that took his master's work and greatly expanded on it. I have a library of such books but none of them are as readable or as information rich in a short chapter as Fortier's book. While most of these books sit in my library as reference material I actually could not put this book down because from cover to cover material was covered in as few words as possible while giving a rich detailed cover of topic after topic, walking you through the entire operation and then following with very good resources on where to find the materials used and mentioned in the book.
It might be possible to improve on this book but it is hard to imagine how. It would be nice to see this book folded into a larger picture as part of a larger permaculture site that includes perennial fruits and herbs but I find no fault with the author for sticking to his topic and area of expertise. No matter what your accomplishments in the area of vegetable or market gardening, this book can give you some ideas for how to do some things better. If you have a permaculture site but want to grow your own food, this is probably the only book you will ever need on how to make growing vegetables a viable operation with the least amount of work and investment.
The book is full of helpful methods/tips and full of very important figures such as how densely you can plant the seedlings/seeds. You want to pack them in close enough to smother the weeds but not so tight that it will choke itself. On compost, he prefers to buy them. He explain why this is so. I just had to smile because we figured this out the hard way.
He also covers on equipment you need, insect control, harvesting, storage, crop rotation, scheduling. It lightly touches on why CSA is such a wonderful thing.
Only thing missing really is about marketing your vegetables, herbs, fruit. Then again very few books even cover that aspect of commercial growing.
The book will teach you on how to be more efficient/economical of your time and effort and to increase the amount of your harvest.
This book is a definite must even for seasoned growers like us and even more so for those who are into home gardening and those starting out. It will save you lots of frustrating hours and failures.
Most recent customer reviews
I was disappointed that there is not as much information on the actual marketing, though.