Planning a Garden – Market Gardening

Hi I’m Erin. Here in Wyoming it is no where near time to
plant the gardens. But the work that we do today and the decisions
that are made will have a huge impact on the success or failure of the summer’s crops. It’s time to order seeds and plan the garden
layout for 2018 on Our Wyoming Life. Hi and thanks for joining me today. It’s still ridiculously cold outside and
as of today we are still 77 days away from putting crops into the ground in the outside
gardens. 77 days if the weather cooperates for us. Now is the time to make extremely important
decisions about what crops we will grow and what varieties will be planted. It’s a world of possibility as far as seeds
go. There’s so many to choose from that it’s
overwhelming. We have tried and true favorites that work
year after year and somethings that we are still searching for the perfect crop. If this is your first time here make sure
you hit the subscribe button and come alone with us as we explore the ranch life and escape
the ordinary. Before I started growing for market, seeds
were usually purchased by the individual packet at a local retail store. There wasn’t much thought put into variety
or yield or crop consistency. Now those things are extremely important,
and more volume of seed is needed. Now days the seed catalogs start rolling in
before Christmas and lots of time and energy is put into deciding what worked last year
and what needs improvement. We also have to consider how much seed we
will need of each crop. And this year we are approaching the layout
of the garden in a whole different manner. Instead of planting individual rows of crops
we will plant in beds. As the crops grow the leaves will help shade
the soil and since the rows are planted closer together there will be less exposed soil for
weeds to grow. This does mean though that seed quantities
will need to be reconfigured this year for the new planting style. Let’s run some numbers. Beets are a great crop to plant in this configuration
as are most root crops. The length of the garden is 132 feet. All crops will run north to south with the
exception of the corn which will run east to west and will be planted on the south end
of the garden. The north end of the garden will be a 3 foot
walkway. There will also be a 2 foot walkway in the
center and a two foot walkway at the end of the row crops leaving space between the beds
and the corn. It’s vital to think about how you will get
in and out of the garden, especially when harvest time comes and totes of veggies are
being hauled out. All of the beds will be 30 inches wide with
15 inch walkways in between. 3 rows of beets can be planted in the 30 inch
bed. This gives plenty of spacing between rows
and allows the crop room to grow but the tops at maturity will get large enough to almost
touch each other. Beets are one of our best sellers at market. People love to eat them fresh and many purchases
are made each summer of bulk beets for canning. We will run the beets the on both sides of
the center walk way. 109 linear feet of beets times 3 rows of beets
means we need enough seed to plant 327 feet of beets. Now this is where seed packets or descriptions
on websites comes in handy. We are ordering the perfected Detroit beet. On the seed count description, it says that
1 ounce of beet seed will plant 100 feet. We need 327 feet but it’s always nice to
have just a little bit extra so 4 ounces or a quarter of a pound of seed will be ordered
from gurney’s. The same method will be used for carrots and
koli rabi. They are huge sellers for us at market. But when it comes to crops like purple carrots,
they’re not as popular. They’re catching on and some people love
the purple color but for many visitors to market they’ve never seen a purple carrot
and are still hesitant to eat one. We don’t need to plant as long of a bed. So for purple carrots they will be planted
on the 47 foot bed length side of the garden. Still in a 30 inch bed and 3 rows per bed. Just the length is changing. So for purple carrots we need 141 feet. Using a seed quantity calculator from Johnny’s
seeds it says that I need 4230 seeds. With extra I want 5000 seeds. Carrot seeds are ordered from territorial
seed company. They are ordered by the 1000. So 5M of seeds are added to the cart. Every seed company that you order from has
a different way of telling you how many seeds you need to order. You will see quantities measured in ounces,
grams, thousands or just the number of seeds per packet. The seed quantity calculator from Johnny’s
is a super useful tool to help insure that we have enough seed when it comes time to
plant. All of the order forms from last year are
printed out and it’s just a matter of going through everything and deciding what worked,
what didn’t work and what needs to be changed and why. Last year we ran out of golden beets so more
will be planted this year. But green beans were an epic failure for the
last 3 years and it’s time to throw in the towel and say no more. A few new crops will be added this year like
a red and white stripped beet from Johnny’s. Also new to the high tunnel will be different
colors of cherry tomatoes from Totally Tomatoes. We are ordering artisan bumble bee cherry
tomatoes in pink, purple and sunrise orange. They will be mixed with a red sakura cherry
and a sungold yellow cherry and sold together as a cherry tomato mix. They will be bright, colorful and snackable
and will hopefully keep people coming back week after week. Kids should also be drawn to the colors and
the small size is easy for them to eat. Hopefully the cherry tomato blend will be
a parent approved snack that kids love! For the first time ever we will also be growing
flowers in the garden. Zinnia’s and sunflowers will be planted
for pollinators. Plus they will look beautiful during our farm
to table dinner. Nasturtium is also on the list to be ordered. It’s an edible flower that will be used
during our farm to table dinner. How cool will that be, fresh local produce
and edible flowers!! Every year it’s a guessing game of what
will work and what won’t. When we switch to a new variety or crop we
usually give it at least 2 years before we make a final decision on it. Sometimes things like purple carrots just
take a little time to catch on but as long as they grow well we can be patient with building
a customer base. One things that we commonly look for when
choosing new varieties is if it’s recommended for market gardeners. The description on the bumble bee tomatoes
says market growers will love the new colors. This is exactly the type of info we looking
for. Market growers like myself are always trying
new things and pushing the limits of our crops. We need them to produce high quantities, look
amazing and taste great too. When sorting through all the different types
of lettuce we want something that has a long harvest window and handles heat well so it
can be pushed later in the season. These same standards can be used in a home
garden. You might only plant 2 cherry tomato plants
but you want them to produce consistently and have it be worth your time and energy. You can also plant in your home garden the
same way our market garden is being planted. Planting in beds instead of rows can make
your life a lot easier when it comes time to weed and harvest. Just scale things back. You can easily make your beds 10 or 15 feet
long instead of 109 feet. If we don’t take the time to do this prep
work there’s no way we will have a successful harvest this summer to sell to our customers
at market. It’s a lot of work and a lot of thought
goes into each crop that we order. If things are miscalculated now it’s pretty
much guaranteed that we can’t just run down to the local store and find exactly the same
crop that we wanted. A substitute could most likely be found but
it might not work out to it’s fullest potential. Over the years we have found that not one
seed company can supply everything that we need. Typically we order from 5 or 6 companies. This year we have ordered from Territorial,
Johnny’s, Gurney’s, Dixondale Farms, NeSeed and Totally Tomatoes. With the seed orders complete and a plan for
the garden laid out we know that soon the snow will melt and it’ll be time to get
to work. Tomatoes will be started in the basement soon
and the new high tunnel will be delivered to the ranch in about 2 weeks. As soon as the cold weather breaks construction
will begin. The new high tunnel will become home for our
tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. There’s lots of work to be done and our
target planting date is May 15th. Make sure you subscribe and hit the bell notification
button so you don’t miss an episode. Calving season starts in a few short weeks
and with all the garden work and construction to be done things are about to get insanely
busy on the ranch. Mike and I love this time of year and can’t
wait for the chaos to begin. Make sure you’re along for the ride and
explore the ranch life with us and escape the ordinary on Our Wyoming Life.

60 thoughts on “Planning a Garden – Market Gardening

  1. Can't wait to start my garden this year. I have had alot of luck with early sunglow sweet corn. Short maturing time and cooler weather tolerent. Oh I also have plans to grow a 300 pound pumpkin this year. Best of luck to yeah and hope the hail stays away.

  2. Good luck with your garden this season arron. You sure do way more than one would think to plant a garden. Hope Mike helps you. Lol

  3. This is so much fun. Thank you all for sharing your life with us. I grew up in farm country and this reminds me of those days…

  4. Brilliant!! You certainly have it down…makes me wonder how people did all of that without electronic tools to help with planning and ordering etc. I have never seen a purple carrot…do they taste the same?
    Well it is still raining in Texas and there are lots of rescues of people and animals happening here…we have had almost a foot of rain now and more on the way tonight. The Ranchers here are having a real time of it battling the floods.
    Good wishes with getting your new growing facilities set up. I am going to have to brave the roads tonight since I am out of food and I cant raid your garden ๐Ÿ™‚ As always I do enjoy your videos. Terry – Justin TX

  5. Your discussion of the beets got me to thinking is there a demand for mixed salad greens? Have you tried selling that? Did I hear that correct the beds are 30 inches wide? How much space between beds?

  6. I love fresh produce.
    My garden is much smaller and I travel allot in my RV so I stick with the basic.
    Good luck with the green thumb this year.
    God bless.

  7. Good video. Enjoyed it. Sounds like you have plenty of seed companies, but if you get a chance, try Victory Seeds. Started using them last year. Now it is my go too. Still using gurneys too but secondary.

  8. Hi Erin! Great, informative vlog! Quick question (that may be difficult to answer)……. We have no farmers market anywhere around us in rural west Texas, but my husband loves his garden and loves to share his produce with friends and family. We've always purchased seed via the little packets at the big box store, but we think it is time to, like you, purchase from a bigger variety and in small bulk quantities. Since we are a much smaller scale than you and we absorb ALL the cost, I don't want to purchase seed from multiple different companies, but rather, just one (to save on shipping and my time in choosing and ordering). If you can, (told ya this might be difficult haha), will you give me the name of the ONE seed company you would suggest/recommend to us please? I would greatly appreciate your input! Thanks in advance and keep these excellent vlogs coming!!!!

  9. i know its impractical to actually do but in theory could you grow crops year round if the high tunnel was fully heated?

  10. Wow! I can't believe the purple carrots aren't a big seller…yet! They are my absolute favorite eating carrot. Adding them to Chicken Noodle Soup makes the color kinda blackish. Almost to sweet, but I have no problem consuming It! Just got my seeds from Gurney's. Can't wait for the soil to warm! Have a good weekend

  11. Thanks for the reality check, I guess I need to plant my tomatoes and pepper plants this week under the lights. Nice info!! Great job!!!

  12. This brings back memories from the 1940's on a New England dairy farm where my Grandmother had two large vegetable gardens outside the farmhouse. That was such a great place to be as a kid, and your place seems the same. But, what you do must be so much more scientifically oriented.

  13. Mmmm! I LOVE beets! I would think for you, beets would be a double whammy because you can sell the beets and the greens, or do you leave the greens attached? I don't usually get any beet greens because the deer "beet" me to them. LOL! Great vid! Thanks for sharing! You have almost doubled your subs in the last month and a half… YAY!!!

  14. Erin amazing video. We run a 175 acre csa farm here in western Pennsylvania. Check us out on Facebook. Conforti family farm. That goes for anyone wanting to see a little bit of what we do. Also for those that donโ€™t know what CSA is it stands for โ€œ community sharing agriculture โ€œ . Enjoy and have a blessed day.

  15. I hope your "Operation Market Garden" is a bigger success than Montgomery's was in WWII. A little joke from a history nerd.
    We love the videos you guys put out and look forward to each one.
    Thank you

  16. Fantastic video! Makes me look forward to gardening season here in Ohio! I've never planned out my garden beforehand, but I will try it this year. I get most of my seeds from Baker Creek. Do you stagger your plantings so that your crops come up at different times?

  17. Erin, you are AWESOME and a great complement to and for Mike. God bless you both in the new year/season, may the rains fall, the grass grow, and the herd be healthy! A'men.

  18. Hi Erin, say check out the YouTube video of the "Quick Cut Greens Harvester". It is new on the market. I think it'll save you and me from back akes. I'm thinking about ordering one NOW before they get backlogged. Think spring ๐Ÿค 

  19. You guys are to busy great video. I tried the beds last year in my garden still fought weeds this year I am going to closed in raised this year. My garden isn't as big but trying something new.You guys are great to watch.

  20. what type of predators (coyotes, bears ect.) do you deal with coming onto your ranch, what are your preventive measures you've had to do, with having little kids playing outside.? thanks!

  21. Yep you guys are going to be busy with calving season and the new high tunnel construction and garden. Enjoyed the video my wife and I gardened for years when she had time. We would always start seeds in the basement under grow lights. Wer didn't seed everything as you do we would by plants for tomatoes cucumbers and a couple of others things but our garden wasn't as ;large as yours. The outer boundary all away around was her perennial Garden we would plant marigolds and sunflowers in the vegetable area. We grow zinnias and other flowers on our deck in pots to watch the finches hummingbirds and other birds from our kitchen window in the summer we would grow bush style green beans and always had great luck with them sorry they don't do well for you. Looking forward to seeing the garden grow. We still plants a couple of Husky cherry tomatoes and a couple of pepper plants and regular tomato plants in pots on our deck to enjoy. Have a great weekend and God Bless!!!

  22. Sorry to add to the question's you answer to Erin but are going to expand your out door garden in the near future? also do grow potatoes, parsnips, turnips too? Can't wait for your next cooking video mainly because I'd managed to set my sister's Chinese wok pan on fire while cooking sausages because I was to lazy to clean the skillet.

  23. Dutch were known as carrot farmers," Stepahin continued. "You could get their carrots in white or yellow or purple. Then in the 17th century a breed of carrot was developed that had a lot of beta-Carotene and was orange. And the Dutch started growing this in great abundance in tribute to William of Orange to such a degree that almost all other forms of carrot had gone out of mass agricultural production…in this very roundabout way our carrots are orange because our oranges are orange, and they've been that way for political reasons."

  24. If you plan on planting Tropaeolum, then it might be interesting to know that they also work as a pest trap, meaning the leaves will be insect eaten and your neighbor crops will have less of them. So a row inbetween other crops might be worth it

  25. Great video Erin! Have you experimented with any pelleted seed? I've struggled with the very fine seeds, like carrots and lettuces, for years! Just seeing the size of your order made me shutter! ๐Ÿ™‚ I've had good luck with the pelleted carrot seed from Johnny's and it's a breeze to plant and space correctly. I'm really able to get the spacing right for the first time and could even use my mechanical seeder if I needed to (Hoss seeder attachment for my double wheel hoe.) No more thinning (which I never could get right anyway!) and the carrots seem to grow faster and bigger, not being crowded so bad. Green beans huh…….sounds like I need to start smuggling green beans to Wyoming! We're covered up with them in Alabama. They like really warm soil and weather. When are you planting them? Maybe try a small patch planted later or even in the high tunnel. Just a thought!

  26. I think your cherry tomato idea is a winner. Sam's Club sells a 2# basket of mixed cherry tomatoes and it's a hit with me!

  27. I'm new to market gardening and this was helpful for me. I struggle with context and scale a lot, so laying it out as you did makes it easier for me to visulize the area I have to work with. Thanks.

  28. Great video! Thanks Erin, very helpful info for somebody considering starting a โ€œmarket gardenโ€. Answered some questions I was kicking around. Have a great day!

  29. Have you ever thought of a third High tunnel? Too bad you can't put a little sprinkler system in your high tunnel.

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