In our first year at our farm we managed to supply all of our salad and fruit needs from our farm. In 2019 we wish to scale up our vegetable production using our kitchen garden in order to provide all of our vegetable needs throughout the year. In 2020 we would like to experiment with bean and corn production to produce some storable staples.
We have used the market garden layout which uses 75cm beds, we currently have 50 square metres of growing space and we hope to have a further 50 square metres ready to plant our summer 2019 crops. We really like the standardised format and transplanting has already shown to be much more comfortable as we can straddle the plant bed as we transplant.
We built each bed using slightly different methods, including a HügelKultur style design, straight compost, earth from our farm amongst other methods. When we have observed the pros and cons of each design we will publish our results.
Market Garden Observations
- The 75cm wide beds are very convenient for stepping over, as well as transplanting.
- We use 10m long beds which allows us to plant out a whole 90 cell seedling tray in one bed. This makes planning much easier as 1 bed = 1 seedling tray
- We prepared some beds with thick layers of uncomposted organic material. After two months these were still not suitable to plant our seedlings such as rocket for example as the top layer of mulch was too thick. So we filled these deep beds with seed potatoes to get some production from them whilst the top layers were still decomposing.
- We used straw as a mulch on some beds but found that grass quickly grew through and became difficult to manage, especially where we had already planted crops.
- We used olive leaves collected in mass from our olive press for another bed and left it with no maintenance. This bed saw no weed growth and so we switched to olive leaves for all of our mulch. They have reduced our weeding time dramatically as they are very easy to apply and smother all weeds immediately.
- We currently use a regular garden sprinkler linked directly to our solar pump. This can water a space of about 4 x 4m before needing to be moved. The system is working well with the afternoon winter sun and we will have to see what times are possible to water during summer when the heat really arrives.