[Market-farming] cloddy soil

Carol Larsen sunborn at mhtc.net
Wed May 28 22:57:27 EDT 2003

Thanks to the list for bringing up all the problems and questions I have myself but muse on all alone. 
This year I opened up another acre which turned out to be a very clay soil. About 30% of it is so cloddy I couldn't work with it at all even though I had a farmer neighbor put 4 manure spreader loads on it. That was just poor planning on my part. I just planted buckwheat  and a warm season legume on it  and we received rained right on cue. I'll let you know how it works. I was planning on mowing it in about 60 days and tilling it under, doing it again and then putting a winter cover crop on the whole shebang. 
I am growing flowers on this new acre and this is the first year I am growing organically. I belong to a group of cut flower growers in this area and we have been or are now growing sustainably. We hope to market our products to a large urban area with the hook of local, fresh, sustainable products. It remains to be seen if we can get our message across to the consumer via the florists we hope to sell to. Probably the demand will have to come from the other way: customer to florist.  I really appreciate the link with emagazine tho the article is quite old. Just this Feb I ran across another link to Living on Earth e-magazine which talks about the same issue (www.loe.org   -check out the archives for Feb 14,2003).
Lastly, our farmers market has also had an influx of Hmong  and the last 2-3 years they have brought very inexpensive large bouquets to the market. It looks to me that the quality is not very good but the price is. When I first started going to market there were only 3 flower vendors. Now, according to a recent poll about 50% of the vendors sell at least some flowers. You get the picture: it is very competitive. What do we all do when it gets competitive? We sharpen our edge by growing a better  class of flowers. Get a hoop house to have earlier/later flowers. Look for other markets/brand your business.  That competition sure gets the head and rear in gear. 
Happy planting!
Carol Larsen
Sunborn Gardens
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