Photos from the Market Gardening course which ran in April this year. To read a review from one of the participants on this course read our blog post...
Course Date 23rd - 25th September 2017
Ashley Wheeler Ashley runs Trill Farm Garden with his partner Kate. They specialise in growing salads to sell to restaurants around Lyme Regis. Ashley is a founding member of Landworkers' Alliance.
Charles Dowding Charles Dowding, runs a quarter acre, super intensive no dig garden in Somerset, selling salad bags and veg to local restaurants and shops. He writes and teaches extensively on growing vegetables, and on his speciality of no dig.
Hugh Chapman Hugh has been a field scale organic vegetable producer since 1984, for the last 30 years on a 10 acre smallholding in the Cerne valley near Dorchester, Dorset. Marketing as Longmeadow Organic Vegetables, was originally wholesale, then through a box scheme and farm shop.
Course detail This workshop will not only cover much of the fundamental principles of crop production, but will also focus on how to run a successful market garden business. One of the critical aspects of running a market garden well is being organised, so record keeping and basic accounts will be talked about as well as crop planning, sowing schedules and crop rotations. The course will be suitable for people who are looking into starting up a small scale market gardening business, as well as those who have already started. Soil types as well as soil health and fertility will be talked about along with other technical aspects of growing vegetables such as propagation, cultivation, protected cropping, pests and disease, seed saving and harvesting, packing and storing vegetables.
The course will be run over three days (23rd, 24th and 25th September 2017) and led by three different tutors at three different holdings.
After meeting at Monkton Wyld Court, the participants will go to Trill Farm Garden where Ashley runs a 2.5 acre smallholding with his partner Kate. Ashley will cover the following:
Setting up a market garden, including infrastructure needed
Selling to restaurants
Growing salad all year round
Propagating all your plants
Small scale growing techniques with minimal machinery
Making the most of a small plot by growing high value crops that grow well on your soil and can be easily marketed.
On the second day, participants will go to Longmeadow Organics near Dorchester where Hugh and Patsy Chapman have been organic vegetable growers for well over 20 years. Hugh will cover the following:
An introduction to and history of our 30 years growing here at Longmeadow, and the previous 4 years in west Somerset, with big differences in soil types, altitude, climate, accessibility etc.
Field scale rotations, green manures, crop planning and primary cultivation techniques ,bed preparation, row widths, beds or ridges etc.
A brief history of field scale horticultural equipment, and a look at the latest tackle available for the small grower. Then a more detailed look of what we have here, its use in the field hopefully with a demonstration conditions allowing. this will cover setting up,sowing, planting, mechanical weeding,inter-row/bed cultivating, harvesting.
Suitable tractors, how to find them, basic maintenance, necessary adjustments and safety issues.
Field scale irrigation, pest control, crop covers.
On the final day of the course we will be visiting Homeacres, where Charles Dowding grows salad and vegetables using a no dig system. He will talk about the merits of using no dig in a market garden, covering the following:
small scale no dig
initial weed clearance using compost and/or polythene
being clear of pests, especially slugs
intensive cropping, early cropping and double cropping
low weed pressure
time management, setting beds up in winter for minimum time needed in summer
using a hotbed for propagation
share yield figures to assess profitability of certain veg
methods for growing and packing salad leaves
selling methods - boxes, markets, direct sales.
Overall the course will cover three very different production systems from tutors with a combined experience of over 70 years of growing vegetables.