The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin FortierThe Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin Fortier

The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

byJean-Martin Fortier

Paperback | March 1, 2014

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Grow better not bigger with proven low-tech, human-scale, biointensive farming methods

Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in Eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helene feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments. The secret of their success is the low-tech, high-yield production methods they've developed by focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

The Market Gardener is a compendium of La Grelinette's proven horticultural techniques and innovative growing methods. This complete guide is 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.

Inspired by the French intensive tradition of maraichage and by iconic American vegetable grower Eliot Coleman, author and farmer Jean-Martin shows by example how to start a market garden and make it both very productive and profitable. Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think.

Jean-Martin Fortier and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches are the founders of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized micro-farm famous for its high productivity-profitability using low-tech, high-yield methods of production. A leading practitioner of biologically intensive cropping systems, Jean-Martin has more tha...
Title:The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scale Organic FarmingFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:224 pages, 8.6 × 8.6 × 0.6 inShipping dimensions:8.6 × 8.6 × 0.6 inPublished:March 1, 2014Publisher:New Society PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0865717656

ISBN - 13:9780865717657


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Practical This book is absolutely packed with tons of practical and applicable ideas for the market gardener. While I don’t necessarily agree with every one of the methods explained in this book, I gleaned so much new knowledge and information from it.
Date published: 2018-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic and practical This book has been around for awhile, but is practical and helpful. Pretty much all gardeners can benefit from reading this and using the common sense suggestions.
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Full of amazing information about organic growing! This book is full of useful tools and knowledge about starting your own organic farming operation. It also is a very easy read.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent One of my all time favorite gardening books.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jean Martin has knocked it out of the park! Detailing the methods he's learned over his more than 15 years as a market gardener, JM gives the blueprint for successful operation of a profitable grow for market enterprise. Whether you are an avid gardener, or just starting out, this book has something for you to help get more produce out of your production efforts.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic book I am not interested in becoming a market gardener but I do want to be able to get the maximum from my garden to feed my family. This book will show you how to do that. It contains information on a wide array of vegetables from planting dates to recommended varieties. This is a great book.
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Truly an inspiration! Amazing guidance on planning and growing a small garden into a sustainable and viable farming business. Useful tips and strategies for even the home gardener.
Date published: 2015-01-20

Read from the Book

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Table of Contents


1 Small Is Profitable
Can You Really Live ff 1.5 Acres?
Not Just Making a Good Living, but Making a Good Life

2 Succeeding as a Small-Scale Organic Vegetable Grower
A Biologically Intensive Approach
Minimizing Start-Up Costs
Minimizing Production Costs
Direct Selling
Adding Value to the Crops
Learning the Craft

3 Finding the Right Site
Climate and Microclimate
Market Access
Growing Space Needed
Soil Quality
Access to Water
Assessing Possible Pollution Problems

4 Designing the Market Garden
Buildings and Foot Traffic
Standardizing the Garden Layout
Locating the Greenhouse and Tunnels
Protection against Deer

5 Minimum Tillage and Appropriate Machinery
Permanent Raised Beds
The Two-Wheel Tractor
The Broadfork (Grelinette)
Tarps and Pre-Crop Ground Cover
To Till or not to Till

6 Fertilizing Organically
Soil Tests
Crop Requirements
Managing Soil Fertility
Good Compost
Relying on Natural Fertilizers - Why?
Establishing Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation at Les Jardins de la Grelinette
Green Manure and Cover Crops
Connecting with Soil Ecology

7 Starting Seeds Indoors
Seeding in Cell Flats
The Soil Mix
Filling Cell Flats
The Seedling Room
The Evolving Plant Nursery
Heating and Ventilation of the Nursery
How to Water Seedlings
Potting up
Transplanting into the Gardens

8 Direct Seeding
Precision Seeders
Seedbed Preparation
Record Keeping

9 Weed Management
Cultivating with Hoes
Weeding with Tarps
The Stale Seedbed Technique
Flame Weeding
Weed Control Technology

10 Insect Pests and Diseases
Disease Prevention
Using Biopesticides

11 Season Extension
Floating Row Cover and Low Tunnels
Caterpillar Tunnels

12 Harvest and Storage
Harvesting Efficiently
Harvest Help
The Cold Room

13 Crop Planning
Setting Farming Objectives
Determining Production
Establishing a Crop Calendar
Making a Garden Plan
Record Keeping

Conclusion: Farming for Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle

Appendix 1: Crop Notes
Appendix 2: Tools and Suppliers
Appendix 3: Garden Plan
Appendix 4: Annotated Bibliography
Appendix 5: Glossary

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"Jean-Martin's book is very well done and should be of great use to market growers everywhere. Exchange of ideas and information is so important because when we pass ideas on, the next person gets to start where we got to and take the ideas to another level." — Eliot Coleman, organic farming pioneer and author of the Winter Harvest Handbook "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 fulfilling-and profitable-life 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