The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm: How to Start and Run a Profitable Market Garden That Builds Health in Soil, Crops, and Communities

The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm: How to Start and Run a Profitable Market Garden That Builds Health in Soil, Crops, and Communities

by Daniel Mays


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Growing food in undisturbed soil is nature's model for success and a core concept of sustainable farming. No-till practices and plant diversity preserve soil structure, increase water absorption, reduce erosion, and allow microscopic life to flourish.

Learn how you can use this intensive approach to vegetable farming to increase production while maintaining a human-scale operation, with fields, tools, and methods sized for people rather than tractors and machinery.

In this in-depth manual, Daniel Mays shares his proven strategies for operating a thriving, no-till, small-scale commercial farm, including how to:

- Maximize production and efficiency through soil health and biodiversity
- Maintain a weed-free farm
- Integrate cover crops and livestock
- Increase resilience through interplanting, hedgerows, and beneficial insect habitat
- Build community and a vibrant customer base
- Make a good living from farming.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635861891
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 11/10/2020
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 142,140
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Daniel Mays is the author of The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm and the owner of Frith Farm, a no-till operation in southern Maine that produces food for hundreds of local families from three acres of vegetables and five acres of pasture. With a master’s degree in environmental engineering, Mays has studied dozens of small organic farm operations throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at farm events, including the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Maine Farmland Trust, and the Maine State Agricultural Trade Show. He lives in Scarborough, Maine.

Table of Contents

Preface: From the Ground Up
1: Farming at a Human Scale
  Nature as Model
  Beyond Sustainability
  Rethinking Tillage
  Farming Values
2: Ecological Agriculture
  Science and Soil Health
  Succession and Disturbance
  Soil Creation and the Soil-Plant Food Web
  Nature's Principles of Soil Care
3: Getting Started
  Taking the Leap
  Start-Up Costs
  Acquiring Capital
  The Land Search
  Farm Design-Build
4: Establishing Beds
  Permanent Raised Beds
  Field Layout
  Jump-starting Soil Health
  Breaking Ground with and without Tilling
5: Planting
  Crop Planning
  The Seedling Greenhouse
  Direct Seeding
6: Irrigation
  Water Resilience
  Irrigation Design
  Installation and Maintenance
7: Weeds
  Treating Symptoms vs. Causes (Killing vs. Preventing)
  Zero Seed Rain
  Methods of Manual Weeding
8: Methods of No-Till Disturbance
  Flipping Beds
  Compost as Mulch
  Mowing and Crimping
  Occultation and Solarization
  Breaking Up Compaction
  A Plantable Surface
9: Natural Soil Care in Action
  Principles of Soil Care
  Cover Cropping
  Hedgerows and Other Beneficial Plantings
  Integrating Livestock
  Fertilizer and Fertility
  Pests and Disease (Symptoms of a Lack of Life)
10: Harvest and Handling
  Workflow and Efficiency
  Harvest Implements
  Wash Infrastructure
  Presentation and Delivery
11: Markets and Scale
  Location, Location
  Food with Context
  The Local Market Trifecta
  Spreading the Word
  Market-Based Growth
12: Labor
  Labor as Asset, Not Input
  The Right Work Environment
  Labor Models
  Attracting and Retaining Employees
  The Hiring Process
  Task Times
13:  Planning and Recordkeeping
  The Whole-Farm Organism
  Recordkeeping Strategies
  Collaborative Spreadsheets
  Production Records
14: Measures of Success: Profit, People, and Place
  Agriculture-Supported Community
  Spaceship Earth
  Quality of Life
  Metric Conversion Chart

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