----- Original Message -----
From: Michaele Blakely <email@example.com>
To: Andy Lee & Pat Foreman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 10:37 PM
Subject: Re: micro-farming
> I sent this off last night and was tired, so I didn't notice I hadn't
changed the address. Sorry Andy that you got two. MB
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Andy Lee & Pat Foreman <email@example.com>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2000 4:28 PM
> Subject: micro-farming
> > However, I wonder if I might prevail on you to share a little about your
> > crop mix. It would be useful at the end of this rather prolonged
> > to have at least one example that people can look to as proof positive
> > such a thing can be done, and that indeed there are those who are doing
> > On the other hand, as you said before, it is spring, and we all have
> > to plant, so if you want to let this end then please do so.
> I don't mind spending some time on this subject as long as it is a
> one. I look to these lists as educational,I appreciate the differences of
> opinion, but it has been difficult lately waking up with my morning cup of
> coffee reading at times a total disregard for different streams of
> I've felt good and valid points have been made on either side of the
> What I do has been developed by me for me in northwestern Washington and
> the market that is here. I don't know if a similar set up would work in
> Calif. or Virginia or Ireland. I would imagine though that the concepts
> applied would enable a person to do a similar program anywhere in the free
> market. Basically it's try to get everything to work for you.
> I get out into the fields as early as I can, plant as much as I can and
> my fingers crossed.
> Actually what I do changes from year to year, depending upon the weather
> and what I perceive to be the "fad" foods for the season. I grow
> I possibly can in northwest Washington. I try to draw every possible
> from each square foot I have planted. There is never much empty space in
> fields at any particular time. I try to have a scenario going on in my
> where several things are going on at once. Sometimes this works,
> it doesn't. I incorporate my chickens with my covercrops, harvest the
> chickens, then till in the manure and covercrops in the spring for
> Sometimes I can put them on a residue bed, but I don't do that very often
> now since standards have changed about fresh manure.
> I'll try to give you an example. I planted broccoli today. The starts
> about 4" high. I'll plant something in between the plants to take up
> until the broccoli canopies. It probably will be radishes or something
> similarly fast growing. I haven't quite decided yet. The radishes will
> harvested, then clover will be planted. I've found that most of the time
> this helps deter the cabbage butterfly. The clover grows, I harvest the
> broccoli (by the way all season long) and in the spring the chickens go
> it when it begins to regrow. It's wet and cold here in the early spring,
> each night the chickens get a bedding of composted horse manure which is
> added bonus to the tilth, then the chickens are harvested etc.
> Another example: last year I put strawberries in, planted rather
> intensively for a first planting. I just couldn't stand that empty soil,
> I planted lettuces for the salad mix in between the strawberry plants.
> Here's another one. Peas were planted fairly early on. They are up and
> going strong. When they were about 4" high I planted another set of rows
> either side of the first row (about 3 ft. away) and a scattering of
> buckwheat in between the two plantings. The way it should work is the
> buckwheat will be blooming about the same time as the peas, the blossoms
> very similar in color and should increase the beneficials for pollination.
> When the peas are ready to harvest, we'll trample the buckwheat down
> okay) harvest the peas, hopefully over a 2-3 week period, then till it all
> in and put in a second planting of summer squash. The plants will still
> small enough to enable the harvest of the second planting of peas and
> that is done that will be tilled in and it will leave room for the squash
> grow. The buckwheat has served three purposes, it's attracted
> it will provide nutrients to the soil (although not optimum I realize) and
> it has taken care of weeds. But with the phosphorous from the buckwheat
> the nitrogen from the peas it should help out the squash.
> There are lots of other examples, but this should give you the general
> The other factor I consider just as important is how you sell your food.
> With the one exception of my eggs from my laying flock I generally do not
> wholesale. I need to get top dollar for my produce and meat. I only
> wholesale my eggs during the winter to a person who understands when the
> market opens I stop providing him with eggs.
> I have 3 killer markets and a CSA. If those weren't around I would have
> find alternatives, but I think alternatives are out there. The idea is to
> find your market and then go from there. I also should add that to do
> in my markets (which are very competitive) I work hard to maintain the
> loyalty I have received. Happy customers go a long way towards paying the
> bills, and they are as equally important as planting at the right time. I
> go in every Saturday in the winter and sit in front of a church where a
> "private sale" goes on. I don't have to, but my customers want my eggs so
> much they have asked me to do this and I accommodate them. I sell enough
> pay for chicken feed and then some, but it's not great. Yet each year the
> sales increase, and those customers always buy first and more at my stand
> during the market season. They attract others. A lot of one percenters
> like that go along way.
> So, I didn't give you a crop-mix per se. I don't feel that is as
> as having a certain way of looking at what you do, and understanding where
> your strong assets lie. Steve Groff wrote in saying 30K is possible with
> fresh market tomatoes. That wouldn't fly here. But maybe strawberries,
> most definitely u-cut Xmas trees.
> If this has opened up other questions, I don't mind answering them.
> Michaele Blakely
> Growing Things
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