Interview With
Jean-Martin Fortier

Dateline: 1 June 2016

Jean-Martin and his wife, Maude-Hèléne.

Jean-Martin Fortier's book, The Market Gardener, really impacted the way I garden. First, his use of 30" wide permanent planting beds with 18" walkways is the ideal size for me to work with. I had experimented in years past with wider beds and narrower walkways and I wasn't happy with any of them. But 30" and 18" is just right.

And it was Fortier's book that broke down my 30+ year bias against black plastic in my garden. His use of heavy plastic as an occultation cover makes so much sense that I had to give it a try, and I'm glad I did. 

So it's no wonder that the current Planet Whizbang Giveaway is for a DVD documentary of Jean-Martin's 1.5 acre farm in Quebec. There are 6 days left before the contest ends. There will be three winners.

Besides the new documentary, I want to let the avid gardeners among my readership know about the recent interview with Jean-Martin. I highly recommend it. Here's the link:  J.M. Fortier on Six-Figure Farming With The Market Garden.

There is so much for a home gardener to consider in the interview. Jean-Martin discusses his gardening system, including bed/walkway widths, and  the use of occultation plastic. But I learned something new when he discussed the use of a broad fork (his favorite tool). It turns out that the fork is NOT used to turn or seriously disrupt the soil in his garden beds. It is used only to aerate the beds. Check out the interview.

One more thing... The Farmer to Farmer Podcast (where the interview can be found) is an exceptional web site and resource for people who are interested in gardening and small-scale agriculture.

I've listened to several of the interviews at that web site and another good one that I recommend is Karl Hammer on Microbes, Carbon, and The Compost Connection.   That title may sound a bit esoteric but, WOW, I really enjoyed listening to Karl Hammer. He has a way with words and the man is passionate about soil biology, manure, compost, and all of that. 

For those who don't know, Karl Hammer owns the Vermont Compost Company. The compost-based seed starting mix he makes is legendary. 


Lady Locust said...

Thank you Herrick for the chance to win and for providing such valuable resources. I'll have to watch in the morning - evening internet connection has a mind of its own.
* I tried square foot planting - I like rows. Also, you'll find no black plastic in our garden:) Will have to watch.

MaryJ said...

hello Herrick,
Occasionally I will forward your posts to my daughter. For two years my daughter was a volunteer on a profitable organic farm. She also began raised bed gardening in her yard, and had chickens, all with agreement from her neighbors, as she lived in a suddivsion. At the beginning of my daughter's 3rd year on the farm, she became the Harvest manager, and was in charge of the lettuce crop that was grown to supply several local restaurants. Now in the 4th year with the farm she, husband and 2 kids are living in the farmhouse and she and husband are running all aspects of the farm (they sold her house). They are doing this to learn the in and out of running a farm, owner is still living on the farm and is there if needed. My. Daughter and her husband have very recently purchased 22 acres, to start their very own organic farm. They have recently spent two Sunday's learning how to process chickens. I am so proud of my kids for finding their passion and pursuing it., even later in life. I live 70 miles through some of the worst traffic in Atlanta from my kids, I so want to be on their journey with them. They are also fans of Jean-Martin and his wife and their farming practices. I will be forwarding your blog to her today. I love everything you write, and admire you and your wife for Your Godly walk, I will also listen to the interview and watch the video of Karl Hammer.

Pam Baker said...

I will try to listen to this tonight. Just wanted to say, our Coop has a big square bag of starter mix out front every spring for folks to take as much as they need (for a fee of course) and the one year I used it absolutely nothing grew. I was so disappointed. I now use Johnny's Selected Seeds soil for soil blocks and have had great luck. Maybe I will try some of their compost. Afterall, they are right here in VT. And we are all about the "local".
Did you know Vermont (specifically Brattleboro) made the top ten list of "where did the Hippies go?" Yup, that's us...a few old farmers, old hippies and a bunch of trust fund folks. At least that is the way I've heard others talk about us.
Be well,