Cilantro Sells Well as a Micro Green

Courtesy of John Y, John’s Backyard Garden, Missoula MT
I treat cilantro like a micro green. I bag it up with all tender leaves, no stems, and sell it in 2 oz. bags for $3, or 2 for $5. I usually sell out. I plant 3 ft. square beds every 3 weeks or so for continuous production.

Carrot Production for Early Spring Sales

Courtesy of John Y. John’s Backyard Garden, Missoula MT
Wally’s garlic experiment sounds like our carrot experiment. When I looked at last year’s overall sales I saw the best opportunity appeared to be more carrot sales earlier in the season. So I planted seeds in 128-cell trays a few weeks ago and are taking them outside this weekend. Our winter was pretty mild and temps last week and this week in the 60’s F so hoping the transplants will make it.

Like Wally, we had left-over carrots from last fall. We left about half a row in the ground  over the winter. When prepping the garden last week, we were surprised to find that about 90% of the carrots were not only good, but great! Sweet, juicy, and delicious.

I think combining fall plantings with spring transplants might be the answer to improved carrot production and increased sales for our garden.

Crop Profiles carrots 9

 

Johnny’s Quick Cut Greens Harvester

Courtesy of Victoria W., Deluge Farms, Plains, MT
I watched the quick cut greens harvester up close while it was being photographed for the Johnny’s catalog at this past Young Farmers Conference at Stone Barns Center. It works incredibly well. They cut an entire bulb crate full of miner’s lettuce in less than a minute. What was left behind was a perfectly flat bed of mowed stems, conducive to even and marketable regrowth. The macrame brush that lifts the greens into the basket was very gentle and did not cause any damage. I can see two minor downsides to the greens harvester: it requires regular sharpening of the serrated blade, and where before I could do
some quality control as I cut greens, by tossing aside damaged leaves, the quick cut harvester will pick up everything you put in its path. Jack Algiere at Stone Barns suggested that when using the quick cut harvester, spend a few extra minutes washing the greens and do your quality control there.

I am seriously considering buying one of these, it’s just the steep price tag that’s keeping it out of reach.

DIY Heat Mat

Courtesy of Richard E. MT

When it comes time to sprout seeds, it is warm enough that I don’t need my electric blanket so I use it for seeds. I fold it to fit the space needed and cover with plastic or tarp. I do it in my basement and turn off the blanket when seeds are sprouted, after about 7-10 days. Ambient temp is about 55 degrees.

I put up shelves out of scrap lumber using screws so it is easy to disassemble and store. The bottom of each shelf supports a light on a small chain to make it easy to adjust for the shelf under it. The secret is bright light so you don’t get spindly plants. I start about 1,152 plants, mostly tomatoes and peppers, this way and it has worked well for us. The cool ambient temp makes hardening of the plants easy as you put them outside.