What To Do Now That It’s Winter!

Now that it is winter is the time to kick up my feet and relax…well sort of!

In the winter is when I start my planning for next season. What new tools would make next season easier? Am I growing for just my family or am I growing to sell this year? What kind of plants do I want to grow? How many plants do I need to grow? Where are the plants going to go in the garden?

This year I have been reading The Market Gardener by JM Fortier, because what he accomplished at his farm is very manageable I feel anywhere. I want to be able to eventually sell my produce and make it as a small time farmer/homesteader. JM Fortier has built a Market Gardener website with a tools page. I am super excited to see where he buys his tools, how he uses them, and ask for some of them for Christmas!

One of his tools that is his “go to” is the broadfork! These can retail for easily over $200. My husband and I tend to look for the more frugal way to do things; so I started looking online for plans to build a broadfork and thankfully Mother Earth provided. Below is the plans for a broadfork that I found. My brother-in-law is a welder and will thankfully be helping out with the welding. Hopefully in the end we can come out somewhere cheaper than $200 and have it built exactly to what I want.

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Now many people may be thinking what is the purpose of the broadfork! The purpose is for “no till” or low till gardens to get aeration and loosening of the soil. It creates the holes by the tines and the slight bend helps to lift the soil creating the aeration. The reason we do no till is because the soil layers are created in such a way that insects and bacteria are naturally working in the soil…so by not tilling you are not killing the insects and not destroying bacteria by getting them out of their “sweet zones.”

Another tool of his that I am intrigued by are the hoes. Currently to pull weeds I am on my hands and knees with a dandelion puller and a bucket to collect them in. The hoes that he lists would be able to get me up off the ground and still cut the weeds off at the root below the surface. We do not have a ton of weeds normally, due to the wood chips, and the ones we have usually come out fairly easy, but the more work I can do standing the better I think 🙂 Since we do have the wood chips I am thinking the collinear hoe is more the kind we will be using.

Another tool I am looking into are soil block makers. This is for seed starting. You get your potting soil, get it wet to the consistency of peanut butter, grab the soil block maker and make the blocks. The block maker makes a hole in the top of the soil to place your seed in, and as your plant needs more room, you can just add the small soil block to the next size up soil block. No need for stunting growth by messing with the roots or anything!

The last tool that we got this year at a garage sale was a seeder. We bought it for $20 and it had many discs to plant all kinds of different seeds. This should make direct sowing planting WAY easier this next season!

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These are the few new tools I am thinking about using this next year! I would love to hear what tools are in your toolbox, or what you have tried and doesn’t seem to work! So let’s here what those favorites are…comment below 🙂

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