We are out of town visiting family in South Dakota. Both Mia and I are alumn of the University of South Dakota (Anthropology and Philosophy respectively) and her parents and one of her sisters live here as well. I had some time to myself yesterday and hit Craigslist and found some real doozey’s.
Number 1: BCS tractor w/ 18″ tiller & sickle bar mower $500
This tiller is 20 years old so finding attachments will be tough, but that price is great and the Briggs engine is reportedly strong and should be easy to convert to pure ethanol (a home still is the next project). I know, you may be asking WTH I am looking at tillers for as I am designing a no-till market garden. Well, frankly I am facing the reality of perrenial weeds in the Hoop House. I am already losing the fight with perennial grasses, thistles, and other weeds which is making the vit growth a chore. Weeding this 100 sq feet of bed is already a bit much. Magnify that by literally 14x and you may sense some of my trepidation. Both market gardens are currently under established pasture, which means fantastic living soil, and thick established perennial grasses. At least in year one the weeds will be a significant issue. I will either need to stop planning to use dense bed planting to allow for mechanical light cultivation between rows with wheel hoes, or plan on doing mechanical cultivation between plantings -chicken tractors will not root out quack grass. Hence the BTS. Maybe… the ad is a month old. No-Till should be possible in year two as the “mirror” bed will be under dense smothering covercrops like sorghum/sudan grass for the year.
Number 2: Apple Crates 200+ for $1/each
Harvesting, storing, and marketing two tons of produce means that my small harvest basket will not be sufficient by a long shot. I had planned on using rubbermaid totes since they are (relatively) inexpensive and virtually indestrucable. But then I saw this ad and the possibilities seemed endless. Apple Crates will add a level of nostalgia to the market stand, I can wash the produce right in them, and in my recent reading of Root Cellaring the authors recommend apple crates for storage of potatoes -and I will have 1500lbs of those. Praying he emails me back!
Number 3 Guinea Pig and Rabbit Rescue looking for farm to take 250 gallons (1.1 yards) of manure weekly. Will deliver. Free.
No I am not making this up. The ad even says they feed the rabbits organic produce and will do weekly drop offs along the Interstate I live on. I understand that it takes a “special” man to be this excited about 800lbs of guinea pig crap delivered weekly to their door, but there it is. 250 gallons/wk equals about 64 yards of raw material annually. Which will break down to about 25-30 yards of finished compost for the market gardens when I factor in the surplus from the cover crops. Elliot Coleman spreads 50 tons of manure/acre annually on his gardens, so this one source would give me a 200% surplus in compost (one yard of manure is about .75 tons) for my .25 acres which would allow for the supplying of our Earth Victory Gardens with homegrown compost in Yr 2. If the rescue can’t find a home it will be going to the landfill. Again… fingers crossed on the email response!
3 potentially great solutions to some of my problems. All local, all reused. I love Craig’s list.
Hoping that Spring will finally be here to stay when we return. We got about 12″ of snow over the weekend, and I didn’t get my peas in (forgot to order inoculate!), but it was too early anyhow. Next week should have the first harvest from the Hoop House -can you say mache and spinach salad? I can!!!
Filed under: Market Garden