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The Market Gardener: A Handbook for Successful Small-Scale Organic Farming

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  555 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in eastern Quebec, just north of the American border. Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helène feed more than two hundred families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments. The secret of their success is the ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by New Society Publishers (first published February 17th 2014)
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Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I put off picking up this book because I have no inclination to sell any of my food, even though I devote quite a lot of time to producing all the vegetables my husband and I eat in a year. I shouldn't have delayed. Because Fortier's beautifully illustrated and easy to read book fills in gaps in my production campaign, giving me ideas for streamlining production so my crops will be more bountiful with less work. His focus on hand tools and on high-density production makes this a book that will s ...more
Probably the biggest impact this book had on my gardening was that, reading it in January (thankfully), I immediately drew up my year’s production goals, though not monetary like Fortier’s. I then created a bed plan based on these goals, which was an enlightening task. I drastically reduced some crops and significantly increased others. In the past, my goal was always to just grow something, anything. I’ve never had specific crop goals per se and have been more lackadaisical about how much of th ...more
Nick Neaton
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Life changing.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite gardening books, due to Fortier's excellent writing and practical knowledge running a small organic farm. It goes to show that you can be a very profitable farm on small acreage without the pesticides, without the chemical fertilizers and without the giant tractor/combine systems (not to mention the accompanying financing and debt) used by standard commercial farms. As my garden has grown from backyard plot to mini-farm size, I've increasingly incorporated the techniqu ...more
Andrew Welleford
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is truly an exceptional book, one that I refer to regularly as a home gardener. It is full of concise, thoughtful, and practical information related to growing high-quality vegetables. The charts and illustrations are simple but clear and effective. Fortier is on the cutting edge of small-scale growing, and I look forward to learning more about his new research farm in his next book.

If I have one small quibble, it's that the actual shape of the book is slightly awkward: its wide pages flop
Lynn Taylor
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Canadian Elliot Coleman!
Luke Merrick
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Good food, organically and locally grown is the trend of the future. The market garden satisfies our needs and benefits the environment as well. You won’t get rich, but you will have a fulfilling life. This book will definitely set you on the path with enough detailed information to make a viable business. I wish I’d read this many years ago. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to make a positive impact on the world.
Jessica Ferguson
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is full of information, but for the time being, my gardening is still more of a hobby than a thriving farm, so some of the techniques and tools mentioned in this book are too expensive or large-scale. For example, I do not think it would be wise for me to purchase hoop houses or extensive watering systems. (maybe one day!) I do recommend the book for those wanting to have a garden for income, but maybe not for hobby gardeners.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Seems more of a guide for professionals than for people trying to start gardens at home.
I think I am at a tough place as more of the beginning gardening books are too high-level.
This seems like it would be a better fit, but I didn't see to much here that jumped out at me as something I should be doing now.
Matt Parker
Jun 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: diy
Definitely an interesting addition to the field. Makes a useful complement to Eliot Coleman's New Organic Grower, but I'd start with that one - it's more comprehensive.

(Disclaimer: I am not a market gardener, so I don't have the scale to try most of what they talk about, nor the economic motives to want to)
Erin Casteel
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: garden
Would probably be indispensable if I wanted to earn money growing vegetables. Seems like a very helpful, thorough, evidence-based guide to profitable small-scale farming. I'm a hobbyist, though, so I didn't find much tailored to my interests and needs. Still, an interesting and engaging read.
Shayne Flaherty
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! There was some spectacular tips in the back of the book as well on grow timing, planning, and specific varieties.
Carol Bontekoe
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solid read

Assigned for class but I enjoyed it. Easy read, helpful, and inspiring. Great amount of charts and references to other resources if you want to go deeper.
Amy Beasley
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Love this text

When I retire, I am going to be a full time market gardener. Informative and inspiring, this book is a treasure.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiring and clearly and concisely written. Takes middle ground between till and no-till. Instructions are specific to Canada, including advice for dealing with snow melt, and that the land should be south-facing if possible.
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is indeed a handbook. I am neither farmer nor gardener, but have read enough Wendel Berry and The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing's Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living to want to be, and while I've read a number of books on permaculture and organic agriculture, it wasn't until I read this handbook that I felt like I could, with some reasonable confidence, actually just start out of the gate with a reasonable level of proficiency. The practices Fortier advocates may not be for you, ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, gardening, farming
Fantastic resource for someone wanting to be a gardener -- whether at home or for market -- and wants to increase productivity on a small space (acre or less). I appreciated immensely their insight into growing techniques as well as the extensive resources in the appendices. His appendix that goes crop by crop is also great for its detail for both growing and harvesting. The chapter and discussion of crop planning throughout was straightforward, easy to follow, and I think would be easy to emula ...more
Callie Works-Leary
I enjoyed this book because it comes from a next-generation perspective. It is rare to hear from younger people in gardening or agriculture texts. The insights on "intensive growing" in limited space were helpful and applicable. I'm giving it four stars because it is limited to growing in northern latitudes. My all-time favorite small farming author, Eliot Coleman, also speaks from growing in Maine and similarly doesn't offer much help for those growing in warmer climates. I think there is a ser ...more
Bruce Mackay
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The importance of being organized

I never dreamed that forming could be approached with such precision. It's interesting to see how such a small farm can be productive and profitable. The importance of the business model is also stressed. I would recommend it for anyone just interested in gardening because it shows the value of good planning. It's also interesting how viable this is in reorganizing our culture.
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was super helpful for me as I'm learning about growing produce for market. It's written in a personal style, with lots of examples from the author's own operations. It's a fairly short book, but somehow it manages to pack in a ton of information. This is a book I'd actually be willing to buy, because I think I'll want to refer back to it again and again for info on cover crops, plant-specific care and time-saving techniques, to name a few.
Adam Shand
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: permaculture
Great book, well written filled with lots of hard won practical experience.

I especially appreciated the breakdown of how they designed their garden and the tools they use (and the thinking and learning behind both).

The details of how they plan their crop rotation starting with how much money they want to earn is very helpful but I ended up skimming much of it as it's too much detail to take in on a casual read. I'll come back to it when it's time to get serious.
bibliotekker Holman
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Too many organic farmer memoirs are airy affairs about hugging trees and communing with nature, it is good to finally see something "nuts and bolts" that puts aside sentimentality. Fortier illustrates that a profitable small-scale operation is possible even in cold northern climates like Quebec. I may never get further than the garden that is about all I can handle, but Fortier shows that more is possible.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
So practical and inspiring! I've heard criticisms from other small scale farmers that the authors are unrealistic, that they make it seem too easy, when in fact it's very difficult to make a living this way. All the same, there are many ideas here that I want to take away to put to practice. Great book!
Karen Mahtin
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ag-how-to
(I haven't finished the appendices, but I guess I'm close enough) This book is an amazing resource about how one very successful farmer couple does what it does. They farm organically on a small scale using fairly low tillage in a place where they can't farm year-round. There are useful charts about how they do things, and excellent descriptions of tools.
Lauren Fulner
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homesteading
I picked this up from the library for my Organic Farming 101 class, and now hope to buy a copy as soon as I can for reference. My partner and I are new CSA farmers, and this book has valuable information about most introductory aspects of farming that will be incredibly useful as we enter our first season.
Melissa D'andrea
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good primer if you are thinking of starting your own market garden or small organic farm. Lots of helpful charts and info. I wish I would have bought the book rather than just borrow it from the library, as it is a good reference. I guess I will have to purchase the book in the future.
Mark Kramer
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The absolute best guide to successfully setting up, growing, and marketing an organic market garden.

If I could give it ten stars I would.
Elizabeth  Leonard
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent resource that I plan to reference often.
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ag-food
Several simple strategic ideas, mostly for bed preparation.
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