Market gardening offers one of the quickest ways to become engaged in agriculture and make a living from the land through farmer’s markets, CSA basket programs or other direct-sale avenues.
Market gardens are found at every scale, from backyard SPIN (small plot intensive) farms in urban areas to much larger 100 acre mixed vegetable operations, and many 2-10 acre productions.
At Kula Permaculture Farm, we believe the market gardening movement is returning to its roots as both an essential facet of human existence and one in which systems are aimed at sustainable production— namely soil health. Permaculture market gardening means investing in the soil— through conservation tillage, regular application of organic matter, composted animal manures, green manures, compost tea, and year round soil protection by well-timed cover cropping.
Our Permabed System, as described in The Permaculture Market Garden, is an approach to market gardening that gives us a framework for regenerative production— we do not destroy our beds, only reform them. This technique leaves a soil conservation core at the heart of every permanent agro-ecological bed (Permabed). This system also entails the patterning of our gardens (organizational land patterning)— permitting the integration of diverse productions: whether annual, perennial or animal, in a way that allows for efficient management.
The key to successful permaculture market gardening is a smooth transition to sustainable farming without jeopardizing current profits. Sustainability should not come at too high a cost. For this reason our Permabed System provides a framework for transition, allowing market gardeners to commit to diversifying production to include ecosystem services, such as windbreaks, shade, beneficial habitat and organic matter accumulation— without a loss in organized and efficient daily rhythms of cultivation, planting and harvest, etc.