He was a quarter of a century old when he replaced 1/2 acre of grass for a garden. Now 26, Jared Guildford says:
“Proud to be farming the land I grew up on. What was lawn one year ago is now a productive food system.”
It all started with some watermelon seeds in a sandbox. Then 8 year old Jared and his little brother found a packet of watermelon seeds. They planted them in their sandbox. As the melons grew, Jared was hooked.
“[Growing things]… it was pure alchemy to me.”
>>Fast forward 17 years.
A Millennial Farmer Defies Expert Advice
The experts told Jared that it wouldn’t work for him; that his soil pH was too low to have a productive garden. At the time of this interview, Jared is in his second year of selling at farmer’s market, and has a flourishing garden.
An Organic Market Gardener’s Journey
Tune into this interview with Jared to learn:
- How he got started, and his recommendation on how someone can work their way into farming
- How much money needed to start a small farm
- What’s working and what isn’t (wins and losses)
- How Jared transformed the soil from “not suitable” to a successful market garden
- Who he’s selling to
- What he’s growing and not growing, and why
- His top-earning crops
- How he’s harvesting, processing and storing his garden produce
- One of his best investments
- Unexpected expenses
- How many hours a week farming takes
- Good practices for Farmer’s Markets1)
After the interview, Jared went on to share more about how he transformed his soil. Jared shared that:
“I moved back January 2016, and immediately started to work the land slated for the 1/2 acre garden by rotating a flock of 25 chickens along with two pigs. I moved them nearly every day with the help of electric netting.”
“I couldn’t decide whether to invest in the pigs or not but then the words of Sepp Holzer (who popularized permaculture and hugelkultur)1) rang into my ears:”
“… then you will do the pigs work.” Sepp Holzer
Jared said that:
“The pigs were the hardest workers of the year, breaking up 30 years of sod in preparation for the garden.”
Test Your Soil
If you haven’t already, it’s important to test your soil. In most areas your country extension can provide soil tests for you. Or you can do your own via reliable soil pH testers which you can get from your local home stores or from Amazon.
But remember, if you have bad soil, you can change it! Jean-Martin Fortier, author of the popular book, The Market Gardener, speaks to this in our interview with him. Jean-Martin says it’s far better to invest in bringing in good soil from the beginning if you can, because everything else that happens in the garden depends on it.
Soil is the foundation of the garden.
Mentors Jared mentioned:
Michael Kilpatrick – Farmer, leader, speaker and change agent
Curtis Stone – Author of The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land
Sepp Holzer – Author of Desert or Paradise: Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, Including Lake and Pond Construction, also on DVD
Jared shared that he’s really into crop covers for building up the soil, and you can read more about that in this article on GardensAll.
Visit Jared Guilford’s sites: