202: Andrew Mefferd on Hoophouse and Greenhouse Growing.
Improving crop production through the smart use of protected structures.
Andrew spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. He put what he learned to use on his own farm in Maine. He is now the editor and publisher of Growing for Market magazine.
Prior to starting his own farm, he worked on farms in six states across the US. Andrew also works as a consultant on the topics covered in his book The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook, another great book published by Chelsea Green.
In This Podcast:
Getting excited about agriculture in protected structures is the topic of discussion for Greg and his guest Andrew Mefferd today. With a journey that took him across the United States, Andrew learned a lot about different types and sizes of farms. He explains how he used that experience to improve his skills why he hopes others can learn from it as well.
Listen in and learn about:
- His early work on farms until he and his wife worked on the family farm
- Going back to apprenticing on farms from New York to Maine
- Starting with Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- How he started researching greenhouses
- The differences he noticed between the smaller growers and the larger growers
- An analogy for small farmers in both urban and rural settings comparing America and Holland
- How Holland can be so productive
- Why crops like the fruiting vegetables: tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and eggplant, and leafy vegetables and herbs are key crops for greenhouses
- How to increase your yield if you are on a fixed space
- The difference between greenhouses and hoophouses
- Why growing in protected structures can help prevent foliar diseases
- Brix for tomato to measure soluble solids and what that means
- Grafting vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants
As well as:
- His failure – How his hoophouses were not living up to his expectations and needs
- His success – Improving his productivity, helping others learn about growing, and his book
- His drive – His love for agriculture, working in greenhouses, promoting local foods
- His advice – The techniques for protected agriculture are scalable and there is nothing like spending time with your plants, don’t be afraid to try new things
Books written by Andrew:
Andrew’s Book recommendations:
Greenhouse Tomatoes, Lettuce and Cucumbers – S. H. Wittwer and S. Honma
How to reach Andrew:
For more about the magazine, please visit www.growingformarket.com, use coupon code URBAN to get a 20% discount on your subscription.
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