270: Colin McCrate on High Yield Vegetables.

Improving results in your garden through planning and record keeping.

Colin has been growing food organically for the past 15 years.  He worked on a variety of small farms in the Midwest before moving to the west coast in 2003 to teach garden-based environmental education.  He quickly realized that Washington is the most beautiful state in the Union, and has been farming, teaching and designing landscapes there ever since.  He founded the Seattle Urban Farm Company in January of 2007 and still looks forward to planting potatoes every spring.  

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Colin is the author of two books High-Yield Vegetable Gardening published by Storey Publishing and Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard.

In This Podcast:

Putting a brand new edible landscape together for homeowners and even apartment communities in the Seattle area is just another work day for Colin McCrate, and he loves it.  So, after several years and many gardens built & maintained, he has learned a thing or two about how to improve the production of vegetables.  He helps explain some of that here and shares a few of his tips and techniques. 

Listen in and learn about:

  • How he got started gardening and meeting people that inspired him
  • Trying to find a way to live in Seattle and grow food
  • A new version of a landscape business specializing in farm set-up
  • Learning through experience
  • Designing and building for homeowners to have an edible landscape
  • Working with restaurants to have production gardens on their roof
  • Helping community gardens get set up
  • Offering maintenance work after the gardens are set up
  • The podcast with how-to information each week – Encyclopedia Botanica
  • How he came to write his book and what is inside
  • The importance of record keeping
  • Using the book in the garden
  • Soil management and understanding how to keep you soil healthy
  • How to determine your own needs
  • Succession planting and stretching out the harvest
  • Relay planting and maximum production techniques
  • Choosing varieties to get what you need
  • Some basic tenets of high yield gardening
    • Selecting the perfect site
    • Plan well and keep your records
    • Know your plants
    • Grow with a purpose
  • A book for beginners

As well as:

  • His failure – Crop failures that happened early on
  • His success – Creating this business and creating jobs for people
  • His drive – Being inspired by the day-to-day with food production
  • His advice – The only way to be successful it to maintain a real love for it

Books written by Colin:


High-Yield Vegetable Gardening: Grow More of What You Want in the Space You Have

Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Crops at Home

Colin’s Book recommendations:   

Great Possessions : An Amish Farmer’s Journal by David Kline

How to reach Colin:

Website: SeattleUrbanFarmCo.com


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