Mastering Summer Greens – How 4 Farmers are Effectively and Productively Growing Salad Greens in the Heat (FSFS108)

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Given summer heat growing certain crops can be really tough, especially greens. Given the tendency of the normally cool weather lettuces to bolt quickly, turn bitter, and have their foliage burn, many growers simply pass on trying to grow summer greens. The challenges are too great and the returns are too low.

But not for all growers. Over the past few weeks, I talked to a lot of growers and I tried to track down farmers who were growing greens exceptionally well in some very adverse hot conditions.

For today’s show, I got a group of those growers together and asked them all how they’re doing it, growing greens during the summer heat. And not just growing them, but
growing them very successfully.

In today’s episode, you will hear how they’re doing it and what goes into growing the greens from establishment to harvesting to storage.

There are some similarities in their strategies and some differences. There’s a lot in here.

The Farmers:
Elliot Seldner of Fair Share Farm in Winston Salem, NC.
Brandon Gordon of Five Acres Farms in Pleasant Plains, AR
Erich Schultz of Steadfast Farm in Queen Creek, AZ
Ray Tyler of Rose Creek Farms in Selmer, TN

Notes from the episode:

  • 2-300lbs per week.
  • 50% shade cloth with homemade low tunnels that cover two beds at once.
  • Transplants late in the day.
  • Increasing density of his plantings to try to get more soil coverage faster.
  • Fair Share Farm
  • Instagram
  • 100lbs week in Arkansas, could do more.
  • EMT hoops with shade cloth, uses 10ft wide, 30%
  • Variety: Muir
  • Water on timers.
    • Uses sprinklers, not drip.
  • Harvests early.
    • Washes the same day he harvests. 
  • Five Acre Farms
  • Instagram
  • Uses shade cloth to cover two beds and runs micro sprinklers in the furrow to help cool the air.
    • 50% shade cloth, not run to the ground.
  • Uses biodegradable plastic mulch and drop to irrigate under the shade.
  • Variety: Cherokee, Muir, Batavian types
  • Uses 30% shade cloth on warm season crops.
  • Steadfast Farm
  • Instagram

Ray Tyler of Rose Creek Farms:

  • Few hundred lbs a week, could do more.
  • Does an early evening watering with overhead to cool down the soil and plant.
    • When hot and sunny does 3 times a day of overhead watering.
  • Protect it as much as possible during the first two weeks.
    • Uses shade cloth.
    • Harden seedlings off.
    • Transplants into wet bed.
  • 50% shade cloth.
    • EMT hoops
    • Only leaves it on for the two weeks of establishment.
  • Harvests by 8AM
  • Variety: Muir, Cherokee
  • Rose Creek Farms
  • Instagram

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One reply on “Mastering Summer Greens – How 4 Farmers are Effectively and Productively Growing Salad Greens in the Heat (FSFS108)

  • Bryan Brown

    I really enjoyed the format and multiple opinions on one subject is very informative.

    As a beginning small lot farmer I would love to hear multiple farmers on the subjest of organic insect controll .

    I find this to be the biggest challenge for me as a new small lot farmer to accomplish .

    Its very flustrating to put in the work only to watch your crop destroyed by pest .

    I would love to hear other farmers preventative measures

    Thanks for all you do for guys like me !


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