Enter to win a Jang JP1-Seeder with the Josh Sattin Roller PackageJang Giveaway [05.19.2022]
Welcome to the Sattin Hill Farm Course!
This course is designed for aspiring backyard homesteaders, gardeners, market farmers, and basically anyone interested in growing their own food!
Within this course, you will learn all of the systems and techniques that Josh Sattin has refined on his successful no-till market garden. Josh’s farm is located in Raleigh, North Carolina (zone 7b) on a two-acre lot. With just under an eighth of an acre in production, you’ll be amazed at what he is able to produce in such a small space.
As you work through the course, remember that all of Josh’s systems might not translate exactly to your specific context, so focus on the principles and concepts, and how they might work for you. There are so many different ways to approach farming. These are the methods Josh has found to work for him in his context.
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Module 1: Setting Goals
If your goal is to homestead, or even farmstead, that’s great!
The important thing is to make sure your goals are clear, and that they make sense for your family’s finances. If you’re considering farming as a business, you will need some capital to start. This will require more than just a few thousand dollars. You’ll need to invest in infrastructure, building your business, marketing, and all of the other expenses that come along with starting a viable business.
It’s also important to consider the possibility that this might not end up being what you want to do, and the only way to find that out is to actually do it. You’ll be learning as you go, and that is okay! Starting off with homesteading or farmsteading is a great way to do this without so much investment all at once. You’ll be slowly building up your equity in the infrastructure before taking on any debt.
Module 2: Researching Your Market and Selling Products
A lot of farmers get into farming because they enjoy the growing part of it. They enjoy soil science, crops, and growing food. While that is a huge part of being a farmer, if you don’t have a sustainable business, the truth is you won’t be farming long term. To be successful, you need to learn how to grow the crops, but equally important is knowing how to run a business.
A lot of farmers starting out have that “if you build it, they will come” mentality. Josh fell into that trap himself. While he was still able to make it work, his hope is that this module will help you avoid some of those early rookie mistakes.
Module 3: Crop Selection and Pricing
Once you’ve come up with your business plan and researched your local market, it’s time to start growing! In this module, you’ll learn how to choose which crops to grow, what season to grow them in, how to select the best varieties, and how to determine pricing. All of these decisions will inform how to build your business model.
Module 4: Finding Land & Farm Design
When starting a farm, there are many big picture considerations, such as land acquisition. You will also have to consider your farm layout, design, and set up systems. Investing time and thought into this before you begin will significantly increase your efficiency once your farm is up and running. This module will walk you through the process of finding land and designing a farm.
Module 5: Preparing Soil & Creating Beds
In this module, you will learn about Josh Sattin’s preferred method for preparing soil and creating beds, called the deep compost mulch system.
We’ll go over the pros and cons of this approach, as well as how Josh creates compost, builds beds and walkways, and how he incorporates mulch.
Module 6: No-Till Practices & Living Soil
In this module, Josh goes over what the term “no-till” means and why he practices no-till.
He also covers the principles behind creating and maintaining living soil, amendments, and fertility, and how he prepares and flips a bed.
No-till (or no-tillage) is a broad term defined differently by different farmers, and it can encompass a lot of different techniques and approaches in farming. Tillage is best understood as soil disturbance which harms the biology and structure of the soil. The goal of no-till farming is to improve the soil over time instead of making it worse.
Module 7: Crop Planning
Once you have decided on which crops you want to grow (refer to Module 3), you have to figure out your crop plan. The best time to think about this is during your slow season. It’s the perfect time to plan out what crops to grow and how much of each crop you want. That will determine your seed order.
Module 8: Tunnels
Module 8 is all about tunnels. How you choose the correct tunnel for your farm, how to build a tunnel, modify a tunnel, irrigation, and more. There are many reasons why you might want to add tunnels. Josh feels tunnels are instrumental for the operation of his farm and credits them with doubling his production.
Module 9: Winter Growing
Module 9 is all about winter growing and how to protect your crops using row cover, winter irrigation, moisture control, plumbing and freezing issues, and winter transplanting and direct seeding.
Module 10: Irrigation
Module 10 is all about irrigation: overhead vs. drip irrigation, irrigation system design, your water source, running water lines on your farm, timers, hand watering, and sources for finding irrigation supplies.
Josh recommends designing your irrigation system initially with your overall farm design. If you set up your farm and try to add irrigation, you’ll likely run into complications. When designing your field blocks, start with irrigation plans. If you’re growing tunnels, there are also great systems for irrigation.
Module 11: Nursery Management
In this Module 11, Josh covers the benefits of having a nursery, nursery set up, soil blocks, the timing of transplants, hardening off of transplants, and lots of other great tips.
The nursery is a crucial piece of infrastructure that often gets overlooked when first starting a small farm. A lot of your time will be spent in the nursery planting seeds and propagating starts, so having a strategically dedicated space should be a high priority when designing your farm.