Farm Small Farm Smart Daily

When you are only growing a 10 day crop, how much of an affect does light quality and temperature have on the crop?

A lot.

Chris is in Vancouver where he sees day lengths change from 8 hours at the winter solstice to 16 hours at the summer solstice; a large change which affects how much light crops get to grow. Less light in winter means slower or no crop growth. If you are a farmer, you get this. It makes sense, at least for field crops.

But what about microgreens? Crops which spend only half of their life in the light, a life that might only be 5 to 8 days.

Does seasonality really affect those crops over those 5 days?

Yes, and more than you think.

In this episode Chris will talk all about the change of the seasons and how it affects microgreen crop growth - specifically the effects of changing temperatures and light conditions. Two factors which can dramatically affect crop growth, yield and quality.

How to Grow Better Microgreens All Year - Adapting for Changing Seasons, Temperature, and Light Conditions with microgreen grower Chris Thoreau.

DOWNLOAD the show notes at and CLICK on Episode 101

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Direct download: FSFS_101_2017_ChrisThoreau8.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Zach Weiss of Holzer AgroEcology discusses his experiences working on projects designed by Sepp Holzer. He also gets into Sepp's ideas and design philosophy.

This is the recording of a presentation that Zach gave at a workshop at VersaLand in October 2014.

Show Notes:

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Direct download: b013-REPLAY.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

To celebrate episode 100 I take a look back at the 100 combined episodes of The Urban Farmer and what is now Farm Small, Farm Smart focusing on the highlights, some backstory, and where the show is headed in the future.

See some of the highlights from the first 100 episodes at

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Thanks for listening!


Direct download: FSFS_100_2017_Special.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Richard Perkin's Ridgedale Permaculture site in Sweden, a prime example of what a permaculture farm is and could be.

A site that has undergone remarkable changes in just a few years.  Going from your average rural farm to the penultimate functioning permaculture farm that's right out the pages of a book.  And one that would also become a book.

Unlike many permaculture demonstration sites, Richard's site functions as a farm.  

I think it's a great example because permaculture or not, first and foremost it's a farm.  A profitable stand-alone farm.  

Where the permaculture comes in, is they layer on permaculture over that working small farm model.   They use the design tool where needed and as needed, but all while paying attention to the bottom line knowing that the farm has to pay for itself.    

The amazing thing about what Richard is doing, is he isn't doing it in the tropics or sub-tropics.

He's doing it in Sweden at the 59th parallel with 6 months of winter and 6 months of everything else.

That's the equivalent of the Northern part of the prairie provinces in Canada 700 miles above the US border.

Not the easiest of locations to be doing this in, but one where he's making it work.

And in true permaculture fashion the problem is the solution and the 6 months of winter allow Richard to rigorously plan out everything that he's doing on the farm.  One of the things that have really allowed him to fast track development of his farm.

In this episode we go in depth on how he's done so much so fast, covering a lot of topics from rotational grazing to holistic management to no dig market garden beds.

If you are looking how to blend permaculture, and farming in a way that works, this is it.

Learn More and Download the show notes at

Direct download: VOC_E225_2017_RichardPerkins.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

There's one event that happens in many people's lives which instantly changes their life forever.

Overnight, instantly, everything is different.

Your life, your approach to life, how you view life, and how you go about living life all change.

It's an event that some people aren't ready for and one that others are ready for, but one where no one is ever REALLY ready.

It's the birth of a child.

A beautiful event that instantly makes live more worth living and richer, but one which also makes life harder and more challenging, especially for entrepreneurs.

If you thought running a business or starting a farm was hard without kids, try doing it with kids, because it's exponentially harder.

Curtis is a brand new parent experiencing some of those challenges first hand.

Today, we'll explore what those challenges are like in terms of life and farming, and how Curtis is dealing with them as a brand new inexperienced father, while being a seasoned experienced farmer.

It's never easy, and as you'll hear it's always a balancing act.

But it is one Curtis, me, and most other fathers wouldn't trade for anything else in the world.

Get the audiobook at

Download the show notes at and click on Episode 99.

Direct download: FSFS_99_2017_Curtis.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

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Today’s show centers around Ben Hewitt’s book Home Grown; a great book that has had a profound effect on my life.

It's one of those books that I couldn't put down and at the same point it was hard to read because I got so lost in thought reading it.

It's a rare must read category book for me.

It should appeal to the homesteader, the wannabe homesteader, the parent, the soon to be parent, and the millions of people who are feel like the system did them wrong by sending them off on the wrong path in life destined to a life of track homes and cubicles.

It's a vicarious look into the life that many of wish we could live, but don't...

The subtitle of the book is Adventures in Parenting off the beaten path, unschooling and reconnecting with the natural world.

Ben describes it as his sharing of stories,

"They are not merely stories about all we are learning but also about all we are unlearning and about our imperfect quest to inhabit a balanced place that allows us to remain part of a broader world while also living in a way that is true to our values and vision. In a sense, for us this has been the easy part. I have found that the harder part is determining how to conduct our lives in a manner than honors these values and this vision, even as we are continually confronted with evidence that such a quest is impractical, if not downright naive."

The book is deep, and I hope that it gets you thinking.

This episode and this book is one that is very important to me because Ben's book had such an impact on me and as the title of this episode says, it got me to stop worrying and to start living. I hope that it has an impact on you, if you are in need of one.

Ben Hewitt and I, two father, talking kids and life, here it is.

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Direct download: VOC165-BenHewitt.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

While the prospects of starting a small market farm that grosses over $100,000 is lucrative and attractive, it's not for everyone or possible in every location.

And that's the topic of today's episode with Blake Cothron of Peaceful Heritage Farm....

A lot of what you hear about in the small scale farmer movement are the uber-successful small farmers that are grossing 1, 2 or $300k per acre.  They are inspiring stories, but those stories all share one thing in common, their markets.  Typically small farmers grossing big dollars are able to do that by selling their produce into larger, higher end urban market streams - market streams which will pay top dollar for microgreens, salad mix, and baby root veg.

What if you don't live near one of those large urban markets?

What if you don't have high end farmers markets and restaurants to sell product too?  

What do the prospects of your rural farming career hold?

Today, I am talking to a farmer who faced that exact problem, making farming work in very rural Amish Kentucky without high end restaurants and with a sleepy farmer's markets.  
In this episode Blake Cothron of Peaceful Heritage Farm located in very rural Crab Orchard Kentucky will share his story.  

It's an inspiring story about a husband and wife making a small farm work, by approaching farming in a very smart way.   A necessity, when your local customer based is used to buying vegetables at prices like 3 for $1 or $1 per dozen sweet corn.

If you're interested in farming, but you are nowhere near a large city, then this episode is for you.

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Direct download: FSFS_98_2017_BLAKE.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Paul Wheaton joins me to talk about his new Kickstarter and what he's learned over very successful Kickstarter campaigns.  He also discusses what makes a good PC, choosing the right PDC, and how he deals with the constant hate that people throw his way.  We wrap up the conversation talking about doing epic s*** versus living a boring grey life.

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Direct download: VOC_E224_2017_PaulWheaton.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today I'm talking to a grower who's admittedly "I'm a little bit obsessive about growing high quality produce."

It's an obsession that's fueled his farms growth, and an obsession which is a bit necessary to fuel the farm's growth to bring his fiancé onto the farm full-time.

And while Elliot Seldner of Fair Share Farms' obsession may be on growing high quality produce, it's not only on growing high quality produce, because Elliot realized the importance of work life balance and the need to have a time and place to enjoy the other things created on the farm.

Today Elliot is going to talk specifically how they do that, in part by focusing intentionally on making the farm more efficient through appropriate technology, no till, and optimizing equipment.

Elliot's also going to talk about how he and his fiancé are approaching farm transition. Because she's current employed a schoolteacher, a necessary step in their farms evolution, but one that's only a step, where the long term goal is to get her onto the farm full time.

Looking into the future, it's the farming methods that Emma and Elliot use which will make this all possible, a farm that provides multiple incomes on just over half and acre...

Let's get into it, with one of the masters of farm efficiency, Elliot Seldner.

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Direct download: FSFS_97_2017_Elliot.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 3:00am PDT