Gathering Summary: Gardening in NW Montana, by Julian Cunningham, Apr 20, 2011

Summary by Catherine Haug, May 13, 2011

Julian ran his Swallow Crest Farm as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for 14 years, but now is changing the way he markets. As a CSA, he started with 5 subscribing families, and had 160 members the last 4 years. This format pays the bills, but his children are teens now, with new needs, and he wants to develop the art, beauty and pleasure of gardening at his farm.

Despite the changes in format, several features will continue:

  • Apprenticeship program;
  • Pre-arranged sales with drop off in Bigfork;
  • Presence at Kalispell Farmers Market and perhaps also Whitefish.

This is just a short synopsis; you can find more detail in the complete, printable Gathering Summary: Gardening in NW Montana and handout: Julian’s Produce Distribution Timelines (2010 Season) (pdf files).

Presentation Topics

  • Climate/weather, including: frost-free days; variations/range;
  • Soil, including: ideal soil; soil enhancement; crop rotation; compost; cover crops;
  • Season extension, including: greenhouse/high tunnels; frost protection; enhancing growth conditions;
  • Irrigation
  • Crops, including: starting soil mix; seed sources; starts; individual crop needs; insects/diseases
  • Seed Saving (was intended topic but ran out of time)


Julian’s Recommendations

Related ESP Articles

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3 Responses to “Gathering Summary: Gardening in NW Montana, by Julian Cunningham, Apr 20, 2011”

  1. Shirleen says:

    On the transplant dates (from the handout), do they go from indoor seedlings to a hoophouse? or directly to the garden? My concern is that if they were going out into the open, the dates would have to be moved forward to compensate for the protection the hoop house offers.

  2. Catherine says:

    I’m not sure what Julian meant, but my thought is that seedlings started indoors need to acclimate gradually to the outdoors before being transplanted directly into the garden. The hoophouse would be a good transition place for this acclimation. but I don’t think you’d need to transplant them into hoophouse soil, just set the seedling pots in the hoophouse.

  3. Shirleen says:

    Thanks, Cat. Makes total sense to me. Now if only I can convince Sam that I need hoop houses!