The produce from the garden is grown using organic methods and sustainable farming practices that do not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Instead focus is put on using locally made compost, increasing biodiversity in the field, and choosing crop varieties and growing techniques that naturally repel pests and diseases.
The garden is managed with three specific practices in mind; mulching, minimal tillage, and multi-cropping. Compost is the principle fertilizer for the garden, and is used as a heavy mulch to set transplants into. Soil preparation is done with minimal tillage to preserve soil structure and increase healthy soil organisms, including earthworms and edible fungi. Multi-cropping is a major way the garden can grow more food with less land. The limited growing space in the garden requires multiple crops to be sown simultaneously for dual harvests out of each bed.
The use of a broadfork and smaller walk-behind rototillers prevents compaction in the garden. Cultivation is managed with hand tools and lots of hoeing. Solarization tarps are used during the season to smother weed seeds and in winter to keep soil covered. Cover crops like oats, peas, and rye are used every year to help replenish the soil.
Bugs and diseases are managed with organic methods such as crop rotation, field sanitation, trap cropping, and lots of protective row cover. Aromatic herbs and flowers are used to attract beneficial insects that prey on insect pests.
Production occurs at two separate locations in town. One is at the Zeigler Family homestead where two small gardens have supported the family for years and with increased cultivation surplus produce is now shared with the community through sales at the Norfolk Farmers Market.
In the Spring of 2016 a larger field at the historic Misty Meadow farm was plowed to start producing more crops for market. The leasing of this field and the existing greenhouse on site have allowed for an expansion in the amount and variety of crops grown.
Overall, the goal of the market garden is to start small and make big changes in the way our local community chooses to get its food.