The farming business is much more accessible than many would imagine. There is a large and growing number of customers who want to know exactly where their produce comes from. Of those, a lot would rather support small growers from their area. If you have a large plot of land and have a genuine passion for growing things, then you should definitely consider monetising it by starting a small market garden. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you need to take to set up one.
Decide What Produce You’re Going to Grow
The first thing you’ll have to do is do your research. Sure, you can decide to grow turnips or red cabbage, but what if there’s no market for it where you are? You should also consider if you want to include a greenhouse as well. This would allow you to grow produce and seasonal niche products all year long.
Start Looking at the Equipment
You will then need to start looking at equipment. One great place to start looking is irrigationuk.com. They have everything you need to set up a greenhouse and a wide variety of farm field irrigation supplies. They have everything from irrigation pipe and fittings, garden sprayers, and garden taps. You can also check them out for simple items like a garden hose, or more complex things like dosage pumps and pressure tanks. Once you know the equipment you need, you’ll have a much clearer view of the expenditure of the project and can progress with your planning.
Plan Your Production
The next step will be to plan your production. By now, you should have a clear list of what sells well at different times of the year in your area. This means that you will need to plan your crops so that you always have what people need at the right time.
However, many market gardeners end up forming partnerships with restaurants and shops that might require constant product every week irrespective of the season. In this case, you’ll need to use succession planting to make sure that you have a stock of whatever they need.
Preferably, you want to look at the date when the produce will be needed so you can estimate when you need to start growing it. It’s perfectly normal to miss some things from time to time in your first year, but it can’t become a habit.
Prepare Your Soil
Now comes the time to prepare your soil. Ideally, you want to plan everything at least a year in advance. This will allow you to do things like covering the soil with tarpaulin in fall and spring so you can kill weeds and facilitate things for you later. If you wanted to use a no-dig method, like sheet mulching, for instance, the best time to do this is in autumn. This will allow things to decay during the winter months and you can start planting once spring comes around.
One thing you might have to consider is renting a rotavator in your first year. This will allow you to loosen the soil, mix in amendments, and break up any existing roots.
One very important thing before you start digging, however. You have to make sure that any cables that might be underground, like your telecoms or underground power cables, along with any other potential hazard is marked out. In some cases, you might need to call someone from the utility company to move cables to a new location.
If you wanted to start your very own market garden business, these are the first steps you should take. The rest is really about testing the market, being aware of recent changes and trends, and adapting accordingly.