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But let me start with a preamble on a few of the issues about garden productivity that were being discussed under my preceding posts, and also a comment on my own personal horticultural trajectory.Simon mentioned in a comment the view of the inestimable Tim Deane that you can grow enough on an acre to fill 25-30 veg boxes per week.
While offering sincere thanks to our loyal customers, I must ruefully acknowledge that ultimately there’s a cold logic to the price of labour and the price of diesel which can’t really be averted in present economic circumstances.
I got into this because I thought good things would come of communities providing for themselves, not because I wanted to grow exotic salad garnishes at prices to make a market shopper’s eyes water.
Essentially, we grow vegetables on about 1.5 acres and buy in most of the potatoes, carrots and onions that we sell, plus other items – especially during the late winter and the hungry gap.
Year-round I’d guess we average a little over one full-time worker on the market garden, but more labour goes into the garden during growing season of course, when we use a mix of paid, volunteer and our own labour.
Suffice to say, then, that from the high water mark of my enthusiasm to furnish all my customers’ vegetable-related needs from my own sweet labour back in 2007 when I started growing commercially, I have gravitated away from the potato end of the horticultural spectrum in a direction more generously furnished with chard, courgettes and others of their kind.
Market Garden Business Plan
At the same time, however, my political thinking has gone rather in the opposite direction.
And you’d need to produce about 10,000 individual veg items over the year.
If you put about 1kg of potatoes in each box, I reckon most small-scale organic growers would need about 10 beds of potatoes – so that’s a third of our space gone already, and we still need to find another 9,000 items!
Hence, I suppose, the journey charted on this blog: from prospecting a future of small commercial farms plying their trade, I’ve become more interested in the path of the substantially self-reliant latter-day homesteader.
Luckily for me, there’s currently a great group of people leading on the market gardening side of the farm, with fairly minimal input from me.