Courtesy of Wally S., Wally's Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK
One of the mistakes I now see among SPIN farmers is they quit too soon. Once you get beyond the traditional end of season mentality you can add hundreds or thousands of dollars more, to your income, without much sweat. How?
You're probably thinking micros. Sure, they are a lucrative crop, and versatile. They can be grown indoors or outdoors. I actually find outdoor micros are more profitable once you consider the hassle factor of trayed indoor production. Pea shoots make the most money for me, and that’s all I grow now indoors.
My go-to moneymaker is storage crops. They're not new or trendy, but they have a big impact on my bottom line. Here's what they have going for them:
- they are easy to grow; most aren't bother by pests, and they don't require much watering
- they don't require the TLC that micros do; storage practices are fairly easy to master
- they are perfect for larger plots further from your home base, since they need space to sprawl, and don't need much tending
- they give you product to sell long after many other growers have hung it up for the season
- they help you lock in customer relationships you made early in the season, and can forge new ones
- no season extension gear required
Storage Crops Income Target: Carrots: 50 bags @ $3, or 2 for $5 Potatoes: 50 bags @ $3, or 2 for $5 Garlic: 50 bags @ $3, or 2 for $5 Onion: 50 bags @ $3, or 2 for $5 TOTAL INCOME: $500 - $600/week
If you want a stretch goal you can target $1,000 a week by adding crops like beets and tomatoes. Restaurants, indoor farmer's markets, institutions or a winter CSA are all good sales channels, especially the later the season gets, because there is less competition. You can consider it like an end of the year bonus you are giving yourself. How you use it is up to you. Splurge on an island vacation or maybe that new tiller you've had your eye on for a few years.
Here we're looking at $xx worth of storage crops that...