Row By Row Episode 114: How To Start a Successful Market Farm From Your Home Garden

Things to Consider Before Diving into a Market Farm

Growing food for your family and friends is one thing but turning it into a profitable business is another. A market farm can be a very successful business if the right components come together, but if not, it may not be worth your time or money. Travis of Hoss Tools has run a market farm business for six years and wants to share a few of his tips for making sure this business is for you.

Before you dive into this market farm headfirst, there are some things you need to consider. First, make sure that you have already mastered gardening just for your family. If you cannot garden successfully for your family alone, you don’t need to worry about feeding others. 

Another thing you want to have a good grasp of before you begin is knowing your customer. For Travis, that is catering towards the middle-class, working mom types. Because Travis delivers a vegetable bag to people’s homes, his reliable customers want fresh food but don’t have time to grow it themselves.

Understanding your customer is also understanding what vegetables are popular among your community. It would help if you grew the things that are going to sell, which can differ for each region. Down here in South Georgia, some of the easiest and profitable vegetables include:

  •  Kale
  • Okra
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant

Also, remember to be cautious of only growing things that you are good at growing. If you aren’t good at growing Kale, don’t waste your time and money. 

Ways to Make Your Market Farm Profitable

When market farming, you need to remember the grocery store is not your competition. You can not base your prices on what the grocery store does. Understand why your produce is superior and sell that to your customers; they will then justify the expense.

Figuring out how you would like to structure selling your vegetables will help a lot too. Do you want to sell retail or wholesale, or a mix of both? It is always a good idea, whatever you can’t sell directly to customers, to ask butcher shops or local country stores if they would like some of your produce. It is important to remember to have a plan from the beginning, start small, and be okay with change.

Marketing your products online is a great way to make your business more profitable. Showing future customers recipes and cooking demonstrations with the vegetables you are selling that week is a great way to advertise. Facebook and Instagram are great places to do this. To get your name out there, you need to utilize social media.

Show and Tell Segment

There are many crops in South Georgia that we can’t enjoy that the northerners can, but there are also many things we get to grow that they cannot. One of those items includes Muscadines. Muscadines come off in August, which is a perfect time with it being a break between our summer and fall gardens. Muscadines are a staple homestead item and an ideal garden snack, and you can find them all over South Georiga.

As mentioned above, it is a quiet time around the garden as we are finished with our spring garden and waiting until it is time to plant for the Fall. Right now, our cover crops are getting pretty tall, and it’s about time to work them back into the garden. This year we tried many combinations of warm-season cover crops, known as cover crop cocktails. When mixing cover crops, you need to look at the growth rate and how tall each one gets and plant those similar together. Not doing this will have one plant overpowering the other, leaving one with no sun to keep growing, therefore, missing the benefits that crop could bring to the garden.

If you aren’t following Hoss Tools on Instagram or Facebook, make sure you check it out. We are currently doing a question of the day series only on those platforms to help answer some of the most frequently asked gardener questions. Also, don’t forget to submit your recipes for the Row By Row Cookbook. The categories include Pickling and Preserving, Southern Favorites, Soups and Such, and Snack Attack.

Viewer Question Segment

Hoss Tools love answering all of the viewer’s questions because our motto has always been to help others grow their own food. Today we had someone ask about planting pole beans on the Hortonova Trellis Netting. Travis explained that this Hortonove Trellis is perfect for pole beans and that a family of four only needs about a 30-foot row of pole beans to get plenty for them and to share with others.

Our next viewer asked about transplants’ tips, and Greg shared the three mistakes he sees most often. The transplants are usually too dry, too wet, or there is not enough fertilizer. It would be best if you watered your transplants until you see water coming out of the bottom. You also want to fertilize them as soon as their true leaves establish. It would help if you fertilized two or three times for a successful transplant before they get placed in the ground.

Corn is a trendy crop to grow in the garden, and currently, the Sweet Corn varieties are the trending types. This viewer asked about a particular variety we haven’t been able to get our hands out, but it is a Field Corn variety. Field Corn varieties use to be a lot more popular and are Greg’s preferred type of corn, but the Sweet Corn types defiantly store a lot better. 

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