Making Money Mondays – Market Gardening

I decided to repost this due to the fact that gardening season is right around the corner.  I can’t wait to get to plantin’!

Welcome to Making Money Mondays!  If you are new here, Making Money Mondays is dedicated to bringing out the entrepreneurial spirit in you.  You can read Making Money Mondays on Your Piece of Heaven to get more information.

Market gardening…….do you picture acres upon acres of vegetables?  Let’s just say that with a little creativity and finding the right niche, you can make a decent income without that much space.

My daughter, who is pictured above, loves to make historical outfits and decided to dress up while planting!

First, you need to know what grows well in your soil. It is a good idea to have some knowledge of gardening before you venture out to a market garden.  If you have never grown anything, I suggest you start out with a garden of your own to see if this might be something you would enjoy.

An excellent book on organic gardening is The New Organic Grower, by Eliot Coleman.  I have learned so much about gardening, soil, crop rotation, cover crops and useful tools from this book. 

If you have some experience and know what grows well, there are options for you to make some income next year!   Let me give you two options today.

To anyone who is interested in market gardening but not sure where to sell, I suggest starting out at a farmer’s market.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One, you have a for sure way to sell, as long as it is a market in a bigger town.  I do not suggest small rural markets.  They might work for you, but usually people in rural areas are looking for a bargain price, and you won’t get much traffic.  I also do not suggest selling your produce at bargain prices.  It is hard work!  No Walmart prices here. Every dollar counts!

The second reason a farmer’s market is a good idea is that the experience you will obtain from working at the market and dealing with people is an asset, and it will introduce you to other possibilities by listening to your customers and what they want.  Also, networking will take place and just might open the door to new business opportunities.

Start out small.  Don’t make the mistake I made and grow too fast.  It gets the best of you, especially if you have small children.  It isn’t worth it to spend hours upon hours in the garden, and come in so worn out that family time is put on the back burner.

Also, find out with the market manager (the person in charge of the farmer’s market) what everyone else is selling and ask if there is a need for certain types of vegetables and/or fruits.  You want to have some staples but you also want unusual varieties.

Most markets require you to pay a fee for the market season and you have to fill out an application.

Market Farming SuccessThe best book on Market Gardening is Market Gardening Success, by Lynn
Byczinski.  Anything you ever wanted to know about starting this exciting
opportunity is in this book.  Just click on the title or picture to purchase.

Ever thought of working with a chef?  Does the thought of this make you a little nervous?  You can grow certain high-dollar vegetables in smaller spaces and sell to high-end restaurants and make a decent income off of just that!  This depends on how many restaurants you do business with (I suggest you start out with one or two) and what type of vegetables you grow.

To get you started, try setting up a time to meet the chef and bring in samples of what you have.  Some chefs can be impatient, but they have a big responsibility!  If you do not have samples, at least bring in your garden seed catalog and tell him/her what you plan on growing and ask what he would like for you to grow.

If the chef decides to do business with you, be consistent and bring in what you say you will bring in.  If dealing with someone who might be picky and impatient does not intimidate you, than this might be a possibility for you.

Backyard Market Gardening: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling What You GrowAnother market gardening book that has given me much information on this topic as well as selling to restaurants is Backyard Market Gardening, by Andrew W. Lee.  Again, if you are interested, just click on the title or picture to purchase.

If you like to garden, why not try to make a little money while you are at it?
This is also good for our children.  They learn more about the responsibilities of  gardening, planning and how to deal with customers.

Is market gardening a possibility for you?

Go here if you would like to write a guest post on Making Money Mondays.  I would love to hear from you and your money making ways!

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13 comments on “Making Money Mondays – Market Gardening

  1. Woohoo! I am so excited to read you future mmm posts! We already have a good start selling eggs to local folks and one restaurant customer. I am hoping to sell eggs as well as goats milk soap, some handmade items and perhaps veggies. Keep the info coming.

  2. Susie,
    After reading 5th St. Mama's comment, I must say, I think you are on to something! I will be following (and learning, too) right along 🙂 We haven't arrived at where we want to be as far as self-sufficiency and hope to continue finding things that we can do. I especially LOVE the photo of Kaila as she 'reenacts' planting in the old days. Give everyone there a greeting in the name of the Lord!!
    PS I am so glad you are linking this up…I think it gives vision to many 🙂

  3. I am preparing my plot now for my garden this spring. It needs a lot of work and I try to clear an area here and there when I can. The freeze has finally killed the tomatoes plants from this past spring. My friends are going to be doing a coop. Where several people grow different items and we all share each other bounty. We will see how it goes this next year.

  4. Well, this is my passion, so I hope I can put it to good use for you all! Besides, I have so many ideas, some are tried and true, some are just ideas, but I need to unload them to make some more room in my brain! My advice is to start something, anything, just start. Nothing big, of course, but the Lord will open doors for you!

  5. Thank you for this. I'm not making money yet, but it's in the back of my mind. I plan to keep up with your Monday posts.

    I love the picture of your girl in the vintage dress. She could sell dresses, too, probably!

    Annie Kate
    via Deep Roots

  6. I enjoyed reading this. I just found your blog through the Barn Hop so this is the first I've seen in your Making Money Mondays series. Now I'll have to go back and check out the older posts.

    One time when I was a teenager, my brother and I had the brilliant idea to plant over an acre of field peas to sell at the local farmer's market and make a little money. We filled up the entire bed of a pickup every time we picked them. They all sold, in addition to my mother filling the freezer, but it was a lot of hard work. I like your idea of higher end items in a smaller space better.

    • Tony, this is actually a repost from the very first MMM. Oh my, pea pickin' is probably one of the most back breaking of all! We always sold out at the farmer's market too. With all of the work, I felt like charging $20.00 a pound! Of course, I didn't;)

      Welcome to Our Simple Farm!

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