You may just have put your market garden to bed for the winter (if you are in the northern hemisphere) but now is the time to start your market garden plan for next season.
There are a couple reasons to start your market garden plan now: first, if you had a garden this year, the successes and failures are probably still fresh in your mind. So it's a good time to use those 'lessons learned' to improve your chances of success next season.
Second, whether or not you had a market garden this year, there are some aspects of the business that should begin well before the season starts - i.e. setting goals, and planning your marketing and production (see my Growing for Market Get Started Checklist for more on the appropriate timing of these activities.)
And if next season will be your first attempt at a market garden, it's all the more important to start assessing your resources and your readiness to launch.
Setting Goals. Your market garden plan starts with setting goals.This is the first (and most important) step you should take when starting your own bootstrap market garden.
This is time well invested in the success of your business. You start by setting a target for sales - whether in dollar amounts, or number of customers for your CSA. You can see more about that process here Build your farm business plan
Plan your marketing. Market gardening is as much about 'marketing' as it is 'gardening'. How will you sell your farm goodies, and to whom?
Your Marketing Plan is essential to your success.
Plan production. Next you need to plan your production to satisfy your customers and meet your sales goals. Here are questions you need to answer to build your production plan
You can see more about
how to plan a garden here
Plan your farm website. My farm website is a major source of new customers for me, and my primary means of communication with existing customers. It also produces income in it's own right.
Now is a good time of year to learn how to build a web site for your farm for next season. There is a 'learning curve' that must be climbed, and this is best done in the 'off-season'. Find out
How we grew a farm website .
Of course, this is also the time of year that those shiny new seed catalogs start appearing. Personally, leafing through them and seeing new plant varietals and new gardening tools I want to try makes me feel like a kid in a toy store.
When you are planning your seed order, give some thought to supporting local and/or organic seed houses. Many of these smaller seed suppliers are committed to maintaining stock of heritage and hard-to-find seeds, and they can use your support.
New for 2020: Get my FREE One-Acre Farm Plan and learn how to pigs, chickens and more, integrated with an organic market garden, to make more money from your small property.
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Being a good grower is only part of the answer to success. You also have to:
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