Market Gardening – Getting Started

If you are considering starting a market garden for the first time this year, you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything you need to do. You might be wondering whether you can really make a profit by selling your market garden produce.

I have seen numerous examples of successful market gardens around the world, and know that even in less than ideal conditions – it is possible. But there are also plenty of market garden schemes that do not thrive. So to help you make sure you are in the former rather than the latter category, here are my top tips for those who are just getting started:

  • Know your site and choose the right growing system as well as the right plants for the situation. (Traditional market gardens work well in some places, but remember, an agroforestry type set up, or even aquaponics, could be the optimal solution in others.)
  • Know your market. This is equally important. But it is sadly all too often overlooked. Make sure you understand who exactly you will be selling to, and what they actually need and want.
  • Take care of the soil. Do not till/ dig. Remember that you will rely on the soil for a lot, and for everything it gives you, you have to pay it back. Soil health really is, as I keep mentioning, one of the most important things of all.
  • Do not underestimate your water needs. This is very important and something that many fledgeling market gardeners get wrong. Whether you live in a low water area or not, make sure you know exactly where the water is coming from, and take steps to manage it wisely over time. If you have only grown for yourself and your family so far, it may astonish you to find out how much more water you need when you scale things up.
  • Think about operational systems from the outset. Running a successful market garden enterprise is not just about the crops. Think about facilities for washing and packing, distribution etc. when making your business plans. Of course, at all stages you should try to make sure that everything you do is as waste free and sustainable as possible.

If you need help with design, or consultancy advice for your market garden, please get in touch to tell me more about your project, so I can see how I can help.

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