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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Growing vegetables
...Timing your veg
...In heavy Soil
...In light Soil
...With Organic Manure
...Seaweed
...Cultivating
...Ditches
...Irrigation
...Your enemies & friends
...After germination
...Overworking
>..Presenting the product
...Specialist veg
...Sprouts to Endive
...Eggplant to Salsify
...Sea Kale etc

We grow a lot of our crops in blocks rather than in traditional rows.

This increases ground cover and if you keep the weeds at bay in the early stages the plants soon become big enough to make their own way. Planting closer together than usual also helps this method. It means that things like beetroot and lettuces tend to be harvested while they are smaller than most for sale. This achieves two objects: first, it decreases the amount of possible damage from slugs and other things that eat into your growing plants and secondly, it provides a more attractive crop. A bunch of beetroot, the globes some 1.5 to 2 inches across, tied with raffia around the stalks with the deep green leaves still attached, is a beautiful sight. Buyers at the farm gate and local shops will often be tempted by this natural presentation to buy. Once the beetroot grow to a standard three or more inches in diameter, your product is just the same as that available everywhere. You have lost the advantage that smaller scale production can have.

If you aim to encourage the public to buy directly from you, plan the vegetable area with visual effect in mind. Marrows are quite spectacular in growth. Plant them in a compost heap and the trailing variety will soon cover the area with umbrella leaves and bright yellow flowers. The flowers themselves can be harvested and stuffed and deep-fried. Perhaps your customers are not aware of this a small recipe sheet often inspires specialist buying. Leave some of the yellow flowers to grow into marrows and you have had two incomes from one crop. Selling on a farm gate scale means that you can also bundle together succulent little carrots taken as thinnings from a main carrot crop. These little carrots do not look beautiful for long as they wilt in a dry atmosphere but if they are sold quickly and cooked gently, they are the most delicious carrots of all.

Everyone, public and shopkeeper alike, will be encouraged to buy if you can chat about the special delights of your products. Become an enthusiastic vegetable-eater and the feeling will soon come across to other people. When you see what a small portion of housekeeping fresh vegetables have become, it proves that there is scope for an enthusiast. Some health shops will sell fresh vegetables they must usually be organically grown.

Many young housewives have been brought up almost entirely on a diet of frozen vegetables. The same customers are often the ones with a keen interest in cooking so if you can put a tempting array of vegetables in front of them, you will have willing buyers. A trip to the continent always shows what many of us are missing: there every little corner grocery seems to offer a tempting variety of fresh vegetables. You can even carry the presentation theme as far as preparing strings of onions for sale. It is quite simple, you simply tie the dried onion stalks to a piece of string and form a chain. While we would not think of suggesting that the vegetable growers of Britain take to their bikes as the French used to do to sell us their onions, it is certainly a product with tremendous visual and culinary appeal.

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