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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

Early land, that is land in the south that naturally warms up early, can give you the advantage of reaching early maturity dates.

A crop that is ready even two weeks before the majority reaps a good bonus. The lettuce is always a clear indicator of that. If you have lettuce ready for sale early and the weather is warm you can never keep up with demand. The price is good and with tremendous enthusiasm you raise more seed, encourage your seedlings. Then everybody else has their own little lettuce glut and you are faced with bolting lettuces and a price that has dropped to rock bottom. When the end of the season approaches, lettuce is again in high demand.

It can often pay great dividends to wait a whole year before going into a vegetable enterprise. That way you can actually monitor the buying behaviour in your area and decide what to plant and which peaks to aim for. Either that or accept that there will be times when you cannot sell all you produce and vice versa. With bulk crops you must decide either to aim for the highest possible yield when the market is possibly at its lowest in cash terms or sacrifice quantity to try for an early market.

There was a delightful example of enterprise a few years ago in Thanet, Kent. It is a great potato-growing area and vast acreages are planted. One farmer was unable to harvest a few acres of late potatoes as Winter set in early. He did not do the usual and plough them in. Instead, in the very early spring, he found that most of the potatoes were in excellent condition. So he harvested the lot, sorted them and sold them as the earliest new potatoes. It was a tale that has kept the farming community entertained for months every year it is retold in the autumn and the spring. We have never tried it ourselves but like everyone else who hears it we say that we will one year.

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