Not logged in, login or create an account

There are 5 replies To this message.

Author Topic: Advice/Contract Farming
Click to reply to this message
Click to reply to this message
Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Sun, Jun 5 '11 at 08:36 UTC)

We are a team of 3 hard-working, honest, plant loving peoples. Between the 3 of us, we have just purchased 2 old farm homes in the country with 2 acres and an abundance of available cropland surrounding us. All 3 of us moved to the country after the Gulf Oil Spill and are starting new lives for ourselves. At our ages, 40's and 50's, starting over is both exciting and overwhelming. As we seek to establish ourselves in a new place, we want to ensure that our next career move is something that brings us joy -- not so much about the money any longer. We all believe that if you do what you love, then everything else falls into place. And the thing we all love the most is working in the dirt !! To us, being in the garden is never a chore but rather a reward. We enjoy the simple life : ) And now that we all finally reside in a rich agricultural zone with opportunities for growing and the land to grow on, we want to be "farmers". We've been blessed with some crops that came with our land: ten 100+ year old pecan trees, mature fig trees, muscadine vines, old gardenias & dogwood trees, hostas, iris, honeysuckle, old fashioned climbing roses, trailing blackberries and much more.

Our plea and our purpose for this post is in the hopes that someone out there could share some tips on how to get started in the nursery / farm business. We're very interested in medicinal plants, starter plugs/plants and contract farming.

If anyone out there has a specific crop / plant they need grown with love, we would love to discuss growing it for you!

Thanks for taking the time to read such a lengthy post and thanks in advance for any info you might share with us.

~peace & blessings~
Re: Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Sun, Jun 5 '11 at 10:42 UTC)Positive Rank

The first thing you most likely need to do is build a greenhouse/potting shed so you can have a controlled environment in which to start plant cuttings. Install an automatic watering system with a timer to make sure everything gets the right amount of moisture.

If you live in a well-populated area, you could try to sell herbs, vegetable and bedding plants (annual flowers) that you grow from seeds. This will give you some experience before you start cutting up your existing landscape.

I once saw on a TV gardening show that you can start new fig plants simply by laying a limb from an existing fig across a flower pot with soil and pin the limb to the soil. Keep it watered and in a year or so you should have a new fig plant. I think you can produce new blueberry plants the same way.

I'd replace the blackberries with a cultivated thornless variety- bigger berries and easier to harvest. Just remember that most of your berries each year are only produced on year-old canes (the stalks), so whatever canes produce a crop in any given year must be pruned out to make room for that year's new canes- which will produce the crop the following year.

Where are you located? Would you be interested taking on a partner? I?ve been looking for a way to start an organic CSA; I have almost 30 years experience growing vegetables, and I have cash enough to buy land. But my health is not the best in the world and I haven?t been able to find anyone willing to help with the labor involved in running a farm without wanting a fortune in salary.

Re: Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Mon, Jun 6 '11 at 12:39 UTC)Positive Rank

Contract farming is not a new idea, but if you can put a postmodern spin on it, it might become a trend setter. I agree that setting up your infrastructure first is a good idea BUT you have to be flexible in your design and this is hard to do without contracts in hand. Perhaps a demonstration project or two and some hard data on how much you can grow in your square footage would be another first step.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
Re: Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Mon, Jun 6 '11 at 02:12 UTC)

flaja: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to write such an informative and helpful post. When we received your message, it was such a bright spot in our day! We've been out hoeing weeds in the garden and wanted to write you back promptly.

As far as your suggestions for the greenhouse, we agree, and have decided that this has to be our first step. We've seen several hoop houses around town that are missing plastic but we thought we might get lucky and be able to acquire some frames locally. We forgot to mention that we have an abundance of well water too : ) And the city water looks to come from 2 springs.

We live outside the city limits, so we aren't too populated, though there are some bigger cities within an hour - to a couple hours away. We do think we could sell some product locally and are open to combining our endeavors with retail.

Thanks for the tip on rooting fig plants. We definitely believe that will work ... in our experience they are very easy to root. In fact, we've got several of grandmas fig plants too : )

The blackberry advice sounds good too.

As far as your offer of perhaps working together as a team sounds like something we definitely should discuss in greater detail. We are located in NE Alabama, where might you be?

Perhaps you could send us an email letting us know more about what you seek ....

Again, many many thanks for your time, energy and words of wisdom : )
Re: Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Mon, Jun 6 '11 at 02:16 UTC)

wvhaugen: And thank you too! We all have so many creative ideas ... and it definitely helps to have a contract in hand. Though we've come to the conclusion that might have to just dive in and see where it takes us. A demonstration project certainly couldn't hurt ...
Re: Advice/Contract Farming    (Posted Mon, Jun 6 '11 at 03:30 UTC)

I am having trouble with my computer. Send me your email address and I'll let you know what I have in mind about a partnership.

Click to reply to this message