Looking to start backyard market gardening
I've been reading for a few days, and decided to take the plunge and register. I have a 6000 sf back yard, and am planning to start market gardening using the Square Foot Garden method. I planted a 4x8 "trial" garden the middle of October, but lost my tomatoes, squash and bush beans to the cold (I need to make a better cover, I think.) The Georgia hybrid collards took in all in stride though.
My plan is to focus on organic and Florida/Southern heirloom crops, with a heavy emphasis on tomatoes and peppers. I'm thinking of also doing a few herbs such as basil and cilantro- things that would be used with tomatoes and peppers. The Square Food Garden method should help keep a schedule of staggered plantings, so I have a supply all summer long.
Since I won't be able to compete with "real" farmers who bring in truckloads of stuff to sell to restaurants, I'm not going to attempt to do the big wholesale market we have here in Tampa on Hillsborough Ave.
I'm going to market to folks looking for locally-grown, chemical-free produce. (I'm looking into what the requirements are to use the word "organic", but believe it would be prohibitive for a backyard gardener.)
So far, my list includes:
big red tomatoes (haven't decide on the exact variety yet),
Roma or plum tomatoes,
Bell peppers (green and other colors)
Florida speckled butter beans (heirloom pole bean)
I'm open to any suggestions you may have. I am intending to grow this into something to bring in as much money as I can, as times are pretty rough right now. SFG is supposed to give the same yield as a row garden in 20% of the space. Guess we'll find out!
I'm talking with one market right now to get on the list for stall space. I have access to a 10x10 white EZup and "cafeteria" folding tables, and have been eyeing shelf talkers at eatlocalfoods.com (and pondering selling totes, bookmarks, etc. from there.)
Again, I'm eager to learn, and welcome any advice you all might give.