Good ideas from this year to share....

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)August 29, 2013

Well this year has proved to be a challenging one, is there ever one that isn't? Well I thought I would share some things that we had success with that were new to us.

Selling mini/small heads of lettuce:
We grew all the different varieties of Summer Crisp/Batvaria lettuce plus Claremont, Breen and Jericho Romaine. We had multiple plantings and lots of Success. We transplanted these into white plastic mulch. When it got really hot, we had misters to keep things cool. We were able to sell them from early May until late July. We were going to pick up production in early September, but I got too busy to get them planted, so we will plan for mid October-January or later.

Multiple plantings of tomatoes:
Tomatoes have always been a big seller for us, but I decided to plant 4/5 plantings instead of 2 to keep my size up and quality coming. It is really paying off. We have matched our production with sales and customers are happy.

Hi-Yield grass killer on Carrots:
While I prefer to keep things all natural, we had entirely too much rain after our little carrots came up. Even though I flame weeded, the grass grew too fast. I had the choice of tilling it under or spraying it. Since we had a decent stand, I reluctantly chose to spray. Also with the summer heat back, I didn't want to fight to get a good stand again. It has killed the grass and I am left with weeding the bindweed and pigweed. Not too bad.

Mulch Layer and White Plastic mulch:
Built the layer, love it. Plastic mulch has saved many of my crops this year from floods and weeds!

Tractor:
Bought my first small tractor and honestly I would have given up many things this year if I had to do it by hand. The tractor has given me the energy to try new things. Instead of tilling with the walk behind, I can sit and get a sore neck, not back. I was also able to dig our poor potato crop with a tractor, not potato fork. Made it more enjoyable.

Cutting out the low selling stuff:
We cut out lots of the low selling stuff and stuck with the general high selling stuff, tomatoes, peppers, cucs, zucs, potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, melons, winter squash, cherry tomatoes, Okra, sweet potatoes, and radishs and turnips. Our sales are up and I am not wasting time picking stuff that doesn't sell.

How about you, any good ideas?

Jay

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Slimy_Okra(2b)

For any vegetables or fruits that are unfamiliar to people, offer cooked samples. It doesn't have to be fancy. For example, grilled eggplant. You'll have to check with your jurisdiction's rules on food handling, but in my neck of the woods, no license is required for giving out food samples. Offering samples has boosted my sales by 100%.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:39PM
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randy41_1

a walk in cooler is a great tool. saves a lot of time being able to store veggies in tomato boxes and bushel baskets.
plasticulture strawberries in a hoophouse works real well. we needed the walkin for the strawberries more than any other crop. it ran tuesday pm to saturday am then. now we run it mostly on thursday until its unloaded saturday morning. we use the kitchen refrigerator otherwise.
salanova has worked well for salad mix. have to see how it does in the fall/winter inside.
hiring help on an as needed basis works better for our farm then having full time help.
i guess i have alot more i could add to that.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 4:36PM
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TomatoesAndThings(7A)

What did you spray the carrots with?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:30PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I am too tired to think about things I have learned this year and so on but I will say as to certain things selling at market and other things not- it is all placement. Customers are either stupid or blind. Whatever you feature prominently will sell and the next week will not. Last week, as you saw from my pics, I put peppers and eggplant together in a basket out front and center and almost sold out of peppers for the first time ever. I had even better ones this week but chose to put the tomatoes out front and center and so the eggplant and peppers didn't sell so well. Anyway, my point is when I see Jay's list of 'these crops sell well and the rest don't' I just wish it was that simple. I had 2 or 3 requests for rutabagas this week after bringing them week after week and bringing them all back home. Arrggh. So just when I try to bring less items and feature a few and not so many, the customers ask for stuff. I hate not bringing something I have in the garden.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 11:40PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Randy: I would love a walk in cooler. I want to build one and use a coolbot to keep it cold, but I don't have a place to put it. Maybe I can keep working on it.

Tomatoandthings:
I sprayed the carrots with Hi-Yield Grass Killer

Minnie: I know exactly what you mean about certain things selling. The longer I do this, I agree customers are blind and can't read!

What works for me, won't work for you and vice versa. It isn't simple to know what to produce or pick, but we just try to do the best you can!

Jay

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 2:24AM
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