THE ART OF GROWING THE CA$H CROP
Garlic is a member of the same family as onions, shallots, leeks and chives. For thousands of years, garlic has been used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Recent scientific research has proven many of the historical claims for garlic's health-giving and medicinal powers. It's chemical ingredients can fight bacteria, lower cholesterol levels and act as an organic insecticide.
According to a Vegetable Crops Specialist at Cornell University, "There's a booming market out there for fresh local garlic. Those growing it can sell every clove they prouduce. Elephant garlic, for example, retails for $6 a pound and produces up to 15,000 pounds per acre." (Note: I find this hard to believe as I can buy garlic on sale for 33.c an lb. Probably from Red China, but fine stuff.)
Garlic is an ideal crop for the small grower, as it's labor intensive and almost foolproof. Because it tolerates a wide variety of soils and weather, it's very hard to lose a crop. For decades, growers have nicknamed garlic "the mortgage lifter" for that very reason.
Most small growers use "value-added" techniques to get a higher price for their garlic, such as garlic braids. THIS is true. People will pay anything for a pretty garlic braid with a JUTE HANGER.) and garlic powder. Francis Pollock, a Pennsylvania grower, has found even more ways to add value to his garlic crop. In addition to selling bulbs and braids, he sells "garlic gardens" sized to grow on a windowsill. He also discovered that the Chinese have long harvested the garlic greens for seasoning, much like chives, so he now sells greens and a recipe for garlic greens pesto sauce for $15 a pound in season!
You can make $2 per square foot growing garlic. Google around tol find the essential information you'll need - sources for seed cloves - planting - harvesting - when and how to harvest for premium bulbs - how to double your prices with value-added products - and the ten best markets for your garlic.
Often called "Green Gold", ginseng is an ordinary looking plant which grows on the shaded forest floor. It's value lies buried in the slow growing tuberous rootstock.
The Chinese have valued the root for thousands of years as the most potent of herbs and as a regenerative tonic. Since it was discovered in the U.S. almost three hundred years ago, ginseng has been exported to the Orient. Today, Asians in the Pacific basin buy most of the American crop.
According to Dr. Tom Konsler, a professor at North Carolina's Horticultural Crops Research Station, and an authority on ginseng, "American ginseng has great potential as a small-scale cash crop. But ginseng production is not a get-rich-quick scheme. By it's nature, ginseng requires patience."
Growing ginseng means duplicating it's native forest environment, and there are three ways to do this. Most ginseng today is grown under artificial shade. Another approach, the wild-simulated method, is the easiest, the least expensive, and the slowest. Prices are much higher, up to $250 per pound, but your first harvest is at least six years away.One person can plant an acre a year, even on steep hillsides and ravines. Because the seeds are scattered and left to grow naturally, the roots look like wild roots, which bring the highest prices.
The third method, called "woods-cultivated", requires preparing growing beds in your woodlands. As with the wild-simulated approach, the main expense is labor. With just a tiller and hand tools, one person can plant a small area of 1/8 acre each year for a sustained income starting in six years.
Until recently, it's been very difficult for anyone interested in getting started in ginseng to find reliable information on the practical growing details. Now, Golden Roots gives you the start-up information you'll need. In chapter six, you'll learn about the three methods of growing ginseng, with a special focus on "woods-cultivated", the best method for most small growers. Using this method, growers can avoid the high cost of shade coverings and fungicides. In addition to growing information, the chapter also includes a resource list for seeds, seedlings, equipment, and best of all, a list of buyers for your harvested roots.
BERRIES ARE ALL THE RAGE NOW as DIETICIANS TELL US they have the DEEP COLOR ANTI-OXIDANTS. Ergo, in some markets, they are VERY PRICEY. In November in LA. CALIF, we have berries on sale at two markets, 6 oz for 88c. So one can buy them by the six pack and make jams and frozen purees. But why not GROW THEM? They love the fences along edges of your property, so if you have a half acre that's about 500 linear feet of fence! That's a big CROP! The MULBERRY TREES go in the areas that you want to cast shade, say on the south side of your home in a real hot area. They get big. Find trays of overripe ones in dumpsters, plant the berries, as is!
This is a kind of boysenberry that grows on a tree. To SELL them you must plant the PERSIAN MULBERRY tree, not the regular mulbbery. This tangy, sweet, juicy berry brings a hefty 10$ for a small 6 oz. berry box at the City's FARMERS' MARKET.. To get those special trees, you might buy a box of the berries, everybody chew softly, pick the seeds out of your mouth and plant up in potting soil. (ask me for seed, it's free to you.)
When your trees are loaded with fruit, wait until they are BLACK, Purple and red berries are not there yet. They're very sour. Twist gently and set gently in the box with the others.
Possums will tear apart apricot trees but not Mulberries. If you have regular European Mulberry, add lemon and lemon rind to your jam, it'll work.
BERRIES IN GENERAL - BLACKBERRIES - http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/ag401.html
BLUE BERRIES are well known for fresh eating, pies, jams, jellies, syrups, juice, and baked goods such as blueberry muffins, pancakes and waffles. But, they are also baked into squash dishes and coffee cakes.
Backyard growers and small farms prosper by offering blueberries as a u-pick crop, and by creating one-of-a-kind value-added blueberry products such as pancake mixes, or blueberry flavored organic yogurt and ice cream. For home use, fresh blueberries freeze well unwashed, dry and unsweetened. People love the way they don’t stick to each other after being frozen like other berries, and pour out of their freezer containers like frosty marbles. My children loved to freeze blueberries in small individual freezer bags, then grab a bag throughout the coming months to snack on.
It is said that in blueberry season, bears will eat nothing else except ripe blueberries, and that they will travel up to fifteen miles per day on an empty stomach to find a blueberry patch. Both bears and birds have long loved the blueberry, leading one small blueberry farm in Southampton, Massachusetts to name itself “Bird Haven Blueberry Farm.” They protect their berries from the birds, and successfully sell blueberries as U-pick, fresh-picked, frozen, and in jellies, jams and pies.
Because blueberries grow from the south to the north, most locations can find varieties that suit their home garden or farm. It is recommended that at least two varieties, regardless of ripening time, are grown for cross-pollination and better fruit production. Yet, there are also a few reports of single species producing well. Today, home gardeners and small farmers can purchase highbush varieties developed from the commercial industry selected for large size, ease of picking and productivity. Older varieties, however, can also be found. “Rubel” is believed to be one of the first wild blueberries selected from the wild for commercial breeding, and can still be purchased and grown. It is reportedly higher in anti-oxidants than other commercial blueberries. The European bilberry and even wild huckleberries can also be purchased for growing in gardens. While the plant varieties vary greatly in size, the average gardener can expect from five to 15 pounds of berries each growing season.
The bushes require loose, acid soil suggested from pH 4.0 to 5.5, as would be found in their native woodland edge and meadow dwellings. The soil needs to have constant gentle moisture, never too soggy and wet during the growing season, and not allowed to dry out, especially their first year. Their roots are very shallow, so cultivation should be gentle. Some species offer fiery red or orange foliage in the fall, with lovely bark color in winter. There are also evergreen varieties and dwarf varieties. They can live up to 60 years, so choose the location wisely. And don’t forget to put up a “No Bears” sign.
STRAWBERRIES - YUM! The most fragrant berry there is! "If you want to be your own boss, a great plant to grow.. Start with very low capital and the plant is easy to get started. Growing strawberries is one of the easiest I know of to get started with.. For $56.00 you can get 200 plants to start with. Then I bought six boxes that had five pounds of miracle grow that cost 15.35 each and one of the feeders you screw onto the end of your hose that cost 9.00 which will allow you to fertilizer the strawberries every two or three weeks during the picking season and once before they bloom to get them to produce large juicy berries. I also bought four bales of straw costing 4.00 each to mulch the strawberries allowing for a cleaner and larger crop. Then I bought containers to sell my strawberries in which cost me 175.00 for 1200 containers. So my total initial investment was 357.10. That’s assuming of course you have a strong back or a tiller, a shovel and rake already to make the raised beds to plant them in. I picked off the blooms the first year to allow them get stronger roots so I did not get any fruit until the second year but then I had approximately 800 plants because of all the runners they produced. I yielded about 800 pounds of fresh strawberries the second year and when I sold them for 1.50 a pound I made $1200.00 which after expenses meant I made 842.90. Then I calculated that I spent 477 hours working on weeding and picking strawberries which meant I only made $1.76 per hour for labor. However by the third year I had approximately 3200 plants which is enough to plant a half acre of land. I figured out that I was able to pick about 4000 pounds of strawberries from my plants this year. I charged the same as last year $1.50 a pound so I yielded about $6000.00 then after purchasing eight new bales of straw that cost $4.00 each and six more boxes of fertilizer at 15.35 each and I purchased 3600 more containers that cost me 525.00 that brought my expenses to $649.10 because I did not have to buy any new plants which means this year I made $5350.90 Then I figured I spent 633 hours in the garden which meant I earned about $8.45 per hour. So as you can see each year my expenses go up slightly but my profit for labor also goes up dramatically. You can also spend a lot less of your own labor in the garden by hiring teenagers to pick the strawberries for you. Most of my kids will pick them for twenty five cents per pound. I usually spend 168 hours picking strawberries if I do it myself. So then when I figure on letting the kids pick the strawberries I make 5000.00 from the strawberries after their pay. Then if I deduct my expenses I make $4350.90 which makes my 365 hours of weeding work worth $11.90 an hour to me. So with some work and some common sense you can make a good profit growing strawberries with just a couple of hundred dollars and a half acre of land too." Found this online. Note, if you have a booth at the Los Angeles FARMERS" MARKET you'll make a lot more than that. And if you also make strawberry ice cream, shortcake, double whatever number that is. And if you make jam, triple it."
RASPBERRIES- Black Yellow pink or red? Raspberries come in four colors now. Want to make money? Try the red. People understand them better, relate to them better. Go to Martha Stewart's website for a lot of info on this posh berry.
Any land that will grow a crop of grain or vegetables will do for Raspberries. There are four families of these, namely: "The Reds," "The Blacks," "The Pinks," and "The Yellows," all requiring the same general treatment. The yellow varieties are used almost exclusively for family use and have little if any value for commercial purposes. The Red Raspberries and the Black Raspberries, commonly called Black Caps, are extensively cultivated for market where there is usually a good demand for the fruit at remunerative prices. The Pink varieties are grown largely and almost entirely for canning purposes both by the home people and those with large factories. All are good in their natural state for table use, and when a dozen plants of each are set in the garden we can enjoy this delicious fruit for four to five weeks. We should arrange our selection of varieties to prolong the season for fruit as much as possible, not neglecting that important consideration of best quality when the aim and purpose is to supply our own table. Prepare the ground and manure it the same as you would for strawberries; then make furrows six feet apart and set your plants in these two feet apart, taus forming a continuous row of fruiting, which gives one third more fruit than could be had from the quite generally abandoned old hill system. Cut back the plants to within six inches from the ground. Set posts twenty feet apart and run one wire 31/2 feet from the ground, and train your fruiting cane to the wire. This is the cheapest and best method and is being adopted now quite generally. The canes should be pruned back to within branches should be pruned five feet from the ground and the lateral back to fifteen inches.
The Bush System of growing Raspberries of all kinds is to plant in furrows three feet apart. The plants should be trained in bush form; this is clone by Summer pruning or pinching back of the leader and lateral branches. The leader or main branch should not be over three and one-half feet from the ground; the lateral branches should be started near the surface of the soil and should not be more than eighteen inches in length. It requires considerable pinching back during the growing season to make a plant of this formation, but it is the only pruning needed and the bush goes into Winter weather in good robust condition. There is no necessity to use posts and wire or anything else to trail to, when this method of growing is adopted, as the plants are strong, bushy and vigorous and well able to hold up their fruit from the soil. In the large Raspberry fruiting districts this system of growing is used almost exclusively. The severe annual pruning back has a tendency to make the plants short lived, and plantations cultivated under this treatment rarely last more than five or six years at the best. With the continuous row system of fruiting the plants will be at their best for ten to twelve years. In any case, the old wood should be cut out each year. This can be done any time after the fruit is gathered until along in the following Spring. The first year that Raspberries are set we can crop the ground between the rows with any of the low growing vegetables like Potatoes, Beets and their kindred. The plants will come into fruiting the first year after being planted and under ordinary favorable conditions should produce quite a full crop of fruit; they will then need the use of all the land. Fertilizers should be used while planting and afterwards of the same kinds and in the same quantities per acre as for Strawberries. A light application of well rotted manure on the surface of the ground around the plants during the Winter months is very beneficial.
* Winter Protection
-- In some of the cold Northern climates the Raspberry occasionally winter kills. Where this is apt to occur it is the practice to lay down the fruiting canes in November or December and cover one-half or more of it from the tip end with soil. This covering need not be heavy. This is resorted to when the fruit is grown for the family use; it is quite too expensive when we are growing fruit with a view to profit for commercial purposes, yet we find a few large growers protecting their Raspberries in this way; they, however, use the old hill method of fruiting, leaving four to six canes in each hill and tieing them to small stakes. These hills are planted four feet apart in the furrows, two plants set together in each hill; the distance between the rows should be six feet, then, of course, this protection can be practiced with the continuous row system of fruiting, however, not with the bushy plant method, as it would be impossible to lay these stocky plants down for this purpose. Be it remembered, however, that it is only in rare instances where it is necessary to go to the expense and trouble of this Winter covering of the canes with soil. We have a good list of old reliable hady standard varieties of American origin that will rarely be winter killed. These will be carefully selected and named hereafter.
-- This is a fungus disease that occasionally attacks the canes of the Raspberry close to the ground. The canes become brown and rusty and should be removed at once and burned, otherwise it will infest the entire plantation. When it first attacks the plant you can notice the results from it on the foliage which becomes sickly looking, get out your scissors. STERILIZE them afterwards!
* Cane Blight
-- This is also a fungus disease and attacks the canes in all parts, the wood turning black and shriveling away. The part of the canes thus affected should be cut away and at once burned. Sterilize cutting instruments.
If at any time your plants show signs of leaf rust, spray at once with the Bordeaux Mixture, without the Paris Green. You should not spray while the plants are in fruiting.
-- This should be attended to in the early Spring before vegetation starts, using the Bordeaux Mixture without the Paris Green. When this spraying is thoroughly done at this season there is little danger from any of the fungus troubles heretofore named.
USHROOMS - http://www.mushroomcompany.com/
THIS IS THE BIG MONEY ITEM. If you can create a grove and get these little fungi to appear every spring and autumn, you can carry treasures to town, l0$ a pound. Only thing that approaches that in value is Mulberries.
OTHER GOODIES: Those salty pickled little CAPERS which resemble nasturtium seeds go for a posh 3$ for a jar no bigger than your thumb. Read up on them here. CAPER PAGE.
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