Good crops to grow.

Discussion in 'Market Gardens' started by southerngurl, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

    May 11, 2003
    So what are some good crops to grow. I've thought about growing a few things for the famer's market and might want to try that out this year. I wouldn't put too much space into it, just kinda dabble. I know one thing that would be good is the baby lettuce mixes, which are pretty easy. What are some good ideas? I have clay rocky soil, but it's rich and grows things pretty well. We had some REAL NICE watermelons last year (horses ate most of them though :flame: ). So an electric fence is on my list this year. :rolleyes:

    I'm already excited about next years garden. :hobbyhors
  2. myheaven

    myheaven Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 13, 2006
    Well I just got backyard market gardening from my boss this year. It says tomatoes and peppers are #1 things looked at and purchased in the farmers markets. So I would do heavy crops of them plus some onions. One problem with the lettuces is they will wilt very fast in the sun and any kind of heat. Melons any kind is another good choice.

  3. chicky momma

    chicky momma Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2006
    Southern Lower Michigan
    I sold lots of the mixed lettuce. Do have to keep it cool. We bag it and keep in the cooler except 1 bag until sold. But usually its all sold by the time the sun gets up to hot stage. Also brocolli and brocolli raab last year along with the heirloom tomatoes. They outsold everything including regular perfect looking ones! Could have sold lots of cukes towards the end of the season when no one had any. Good luck Lisa
  4. midmogrower

    midmogrower Member

    Dec 14, 2006
    Mid Missouri
    In our area tomatoes are the big draw but propably require the most labor.
    We grow:
    candy onions
    lettuce, leaf type, cut it young and bag it or let it make "heads"
    green beans, great seller but a lot of labor picking
    potatoes, yukon gold and reds, start digging when they bloom
    sweet corn, incredible and ambrosia
    acorn squash
    cucumbers, thunder & dasher II, easy to grow, lots of production
    zucchini, a real money maker, easy to grow, yellow & green
    Although in my opinion they require the most labor, we by far make the most on our tomatoes.
    This is where we buy most of our seed and supplies:
  5. mommagoose_99

    mommagoose_99 Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Corn draws a lot of people into the market but I never have grown it to sell. It takes way too much land and my pet crows like to pull up the tiny corn plants when it first sprouts. I think tomatoes and melons are the next favorites at the market. If you decide to sell corn pick out one of the new hybrids . They taste really good and don't get old quick. Pick them early in the morning while they are cool and splash some water on them to keep them cool. I bought my corn to sell from the neighbor who had a lot more acreage than I did. I paid $1.50 a dozen and sold the corn for $3 a dozen. a tidy profit.
  6. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2006
    Effingham, Illinois 5b
    I made a good living one summer selling nothing but tomatoes and melons. Water melons, musk melons, and cantaloupe. Sold hydroponic tomatoes early and garden tomatoes later on. One thing the people looked for in tomatoes besides taste was thin skins that made them easy to cut and thin skins don't ship well so they knew they were local.
  7. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    South Dakota
    Another thing to consider is what are the other vendors specializing in?

    At my market sweet corn is a biggy, but is pretty much covered by the other vendors. I was actually told not bring sweet corn or glads when I started as the market was saturated.

    I did very well with green beans and plan on doing more peas this year (the more labor involved, the less likely the other, larger vendors will do it). I also had the largest selection of summer squash (6 zucchini types including eight ball and golden, crookneck and straight necks, payapa pear, and patty pan).

    And the other item I encourage is pickling cucumbers along with the slicers--again, a lot of work, but I was one of the few vendors that offered them. Actually a lot of people bought the larger picklers for slicers and commented on how they perfer them to the "slicer" types. I also sold lemon cucs last year and after a slow start with many freebies I usually sold out toward the end.

    Tomatoes sold well, but again, most of the vendors had that area covered. I did and will grow some specialized (heirloom) types that will be unique. I also plan on trying different cherry types.

    Another thing to consider is what will you do with the extras? I usually plant items I/family like or my chickens and goats like. Also a feeder pig is wonderful during the market season!!!
  8. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    What we did last year (our 1st year on the farm and at the market) was figure out what I wanted.

    I don't eat hot peppers - so we didn't sell them. This year we will because there is a need for it - we were asked CONSTANTLY if we had hot peppers.

    We start all our plants inside (in the basement) then transplant. Whatever we don't plant, we take to the market and sell (last year we planted 300 tomato plants and sold the extra 100 we had come up). For stuff that we direct sow, when we thin out the plants, we put them in small 4" pots and take them to the market. Same with herbs.

    Our kids also pick out some of our seeds (it makes it fun for them). And we try to stick with at LEAST 1 heirloom variety per type of veggie or fruit. Big seller last year - Tigger Melon. Sold everyone I picked.

    But start with what looks good to YOU. Then take notes at the market of what people are asking for then go from there. People want us to grow corn - I'm not going to. Takes up too much room and too much work for so little money.
  9. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    North Central Indiana
    I found it really depends on your area and the community that shops the market. For instance, I have a friend who sold the dickens out of Cherokee Purple green beans at his market (they turn green when they are cooked) but do you think I could give them away at our market last year?? Nope! Didn't even have many takers for the yellow wax beans. The whole market could not keep enough green beans in stock for the demand. Peppers did not sell well either. I wont be growing but just a couple of plants for our own use this year. My fresh eggs went very well. I'd put one blue/green one in with each dozen - people loved them. Go figure - they won't buy purple beans but love green eggs. :rolleyes:

    Corn and melons are a really big draw also. And, this year I was surprised at how many people bought fresh beets. We didn't have many and only brought them a couple of times, but boy, people were back looking for them after that. Will definitely bring more this year. I always plant potatoes for our own use and may try to bring those to market this year. I don't think anyone had potatoes at all last year.
    Good luck! :)
  10. chicamarun

    chicamarun Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    We had a radish "fetish" going on!! I grew them late for the "fall" and the local market place had an Oktoberfest and apparently you eat radishes with salt with your beer! Never knew that - but I told out of all the radishes I took that day.

    I thought people would like the "ball" style zucchini - and no such luck. I always come home with them.

    We won't do lighter colored zukes this year - they taste great and I loved them - however transporting them to the market always seems to bruise them.

    People loved the cherry tomatoes (sugar snack) - and not many of the larger vendors would sell them - too much work - so I would get a premium for those too.
  11. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    northcentral Montana
    Some things I've not yet seen listed: carrots and beets. Here, they are sold in bunches tied together by their leaves. Kept out of the sun and sprayed with a water bottle, they stay nice and fresh looking until sold. Which never takes very long!

    There are those that cut off the tops and bag them, but the freshness factor of good tops sells those first. Oh, and they have to be clean -- no dirt but not scrubbed, either.

    New potatoes always sell well, and if you can wash them without damaging the skins, that's the best. We have clay soil and I can't do that, unfortunately.
  12. lsulenes

    lsulenes Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    SE Kansas
    This year will be our 11th year marketing. In our 4 area markets (community pop. varies from 500 - 10,000 people), there are a few things that will sell no matter what and then things that sell best depending on what time of the season you get them there.

    Always sellers:
    green beans, peas {pod, snap, & snow}, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, new potatoes (smaller - better), cukes, cantalopes, watermelons, cherry tomatoes, & most fresh fruits

    Depends on time in season & supply/demand:
    sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions, turnips, eggplant, & pumpkins

    Value added products:
    jellies, jams, pies, cobblers, flavored sweet breads, and various baked goods.

    Ours are small markets with a base group of vendors averaging about 6-10 and growing to 18-22 during the height of the season. One market even has only 2 consistent vendors each season with only 1-2 others showing up occasionally. Those occasional vendors we call "leftover or surplus vendors" who don't really grow to market or only grow to market a small variety of produce for a short period of the season.

    I began as a "surplus marketer" because I was tired of canning my green beans and didn't want to waste any of them. My brother and SIL have been marketing for longer than I have and helped me get started. Although I have to say that I have been gardening for many years as I grew up in a farming family that was very money poor {didn't realize it at the time}, but land/meat/produce rich due to Mom's gardening, Dad's love of hunting/fishing, and our cattle herd.
  13. GrinningPlanet

    GrinningPlanet Grinning Planet Farm

    Feb 15, 2007
    How do y'all package your cherry tomatoes to sell? How do you haul them to keep them from getting squished?
  14. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    I was thinking of selling a "Salsa Kit". Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, cilantro, onions, and oregano.Maybe bag up "batches" with a recipe included.
  15. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    good idea!