Small-scale market gardening can offer an excellent opportunity for those who are new to farming but eager to learn. Unlike traditional vegetable farming methods where hundreds of acres of vegetables are grown for a single harvest per season, micro-gardening efforts typically focus on a few crops that produce quickly and allow for multiple harvests per growing season.
Specialty herbs and salad staples, such as baby greens, are excellent examples of crops well-suited for small-scale market gardens because they sprout quickly and offer multiple cuttings per growing cycle. These can be easily marketed to individual consumers at farmer's markets, but they can be much more profitable when sold on a larger scale to restaurants, health food stores and catering companies.
More growing space offers more product to sell
When a small plot of soil is used as a growing medium, each plant further depletes available nutrients, negatively affecting the size and quality of future harvests. Market gardeners who rely on soil-based growing methods must continually replenish these nutrients or rotate crops to another plot of land.
By switching to hydroponic gardening, growers no longer need to worry about depleting their soil or acquiring more land on which to plant. Instead, plants receive a constant source of nutrition that results in larger, more predictable harvests for the farmer.
Reduced labor costs mean more profit per harvest
Tilling, weeding, planting and harvesting a traditional garden often requires more labor than one person can comfortably handle. When hydroponic growing methods replace traditional soil-based ones, there is no further need for labor-intensive chores, like tilling and weeding. In fact, many small, successful market gardeners find they require little or no outside labor after switching to hydroponic growing.
Longer growing seasons provide more income stability
In addition to limiting the number of plants that can be grown in each cycle, traditional soil-based growing methods expose farmers to weather and seasonal influences that can prevent them from achieving a stable level of profit for their business. Because hydroponic growing systems are designed for use in sheltered environments, like sheds, barns and greenhouses, farmers are able to plant, grow and harvest on a reliable, more profitable scale.
Additionally, plants that are grown in the controlled micro-climate of a hydroponic growing operation are much less apt to experience insect infestations or other pest problems.
To learn more about hydroponics or get information about options like the Evolution RO1000 Hydroponic Flow System, contact an agricultural supplier in your area.