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Is it time to start a marketgarden?

The row garden in summertime.

I've been pondering a lot lately what to do from here on onwards. A lot of things we had envisioned years ago have become a reality: A small scale homestead with a beautifully hand-build house and some food production to increase self-sufficiency. We're so thankful for reaching this point! Now the basis is set-up it's time for us to focus our energy on developing some different income streams. Which feels as quite a challenging thing to do.

Maybe it's time to come back to my dream of starting a marketgarden.

Doubling the garden means putting in production every empty spot available, because there is not so much space in our forest clearing.

I'm keeping an eye out on the general developments in society and see how we're entering a difficult period with all kinds of shortages and inflationary situations. I'm especially concerned about food production here in Europe. High energy and gas prices equals more cost to produce food, if even possible. Shortage in fertilizers equals less food that can be produced. Difficult weather circumstances making things even harder for producers. I have to watch out to not become sad and worried with all these developments, I can't change whats happening in the big world tho. But in every crisis there is also opportunity... And this may be one for local food production to blossom again!

So for us it might be a good idea to ramp up our food production as much as possible and start selling some produce from the homestead. Filling up every nook and cranny that we have available with plant friends. Perhaps selling the harvest in the form of a weekly vegetable box subscription.

Thinking about doing that fills me with anxiety and excitement at the same time, it's right at the edge of my comfortzone. Growing a lot of food is pretty damn difficult. It's a full on commitment, and asks discipline from my not so disciplined personality. Many things are out of the control of the producers, like bad weather. Growing food for other people puts in another level of pressure on top of that. My head trows all kind of protesting thoughts at me like, 'you don't have enough experience and education' & ' 'there is not enough space for that', 'you don't have the money to invest in the necessary infrastructure', and these are all (partly) true.

But is it impossible?

The rabbit tractor for maintaining and fertilizing the grass.

If I would try it means doubling the garden-space so it's around 1000m2 (still pretty small but it's all I've got available), keeping the goats out with some sort of fencing, setting up a couple of simple greenhouses to extend the growing season and finding a way to water the new area. Planning out the growing season carefully so every week there is a variety of vegetables harvest-able throughout the (short) growing season. Setting up hoops for netting, and covering sensitive plants. Setting up compost heaps. Growing things on trellises where possible to save on space. Perhaps a rabbit tractor to maintain the grassy pathways. All this on a shoestring budget. Crossing my fingers the summer doesn't provide miserable weather and finding some local people that want to buy the produce and can cook with seasonal vegetables. All in all, another mountain of work and challenges. But admittedly, almost all things I love doing. And once set up, good to go for a few years.

Challenge accepted? Perhaps.

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