Can You Make Money as an Urban Farmer?

If you were told to come up with one agricultural trend that has had people talking over the last five years, urban farming would undoubtedly spring to mind. Everyone living in a city that has a small piece of space to spare has thought about starting a little garden to benefit themselves and the community at some point. This has been proliferated in part by the desire to grow one’s organic food as well as a need to supplement their regular sources of livelihood. While the idea has been lauded far and wide, one nagging question still evades everyone; is it really possible to make a decent return from this type of farming?

Crunching the numbers
The British Food Journal published a study in 2016 that detailed the returns of 370 urban farmers in the United States. The figures in there indicated that on average, the yearly sales from their farms was around $54000. In the same study, only a small portion of the total number of farmers indicated that they do indeed fall back on urban farming as their sole source of livelihood.

While the numbers may seem a bit too lean to ponder over, there is a caveat; in fact, 75% of all farmers in the United States actually get $50,000 a year from their farms. So if you had already developed that sinking feeling, look at the second figure, and the other side of the story will show itself.

Why do farmers decide to grow urban farms?
When you talk with urban farmers, you then start getting the sense that they are not actually in it for the money-not primarily, anyway. A large chunk of those who practice urban agriculture indicates that they are motivated by the desire to combat food insecurity as well as the need to help the community around them. Surprisingly, only one in 10 urban food farmers says that they started farms in a bid to earn a little cash on the side.

So, is it worth it?
Sure, the figures indicated above are not jaw-dropping in any sense of the way. However, it is important to note
 hat most of the farmers who carry out this type of farming do it on ridiculously small plots of land and are not motivated by the desire to make
money. So, this speaks to the fact that any farmer who sets out there with the sole goal of making profits will certainly get a nice check from season to season. A good case in point relates to hydroponic urban farmers, who will net anything north of $100,000 on their farms a year. So all it takes is a sizeable investment and the proper maintenance practices.

 

 

 

Growing Microgreens For Profit

What are Microgreens?
Microgreens are the seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs and are extremely small in size. They may also be used as toppings in some salads. Initially, only 4-5 varieties of microgreens existed, which have now increased up to 25.

Microgreens are also known to fill in and bridge all gaps present in our daily dietary intake. Basil, radish, broccoli, and cabbage are the most common and most popular microgreens.

They come in plenty of flavors and colors. Purple radish, for instance, is ready for harvesting in 6 days and tastes as spicy as a radish does. Though it’s slightly on the more expensive side, it is something to give a try. Microgreens are also not available everywhere and can be a little difficult to find too.

How are they grown?
Microgreens are easily grown indoors with very little equipment. They need only a plastic shallow container with holes at the bottom to allow water to drain out. A pre-packaged salad box is an ideal container for this purpose. This is enough for sprouting and domestication on a small scale.

These seeds are then kept in a moist place and allowed to grow. As soon as they sprout, they are moved to a sunny location, and then these microgreens will be ready in 8-14 days

For growing and marketing microgreens commercially on a large scale, there is a lot more work involved. It is a tedious process involving financial investment too along with labor. Buckwheat is one of the most popular microgreens grown for commercial purpose. Since microgreens are pretty expensive to purchase, it is better to grow them indoors to avoid maintenance costs.

What are their Benefits and Profits?
Microgreens take nothing more than a maximum of two weeks to grow. These seeds need both soil and sunlight to flourish. They can be grown all over the year with proper care. They can also be grown indoors.

Microgreens are not only used in salads but are also used in smoothies and juices. A delicious and nutritious salad of colored microgreens can prove to be a great kick-start for the day. They are low maintenance and colorful. They also look pretty adorable and can be used as live decoration too.

A recent study also states that microgreens like cabbage and broccoli contain 40 times more nutrition and higher levels of vital necessities than their major counterparts. All the people need to include these in their daily diet.

Garden Options for a Small Space

If you want to grow your own vegetables and crops in your backyard, you don’t need to have a lot of space to do all that. Here are some tips to grow a prosperous garden in a small space

Utilize the Upper Space
Man crops can be trimmed to grow up trellises, poles, or even lattices on the wall. You can use any kind of support as long as it’s sturdy enough to support a plant. You can also use planter boxes of different sizes and stack them together strategically to make a vertical garden. When choosing the crops to grow, think about plants that can be trained to grow upwards. Peas, pole beans, and cucumbers are all good options you can consider.

Use Container Planting
Virtually all vegetables can be grown in a container, as long as the container is big enough. You can make a box out of anything; old window frames, old tubs put together to make a box. Wheelbarrows make great containers as well.

Before you make your container box, consider the size of the plant; how wide and tall it will get as well as the depth and size of the root system. You can get this information on seed packets- a good seed company puts this information on the package. You can also research your favorite crop. Once you have set up or bought the right container, fill it with good potting soil and place it in a spot that receives full sun for at least six hours a day. Ensure that you water it consistently. Look at some container garden ideas here.

Use Dwarf or Compact Varieties
When choosing plants, ensure you choose the varieties that are marked container, baby, patio, or dwarf. These varieties are made specifically for small areas or containers. This doesn’t restrict you to vegetables alone. You can grow fruits as well as there are dwarf varieties of citrus, apple, pear, and peach trees that do well in containers.

Use Companion Planting
Companion planting simply means planting crops next to each other that have mutual benefit such as providing a shading, adding nutrients to the soil, or acting as a natural pest control. Lettuce is a great companion plant as it prefers less direct sun hence it is bit more shade tolerant. Therefore, planting lettuce beneath your taller crops will help them thrive during the hot seasons. You can also think of other shade tolerant plants and plant them under the taller ones. Such crops include mustard greens, chard, cabbage, spinach, and parsley.

NOTE; at the end of it all, like any animate being, crops respond to love. So the more nurture and care you put in, the better the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Produce to Grow on Your Patio

 

As part of your sheltered outdoor space, a patio keeps you safe from the elements while at the same time allowing you some fresh drift and a view of the outside world. However, for those who are always looking to make some good use of their outdoor living space, it’s not a bad idea to grow some good produce within the area. Keep in mind that you are operating in a sheltered area with little space, so do not forget to choose crops that do well in crammed places and that can flourish without the maximum glare of the sun.

Let’s look at some produce that would do well for the patio;

Potatoes
There is a whole bunch of people out there that would grow potatoes in their patios but are discouraged by the notion that this plant requires lots of space to grow. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. All your potato plant will need is a soil that is deep and loose. You will simply need to find deep containers and make deep allowances for tubers within said containers. For a 40 liter container,  you will need three suckers, as you are going to have to think about a little spacing for each one to develop.

Passion
This crawling fruit has been grown in porches for ages now. Apart from it creating a good shelter, it is impressive to look at and gives you some juicy fruits to munch on over the summer. The passion fruit does not grow solid trunks or branches and has growth patterns that are easy to manipulate. What this means is that you can move it over to the side of the porch you want it to belong. You can also get rid of it easily when you choose to. Additionally, due to its weak stems and roots, the passion fruit will not compromise on the structural integrity of your house.

Tomatoes
Think of the lush green leaves, the impressive tendrils and the rich red color these bulbous vegetables are known for. Now, imagine them growing and thriving in or around your patio. The tomato is the ultimate patio crop. All you have to do is find the right containers and support the plant when it starts crawling and spreading. You will also need to spray your tomato plants from time to time. If you do not have containers in your possession, then you can simply opt for simple grow bags or hanging baskets-whatever works best for your couch, go for it as long as your crop will get sufficient soil and water.

How to Start a Community Garden

A community garden is a piece of land shared by a group of people in which they plant various things ranging from flowers to vegetables. This article seeks to discuss step by step procedures on how to start a community garden.

1. FIND A GROUP OF INTERESTED PEOPLE

As soon as you organize the people who have similar intentions of starting the garden, discuss the kind of garden you would like it to be. For instance, will it be a vegetable garden? Flower garden? Organic garden?

2. FORM THE PLANNING COMMITTEE

This group is usually comprised of members who are committed to the creation of your garden and have all the time to devote. Choose people who are well organized to coordinate various tasks.

3. IDENTIFY AVAILABLE RESOURCES

This entails assessing resources and skills already existing in the community which can help in the creation of the garden. For instance, you may want to look into people in the community who have an experience in gardening or landscaping.

4. FIND A SPONSOR

Sponsors are essential for donations such as seeds or money which can be used to buy necessary tools or fertilizers. A sponsor may be the local church, a school or even a private business.

5. CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE SITE

Putting into consideration the amount of sunshine the plants need daily and water availability, choose a site for the garden. Find out the owner of the land so as to start making necessary arrangements for getting a lease.

6. PREPARE THE SITE

The land needs a considerable amount of preparation before planting begins. Members of the community garden can volunteer to clean it and gather materials in a bid to work on the plot arrangement.

7. ORGANIZATION OF THE GARDEN

Members can now decide on how each plot will be assigned. Remember to leave some space for storage of tools and the making of a compost heap.

8. PLAN FOR THE KIDS

The inclusion of children in the community garden is essential. Therefore you should consider setting up a special garden for kids. This is due to the fact that the children will not really be interested in the amount of harvest, rather in the gardening process. The area set aside for them will enable them to explore and at their own speed.

9. SET UP THE RULES

The gardeners should personally set up ground rules since we all tend to comply with regulations that we come up with. Some of these rules may be in reference to how the money is spent or how the plots are assigned.

10. BUILD “COMMUNITY” BETWEEN MEMBERS

Great communication promotes a strong community where all members are active participants. You may work on this by creating an email list or having regular celebrations to get everyone closer.

CONCLUSION

Aside from the fact that community gardens are of great financial benefit, they also foster relationships and promote harmony in the neighborhood as people get to know each other better. Who wouldn’t want that?

Tips for a Fantastic Container Garden

Also known as pot gardening, container gardening is the act of growing varying plants which range from edible to decorative plants. This is done in portable containers of different sizes. It is a fun method of gardening that is mostly practiced in urban areas where land that would otherwise be used for agriculture has been used to construct residential or commercial buildings. Container gardening saves a lot of space. All you need are a few tips to get you started. These include;

1. Choosing the correct pot
Depending on the plant size or the expected growth of a plant at its maturity, choose a pot that will give room for the roots to expand in their growth.

The pot should also have enough holes to drain off excess water which would otherwise cause the pots to rot hence killing the plant. Not all pots come with enough holes, therefore, punch more holes on pots you find necessary.

2. Choose the right kind of soil with the correct nutrient balance
Gathering dirt from the ground may work if the soil is not too eroded. However, you would still need to add more nutrients to the soil before planting your seedlings to ensure enough nutrients supply to the plant.

It is usually best to buy high-quality potting soil as it contains nutrients such as perlite, pet moss, manure, and compost.

Make sure that you fertilize the plant about once every two weeks. Some of the best fertilizers include the fish emulsion. This fertilizer smells horrible, but it yields great results.

3. Water 
All plants need enough water and lighting for nitrification to take place. Water the plants frequently depending on the pot you use. Some pots retain water easily while others absorb the water which makes the plant to require frequent watering.

Ensure that your plants are getting enough sunlight for the sake of photosynthesis. This will ensure they grow healthy.

Besides the above, remember to weed your plants and spray them often to weed off pesticides. Know when it is time to let go of your plant. Everything that has life has to die at some point. Therefore, do not try to revive a plant that has died. Uproot it carefully and dispose of it, then plant a new one.

All the above are tips for a fantastic container garden. But the most important one of them is affection. Show your plants affection. Talk to them calmly and sweetly as you tend to them. The results are always magical.

What is a Vertical Garden?

A vertical garden is a fun and fresh way to grow your plants, flowers, and herbs. You can hang them up in your noise nearby a window, or put them on a rooftop or hang them from the side of the wall if you want to bring some life back particularly drab side of a building.

1. How can I use them?
Well, vertical hanging gardens save space. When you put stacks of vertical gardens on rooftops, you are gaining area that you otherwise would not have had. After all, on a small roof in New York City, there is not much space horizontally, but hundreds and hundreds of feet vertically; it is best to make use of all of this area, as well as making the Earth a greener place. Next, let us take a look at as well as answer some popular questions about hanging vertical gardens.

2. How do they work?
When a vertical garden is hooked up to a hose and hung up, water trickles down from the top plants and into the weeds below, efficiently making sure that no water gets wasted.

3. How do you water a vertically hanging garden?
This is where it gets complicated! You have two different choices here. You can either hook up a hose and a pump as well as a timed watering system or just do it yourself by hand. In either case, the water drips down from the top plants and all of the excess water and nutrients rain (no pun intended) onto the other pouches below.

4. What can you grow in a vertical garden?
This is an important question when it comes to deciding whether or not you are going to be building, buying, or maintain your vertical garden. The answer is quite simple, though. Whatever kind of flowers, herbs, or vegetables that do not grow to create large vegetables such as eggplants or squash, or plants that don’t need a lot of space, like tomatoes. You will want to keep it conservative when it comes to deciding what kinds of plants to put in your hanging garden.

5. How much do they cost?
They are relatively cheap. If you want to buy a pre-built hanging garden platform, such as the Flora-fill hanging vertical garden system, you will end up paying $32 for every square foot that you occupy. It is mostly a pod for 30 dollars or so, which might seem expensive, but keep in mind how much you will be saving regarding hassle, money, and space. Find out how to build your own.

6. Do they have any health benefits?
Yes, of course! Science and study have shown that plants filter the air. Therefore, when you have a vertically hanging plant platform, the air around it gets purified.

As you can see, hanging vertical plant platforms are a hip new trend when it comes to agriculture and gardening, but it is a space efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional farming.

How Urban Gardening Benefits Your Community

In this article, we will be going over ten ways that urban gardening can benefit you and those around you and in your community. Everything from a community space to an office to a rooftop garden, someone who is a real urban gardener and is concerned about the environment will grow just about anywhere that they can. You will know them when you see them!

1. Urban gardening, no matter what form it is in, reduces carbon emissions
When you grow your food and provide a chance for others to buy it for you, multiple things are happening. First of all, you are reducing the carbon footprint placed on the earth. Did you know that almost every meal you have ever eaten, on average, has traveled over 4,000 miles just to get on your table? Think about how much carbon emissions are being saved when you provide a chance for people to purchase food locally. Trucks do not have to be the “middlemen” when it comes to delivering food, especially food that is healthy and good, to your table.

Not only this but you are also making it healthier for the environment by creating more plants and more spaces for crops to be grown. This also means that you are turning a revenue for yourself, which is always a good thing. In addition to this, you are also providing jobs for your local community, because more jobs mean more people were working, people benefit by having a job and can, in turn, give back to the community. 

2. Innovation grows rapidly
Because so many cities faces and other urban areas lack the proper space for Farms to be expansively grown Urban farmers in the lentils who want to give Back To Nature, are forced to learn how to create new techniques for for for Farming. This also includes hanging gardens, the rooftop of gardens, Vertical Gardens, and the list goes on and on.

3. It creates jobs
We previously on how Urban farming creates jobs. Well, let me expand on this. The more opportunities to work in the local community you have translates directly to more jobs, and more employment.

This means that people can give back to their community in a way that benefits not only them but the people around them as well. Especially in areas quote such as big cities and quote where poverty and hunger are such wildly overflowing issues Urban Gardens and Community Gardens are excellent sources of both income and food for all.

4. The food quality is far higher
Another area where Urban farming can be a boon is in the quality of the food that it provides. A lot of small local restaurants will tend to Source their ingredients locally, as much as they can, especially for more rare types of foods and herbs.

A lot of fancy restaurants tend to prefer natural, organic, grass-fed chicken as opposed to the kind of chicken or other meat that you can get in a store. The quality of food is so much higher, because it is far fresher and is grown in the local temperature and climate, and does not have to be sprayed with or injected with or grown with different kinds of chemicals and other harmful materials.

About Urban Farming

With the economy in the shape it is in and the job market in shambles, a movement is beginning to take place across America. This movement is Urban Farming. People are becoming aware and are making the decisions to become more and more self-sufficient.

The decision to raise ones food is an easy one to make. How often have you looked at the food in the grocery store and wondered “Who has touched this meat before me?” or “I hate opening up these cartons to see if any eggs are broken.”

These questions lead us to one area of the Urban Farm, Poultry. Now, when I say poultry I mean Chickens. Today there is a huge increase in the number of people raising chickens in their backyards. I understand that you are thinking about stepping into raising chickens. Before you do, there a few things you need to know.

There are 2 ways to start. You can buy chicks or pullets. Chicks are freshly born within a month or so. They take a bit more care to grow into an egg layer. This can take up to 5 or 6 months. Pullets are young hens generally under 1 year in age. Pullets will pretty much start laying eggs within a month. Both can be purchased from local feed stores in the early spring or bought online and they will be delivered through the post office.

When Buying chickens make sure you do not buy a rooster. If you do your neighbors will send you all kinds of love when they are awakened every day at sunrise. If you are looking for eggs only then go with hens only. About the best place I have found to buy chickens online is Mcmurray hatchery. I have used them and found their service to be excellent.

If you have children and involve them in the raising of these birds, you will notice that chickens are one pet that the kids do not normally have to be told to go take care of. They will happily take care of them on their own.