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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Posts
    731

    Default Pumpkins/small scale farming

    Greetings all:

    Anyone have any ideas on what would make a good first choice to do some small scale, commerical farming venture? Not only would I like to make a little extra money, I'd also like to have something we do from home that the whole family could get involved with.

    Two ideas I have had so far as pumpkins and xmas trees. What appeals to me about both of these items is that 1) I can sell them myself retail right from the house (we are just off a main road that gets a decent traffic count)
    2) its very seasonal. (you only need to deal with the public for a short few weeks in the fall/winter).

    Pumpkins seems like an easy enough thing to grow, and wouldn't take as long (lime xmas trees) to actually have a product...if the pumkins worked out we could possibly do some related things (i.e. pies, snacks, crafts etc) and try to make the place into a micro-tourist attraction (we live in Western, Mass and get a lot of leaf-peepers).

    Any thoughts on this or farming in general? I'd like to become a legitamite farm operation where I can write-off my equipment and also get the land into a agriculture tax bracket and, as I mentioned above, have something the whole family could be involved with (3 small kids).

    Thanks in advance!





  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    444
    Location
    Central Arkansas
    Tractor
    Kubota /L2650/ LA450/B4690 -- John Deere 450 Dozer

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    EJB, I love it, never heard of leaf-peepers... Go with pumpkins, easiest way to get started, did it in years long ago may do it this year... Then move to X-trees, they are a long term project...


  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    Pumpkins are a lot of work if you are going to grow them on a large scale. We have been doing the family thing for the past 7-8 years. We do a mix of selling wholesale to garden markets, selling on the farm, and selling at festivals. Find out if there is a vegetable growers association in your area get any publications on growing pumpkins. This will tell you what you are up against regarding bugs, mold, black rot, weeds, etc. in your local area. You need enough land to be able to rotate your crop on a minimum of three year cycle. Without rotation you will experience significant crop damage mostly due to bugs but the mold and black rot can over winter as well. You will also need to get your chemical license. Without chemicals (herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides) you will have a poor crop performance. Some of these chemicals are very expensive, 300+ per gallon of concentrate. Most big pumpkin farms use drip irrigation and black plastic (we are not that big), they also start their seeds in greenhouses. We don't and have to fight off the crows for the first couple of weeks. (Usually one dead one in the field will do the trick). Pumpkins need bees to produce fruit. There are hundreds of male flowers per one female flower (forget the exact number, but the odds are not in your favor). Combine that with the fact that the female flower is only fertile for one day and you need a lot of bees to get a good crop. They say one active hive per acre. Then there is the weather....You can do everything right and still lose your crop. Last year we had five acres planted and produced what we normally would have on 1/4 acre. A combination of wet weather and cold temperatures were the primary factors. At this point, it probably sounds like I'm trying to discourage you from getting into this and that is not my intent. I just wish that someone had told us more when we started this. It is a lot of work and provided that everyone in your family is into it, then it can be fun as well. And the money can be good too. Surprisingly our best moneymaker is shocks of corn. We have an old JD Corn Binder and it is the most profitable machine on the farm. Last year we did a couple thousand corn shocks. We grow a special ornamental corn that is for this purpose as well as an Indian corn that has been in the extended family for generations (it is not uncommon to have 18" ears and 14' stalks, even in a drought). Add in some gourds, and other fall crops and you have a nice little fall business. I'm sure my father-in-law, who reads this site, will way in as well. Good luck and I hope I have not discouraged you and that you will give this a try.


  4. #4
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    5,666
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    Jim, City boy here, what is a shock of corn?


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    49
    Location
    Fairfax, Vermont
    Tractor
    NH TC29S

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    If you haven't already, do some reading.

    The Perfect Pumpkin, Gail Damerow, Storey Communications, 1997. Covers growing, bugs, etc.

    Christmas Trees: Growing and Selling Trees, Wreaths, and Greens, Lewis Hill, Storey Communications, 1989.

    Southern New England Christmas Tree Grower's Manual, Cooperative Extension Service, University of CT. Call (203) 486-3336 for price and ordering information.




  6. #6

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    A corn shock is a "bunch" of stalks tied together....Probably has a meaning tied to a piece of equipment or how they used to handle the corn prior to the invention of combines. Websters has it as a bundle of grain or a tangled mass.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Scappoose, Oregon
    Tractor
    Kubota B6200 HST

    Default Re: Pumpkins/small scale farming

    EJB; How about both pumpkins and tree's. I once had someone tell me about their idea of selling pumpkins from their patch, and having a tree grove nearby that customers can pick out/tag a tree to cut at Xmas time if they wanted. Sounds logical to me especially in the bad winter areas.


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