There are a lot of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ in operating a small farm. These are some of the few guide lines that you can follow in growing your crops in your small farm:
● Determine what crops you can raise in your location. Obvious factors include climate, soil, rainfall, and available space. A fast and fun way to learn what grows well in your climate is to visit a nearby farm or garden. Here are some details to ask seasoned growers about or investigate yourself:
Climate. Some locales only have a brief growing season. This means growing quick producing plant varieties that can be harvested and stored for the winter. Other areas have year-long warm weather, where fresh vegetables and grain can be harvested on demand.
Soil. Depending on the type you have available, you may expect very high yields from a large area, or meager yields from small areas.
Rainfall. No plants thrive with minimal rainfall, so most food crops require substantial amounts of water from irrigation or rainfall. Consider the normal rainfall rate for your area, and the availability of irrigation when choosing crops.
Space. If plenty of space is available, you may be able to grow plenty of food using conventional methods, but where space is limited, you may have to look at other techniques, including hydroponics, container gardening, sharecropping, and vertical gardening.
● Understand how a growing season plays out. Growing food is more than just planting seeds and waiting for a harvest. You will need to prepare each different plant crop basically the same way, but when you have prepared the soil for planting, you can plant as many different crops as you like at one time.
● Develop a “farm plan” on the land you intend to use for your food production. You will need to address specific issues in your planning, including wildlife encroachment, which may require fences or other permanent measures, sun exposures, since some plants require more sunlight to successfully produce than others, and topography, since tilling very steep ground is fraught with problems.
● Begin your project in stages. If you have abundant land and sufficient equipment, you can start on a fairly large scale, but unless you have sufficient knowledge and experience, you will be gambling that the plants you select are suitable for your soil and climate.