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Uncle Jesse's garden

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:37 am
by orgoveg
My uncle just sent me these pics of his garden. He's off to a great start, as usual, in the great State of North Carolina. Check out that red Carolina clay. He runs a produce stand in front of his house and people flock from all over to buy his stuff, which is fresher and cheaper than the supermarket. The thick patch is his mixed greens (turnip, mustard, and kale). I learned to grow them that way from him. Just go through and pick the biggest leaves every day. Soak them in a tub of salted water to loosen the dirt, then rinse with two more changes of water. He turns them over later to do a second crop.

I brought up the monetary costs of gardening in another thread. This particular operation just "breaks even" on costs. He's not making money hand-over-fist (retired with nothing better to do). Each year, he has some money left over but it goes right back into the operation. He has alot of refrigerators in the garage, a tractor and attachments, keeps upgrading the stand, etc. He makes alot of trips to a "produce house" to buy stuff that is out of season for his garden. You've got fertilizers, seeds, whole plants, pesticides, fungicides, tons of water, bags for sales, trellises, fencing, string, and an enormous amount of personal labor. His neighbor runs the stand in exchange for meals and getting his yard work done and my aunt does alot of picking every day (their kids show up once in a while to help). Otherwise, he'd have to pay for that labor. I just don't see gardening being very profitable or money-saving these days. Most of the farms have become huge commercial operations where they make money on sheer volume with a low margin.

[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh194/abaction/garden0421-4.jpg[/img]
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[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh194/abaction/garden0421.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh194/abaction/garden0421-6.jpg[/img]
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Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:03 am
by rainbowgardener
You are right that grocery prices are kept so low, it is hard to make a lot of money from growing/ farming. And to the extent that you do, it is based on the tons of unpaid personal labor.

But re: . Each year, he has some money left over but it goes right back into the operation. He has alot of refrigerators in the garage, a tractor and attachments, keeps upgrading the stand, etc. He makes alot of trips to a "produce house" to buy stuff that is out of season for his garden. You've got fertilizers, seeds, whole plants, pesticides, fungicides, tons of water, bags for sales, trellises, fencing, string, and an enormous amount of personal labor.

If he were an organic gardener, he wouldn't need to be buying fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides. And he could be saving his own seed. Then he'd have a bit more left over.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:36 am
by Timlin
Wow what a large operation. It's all so pristine and organized....I can't imagine the amount of work involved. I wish there was a fresh veggie place like that near me. He's certainly ambitious and I agree with you gardening doesn't save much money but it is fresh and right at hand so that counts for something too.

Thanks for the pics I enjoyed them.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:39 am
by orgoveg
rainbowgardener wrote:
If he were an organic gardener, he wouldn't need to be buying fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides. And he could be saving his own seed. Then he'd have a bit more left over.
Yeah, I've tried to talk to him about going organic, but I'm 40 and he's 64. He won't hear advice from a snot-nosed brat :)

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:26 pm
by Flatlander_MB
What a nice looking stand. Looks like his reinvestments have been thoughtful.

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:41 pm
by nes
orgoveg wrote:
rainbowgardener wrote:
If he were an organic gardener, he wouldn't need to be buying fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides. And he could be saving his own seed. Then he'd have a bit more left over.
Yeah, I've tried to talk to him about going organic, but I'm 40 and he's 64. He won't hear advice from a snot-nosed brat :)
Show'm the money difference and you may yet convince him :).