Saturday, 5 July 2014

Re-discovering plans for living off the land

When I was looking through old diaries to do THIS POST a week or so ago, I came across a list of ideas I had made in 2010, under the heading of Something To Sell Everyday Of The Year.
 At that time we had just decided not to move to Wales but to stay here and build a new kitchen extension. We had plans that C would be able to give up full time work sometime in the next few years if we could increase what we did here.
 I thought I would share what I wrote then and what we actually do now.

           2010 idea                                                            2014  Actuality
Eggs = All year                                                      Our best plan, steadily increasing
                                                                               number of hens to            
                                                                                  produce a good income year.
 Kindling = Nov - March                                        We don't have enough wood to
                                                                              do this now and didn't sell enough
                                                                               to   make it worthwhile in 2011/12

Daffodils = March/April                                        We have one bed of daffs but this
                                                                             only makes us about £10 a year and
                                                                               ties up the bed all year so we
                                                                               plan to give up on them soon

Herbs= April/May                                                  When I had a large herb garden
                                                                               I could pot up seedlings and take
                                                                               cuttings and grow from seed but 
                                                                               the income was small for the work
                                                                                 and space needed. So this has                                                                                                                   dropped apart from
                                                                               pots of parsley.

Cabbage= February/March                                    We never did do this as too much space is needed

Gooseberries= June/July                                        I grew more bushes from cuttings and this provides
                                                                                a really good income.

Broad Beans= June/July                                        We just grow one bed and sell a few.

New Potatoes= June/July                                      We grow 4 beds - they sell quickly.

Courgettes= June/July/August                              12 plants each year give us plenty to sell

Cucumbers= Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept                             8 plants give 2 to 4 to sell each day but not often
                                                                              carrying on into September.

Tomatoes=Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept                                Best seller. It was worth investing in another
                                                                               poly-tunnel to grow more.

Runner Beans= Aug/Sept                                    2 beds but starting to sell in July. These are good
                                                                              sellers too.

Squash = Sept/Oct                                                I've increased the number of plants each year as
                                                                              they sell better now than they did. We can grow
                                                                               out on the field so have room for them. They carry
                                                                             on into November if we have enough.
Cooking Apples= Oct/Nov                                 Not to be relied on, some years good, some not.

 Pumpkins = October/Nov.                                  They sell slowly once Halloween has passed. Useful
                                                                             for income late in the year.

Chutney = Nov/December                                  I discovered that I didn't like making chutney enough
                                                                            to make dozens to sell! I tried for one year.

Bay branches/Holly/Teasels =Dec                      We've never had enough to do this. I tried spraying
                                                                            teasels with gold spray one year, but they didn't sell.

 There was no mention, back in 2010 of peppers,French Climbing beans and raspberries. We only had room for peppers to sell once we got the third poly-tunnel up.
Raspberries became a big seller because we replaced some old blackcurrant bushes with raspberries, they are very popular and a really good income through July.
Our first try at French Climbing beans was only a few years ago, but this year we have a whole bed and they should be a good income before the runner beans.

It's interesting to see how our plans  changed over the four years between thinking about making a living off the land and actually doing it.
The campsite too has also played a big part in allowing us to make an income from our smallholding. We had to spend on shower and new toilets but have already got our investment back by having more visitors.

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