We learned a(nother) crucial lesson this autumn. If we want to grow more, its not just the number of garden rows that we need to increase, its everything. With our slow and steady approach to developing the farm into a scale which is both manageable and viable, we knew we needed to double our production area. Katie and Hugh agreed to lease us another 1/8 of an acre and we transformed it into 30 new rows with the help of all our wonderful, tireless, dusty and hot helpers at a working bee in February.
Right, we’re ready for a seriously productive autumn and winter (we thought). What we forgot to think about when we were focused on the physical space was that if we increase the area of land we’re growing on, we also need to increase our propagation space so that we can have the extra number of seedlings to fill the extra rows! Duh! Not to mention fencing, irrigation, compost, row protections, etc etc! Through late summer we feverishly sowed, thinned and transplanted seedlings in the hot house, but try as we might we just didn’t have the infrastructure to support the increase in production.
So our ‘productive winter’ has been a semi-productive one after all. We’ve got lots of delicious things growing slowly and we harvest and sell them weekly but there’s also lots of half-full rows where we didn’t have enough seedlings to fill them. All good learning!
What we’ve realised is that the slow and steady approach is great, it helps us make considered decisions and slowly increase production in a way that is manageable for us as we juggle on-farm and off-farm work. But we’ve also come to realise that our ability to do the ‘growth’ well is restricted by our limited finances. Carefully beavering away at our produce sales isn’t enough to support the kind of investment we need to make our market garden viable.
And so, (gulp!) we’ve decided to launch a crowd funding campaign. This is where you, our community and supporters, have an opportunity to contribute financially to Gung Hoe Growers, in however small or large bites you want. We have a clear budget for how the money will be used for the farm and you can read that, along with what ‘perks’ we’re offering for your contributions, on our crowd funding page here:
There’s a beautiful video made by our friend Leonie Van Eyk where you can see the farm 12 months ago and in February and meet some of the great people who support our business. We’re running the campaign for 1month, and if we meet our target of $10,000 we will be a huge step closer to making this market garden the healthy, vibrant and viable space we dream of!
Sas and Mel