7 Tips for Starting and Growing a Farm
Farming is a great way to get closer to nature and better understand how food and other forms of plant life are sourced. Personal farming can help a person save money, eat healthier, and stay active, while a business farm can turn into a profitable endeavor when connected to the right target market.
When you're new to farming, you're going to want to do some careful planning to increase your chances of executing your farm vision. Understanding how to prep, tend to, and harvest your farm can help you outline budgets, gather necessary supplies, and yield desirable products.
Let's cover some tips that can help point you in the right direction when starting your farm.
Tip #1: Establish Your Goals
A key component of achieving success with anything, especially farming, is to understand your motive. Perhaps you want to naturally source food to increase your organic intake. Maybe you've always enjoyed visiting local farmers' markets and want to ingratiate yourself into that community by offering valuable products.
Establishing your motivation for starting a farm will help you decide which type of farming operation is right for you. Many people who start farms seek out financing for assistance in jumpstarting the process. If you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and how you will go about doing so, it'll be easier to secure funding and other forms of help from outside parties.
When you decide on the variety of farm you want to run, try, and locate people nearby running similar practices. It's common in the farming industry for a group of smaller operations to connect and form a more extensive network that creates a market impact. Try to spend some time gaining experience working under farming veterans to observe their strategies and practices.
After you locate some in-person resources, continue expanding your knowledge through books related to your farming niche. Books can help you fill in knowledge gaps that you might not suffice in working with specific individuals.
Your initial goals should contain a healthy balance of ambition and realism. As you accomplish small goals, work to develop your operations at an appropriate pace steadily, so you don't experience burnout.
Tip #2: Focus and Diversify
While it's important not to cast your net too wide when planning what you wish to farm, there's danger in not diversifying what you're growing. If you're only producing one or two types of items, the chances of a failing crop compromising your entire plans are high.
Start small and work on implementing additions to your farm little by little, so you don't get too overwhelmed.
Tip #3: Establish a Strong and Healthy Working Environment
Having direct access to quality soil and water are two of the main ingredients for a successful farm. If you're searching for land to start your farm on, be sure to ask about the last time the area received a soil test. It's common for prospective farmers to request soil test information, so it shouldn't come as an inconvenience to the seller.
Farms tend to feature the following varieties of water sources:
- Surface water
- Municipal water systems
Surface water commonly exists in:
- Irrigation ditches
If the land you're examining features a well for water use, ask the seller about the well's water quantities, age, and overall quality.
Municipal water systems tend to be sourced from city or rural water.
Tip #4: Prepare Your Soil Beds
Tilling is beneficial for soil preparation as the practice mixes organic material into your soil that helps fight weeds and loosen up the area for healthy crop growth. It's important to till when the soil crumbles between your fingers. If the soil smears when pressure is applied, it's still too moist for tilling.
If you don't own tilling equipment, you can try practicing a no-till farm strategy. No-till practices involve applying thick layers of mulch to a bed and waiting months for the mulch to breakdown. Thick compost layers are a faster alternative option to mulch.
Once your soil bed is in top-tier shape, try using new, fresh seeds instead of old leftover seeds. While old seeds are easy to collect, their growth and quality rates decline somewhat over time.
Tip #5: Protect Your Farm Against Pests
Having an awareness of the types of pests your farmland can attract will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Common types of farm pests include:
- Stink bugs
Establishing healthy soil is a fundamental component of battling pests as the healthy plants that stem from quality soil contain pest-resilient qualities. Pesticides should be a last resort when working to fight farm pests as you want to keep your plants as natural as possible.
It's essential to know that not all insects that exist within a farm are harmful.
The main beneficial types of insects for a farm consist of:
Honeybees are the most iconic pollinator insects. Ladybugs are the most common form of pest predators, and parasitic wasps use pests as nurseries for their offspring.
Tip #6: Stay Patient
Remaining patient is a crucial component of fostering successful crop growth. You're not going to become a knowledgeable farmer without making a mistake or two along the way. Practicing patience when farming is a great way to balance out how we're trained to receive immediate gratification in the digital age.
Farming is an activity for people who love the operation.
As you continue to gain experience through enjoying the process, you'll find that the rewards of farming are well worth the wait.
Tip #7: Take Care of Yourself
Most people are aware of the physically demanding nature of farm work. While farming can serve as an excellent source of exercise, it's essential to take proper safety measures to protect your health.
Spring and summer are prime months for farming operations. As you farm for long hours in the sun, the chances of developing heat stress and dehydration are high.
You can prepare for warm weather farming work by:
- Applying sweatproof sunscreen
- Wearing a sunhat and sunglasses
- Hydrating before, during, and after work
- Taking regular breaks
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks
Try to avoid the following drinks when working due to their dehydrating qualities:
Check out Hydrant for a way to quickly hydrate when farming.
Lightly flavored with real fruit juice powder and containing a balanced electrolyte boost, Hydrant helps farmers hydrate at a more efficient rate. Hydrant's rapid hydration qualities are a result of the mix's science-founded solution.
With the right balance of electrolytes and just a little bit of sugar, your body's cells can absorb the hydrating qualities of Hydrant faster than water alone.
You won't find any synthetic colors, artificial sweeteners, or stevia within Hydrant. Using Hydrant right after you wake up will help you avoid mental fog and fatigue when farming. Consider utilizing a Caffeinated Hydration Mix for an extra boost to start your day.
Help make your dream farm a reality with Hydrant.