Some of the West County’s most profitable businesses started off by growing crops on a smallholding. So what can you grow in the West Country? We’ve taken a look at just five of the many types of crop suitable for smallholdings.
Fruit and veg
As obvious as it may seem, some of the most successful farm shops stemmed from growing fruit and vegetables on their land.
From strawberries to runner beans, pumpkins to potatoes, the demand for organic fruit and vegetables is on the rise. Last year the Soil Association reported an increase of 4% in the number of organic product sales.
Whether it’s delivered in a vegetable box to their door, or by wandering through the local farm shop, there will certainly be a demand.
Herbs can be great for adding flavour to food and some even boast medicinal powers! What most may not know is that some of the most popular such as basil, mints, coriander and dill are relatively easy to grow.
With so many types of annuals, biennials and perennials, there is plenty of scope to find the perfect plants suited to your smallholding!
Looking to put your green fingers to work in the flower world? The West Country’s milder temperatures, especially in Cornwall, allow blooms to be grown successfully throughout the year.
From cut to dried flowers, bulbs to bushes, there is a range of seasonal types for all kinds of customers. Consider supplying local / national florists, garden centres and even showcase them at local markets and agricultural / horticultural shows.
You could potentially create a great source of income; being a speciality crop it allows smallholders to reap high-value rewards for their products.
Trees / plants
Trees and plants are a great way of reducing CO2 and can be a profitable earner for smallholders.
Willow and bamboo are commonly used in natural wicker products, such as furniture and baskets. Bamboo in particular, is fast becoming a new ‘super material’ and is now used in large-scale timber developments.
Trees such as firs, pines and spruces are great for smallholdings running seasonal businesses like Christmas tree farms.
Whether you have 2 acres or 20, there is an array of different sized species appropriate for your land.
If you have shady areas on your smallholding, why not consider growing mushrooms?
According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the mushroom sector contributes to 4% of the annual horticulture income, which means there’s plenty of room for growth.
Common types grown in the UK include shiitakes (found in shady areas) and oyster mushrooms, which can be can be grown on straw. But the list is pretty much endless, with more exotic mushrooms being grown locally than ever before!
Setting up a smallholding from scratch with little or no agricultural experience can be a daunting prospect, but that’s why West Country Dream is here to help you along the way.
If you’re looking to take your first steps we can help you with an introduction into being a smallholder with our range of courses and workshops. Give us a call on 07816 514667 or visit our courses page.