Monday 4 September 2017

A Day With A Market Gardener

I've tried to do a lot of learning over the summer. The way I figure is that I invested a lot of time to learn to become a carpenter, well if I want to be a market gardener then I need to invest some time into learning how to do that properly.
I'd left that day feeling totally inspired and armed with his email and some pretty patchy communications between the two of us we'd managed to stay in contact. I was dead keen to go back up there and "help out" if he could put up with me for a day. Luckily we found a day we could both do (last Thursday). 
So I set out early in the morning and drove up to near Ironbridge to pester Phil with questions all day! 
The idea was that I'd shadow him for the day and see how he operates. doing some jobs with him and asking lots of questions as we did them! 
Picking and washing carrots
It was amazing just to be back in that walled garden, and we were joined by four volunteers who come once a week to help out with some of the bigger tasks, they were doing a great job of weeding huge areas! I could have done with them at mine! 

Big stands of herbs growing ready for picking 
 It was great to see the layout of the garden again and to see how things look in a different season, last time I went it was the end of April so completely different to the end of the summer. There were crops everywhere, either in blocks or rows and Phil knew where everything was, although like me I think he keeps a lot in his head rather than on paper!
The gardens were looking good! 

Sweet corn that we'd harvested that morning

Edible flowers for sale

Another doorway into another garden on the estate

Polytunnel full of tomatoes that we pruned. 

I went with a list in my head of what I wanted to find out and I feel that I came away with the answers I needed, mainly about pricing and marketing of some of the more unusual things I grow here. But also other things I hadn't really thought of selling and how I should set up areas of my little homestead. I need to establish more areas of perennial herbs and plants that can be a good fall back if other crops fail. He had huge stands of herbs around the place and I'm thinking I'd much rather have that than the huge stands of nettles I've got at the moment! I'll be sheeting some areas over ready for planting in next spring outside of my normal garden area. 

When I got back I was really fired up about the whole thing, I got straight on the phone and spoke to a local restaurant to arrange a meeting and to drop off a big box of veggies for them to try. Hopefully I'm going to speak to them and see what type of things they'd be interested in if I started to grow a few things for them next year. I didn't feel confidant enough before as I had no idea what some things should be priced at and didn't want to go in without some of the answers to obvious questions. . 

Hopefully Phil and I are going to keep in contact and swap growing tips, marketing advice as well as seeds and plants in the future. 

A great day and I really appreciate his time in trying to make me a better gardener! 


  1. Fantastic Kev. Now you'll be wanting a load of bricks to build a rather large wall....

  2. Sounds a good day out ready for a huge step forward.

  3. Congratulations, any journey begins with the first step and you have taken that. I hope its a resounding success.

  4. Brilliant! What a useful day and good luck with the restaurant venture.

  5. Sometimes memories shake loose in my brain, part of it was the name Phil. My brother-in-law's parents used to raise bedding plants to sell in the spring. I remember my father being amazed what people would pay for bedding plants. Sadly, I am one of those people now!
    I was wondering if you have space to grow seedlings of flowers like marigolds and the like that could be sold in the spring.
    I hope you have good success with the venture and I look forward to reading about it, if you have time to blog!!

  6. Wow this is really inspiring! The walled gardens are beautiful. I would love to turn our space over to a more productive patch that we could make a few pennies from. Glad you got lots of ideas and I think sometimes seeing things in practice can make all the difference when it comes to turning dreams into reality.


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