Published: 04 December 2013
Book Review: Gardening for Profit
At first glance the title of this book may appear of little interest to many gardeners, the majority of whom garden for the sheer enjoyment of the whole experience.
The title may also imply that it covers all aspects of gardening from grass cutting to pruning ornamental plants; what it is however, is a very comprehensive guide for anyone thinking of selling their surplus produce from a table at the garden gate or considering a career change and setting up a small edible crop production unit on a few acres of land.  The latter is exactly what the author Kate Collyns has done following a career change from journalism.
She has used the business and horticultural experiences over the past two and a half years while setting up her own unit as the basis of this book.

Much of the information to be found within its pages has been tried and tested by Kate. As the starting point she asked herself the question "What did I need, and what would be useful for readers when setting up a new venture?"

Along the way Kate has gathered relevant information on many topics including raising the money and financial considerations, obtaining land and some of the implications associated with it; she also writes about the importance of selecting the right crops to grow in order to establish local customers where you can promote and sell your produce.  Other business matters relate to invoicing, marketing leaflets, sales outlets, all of which are relevant in today’s business world, whatever the scale of operation.

There are also many pages devoted to the growing and cropping of plants for sale with useful charts and lists of things to do; one very good one is in the appendix called “Growing and business calendar”, this should prove to be a great memory jogger throughout the year with each month listing key things that will need to be done on many holdings.
The second section in the Appendix contains a directory of resources that will be invaluable to those seriously considering setting up a new venture, or developing an existing business.

At the end of her introduction to this book Kate Collyns comments that “ Food production is, after all, one of the few really important career options – and the sooner food producers are valued as highly as some of the so called ‘wealth makers’ and celebrities in society, the better!” This thought provoking comment also raises the issue of the public’s poor perception of those working on the land and the skills required to produce quality produce – this is often reflected in the low prices customers are willing to pay for the produce available.
This great little handbook should prove invaluable for all those with a growing idea.   
Title: Gardening for Profit- from home plot to market garden
Author: Kate Collyns
Publisher: Green books
ISBN: 978 085 784 1308 [paperback edition]
Price: £9.99

Reported by Chris Allen  

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