Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK
SPIN-Farming reduces the amount of land needed for commercial crop production to garden size plots. It is therefore sometimes confused with square foot gardening, but SPIN involves something new. It provides gardeners with a way to put an economic value on what they grow. What this means in practice is that gardening can easily be turned into a business. All you have to do is set a revenue target and plan your garden’s production to meet it.
Say you want to make $2,000 gross from your garden in a season. Here’s how to think through how that can be done, using the SPIN benchmark of $1,000 per 1,000 sq. ft., which is called a segment.
You might use 2 segments of garden space, totaling 2,000 sq. ft. and grow one crop worth $1,000 on each of the segments. With this option it’s important to first determine if there are enough markets to buy that much of one single crop.
By using SPIN’s bi-relay cropping, which is the growing of 2 crops in the same garden space per season, you can half the amount of garden space you need to 1,000 sq. ft., or one segment. That means you will be growing 2 crops worth $1,000 each, one right after the other, in the same 1,000 sq. ft. garden space.
Again, it’s important to first determine if there are enough markets to buy the two crops you choose, in the volume you’ll be producing them in.
>> So with the bi-relay option, you have halved your space, but maintained your revenue.
STRETCH GOAL OPTION
By using SPIN’s intensive relay cropping, which is the growing of 3 or more crops in the same garden space per season, you can maintain your 1,000 sq. ft. and increase your revenue to $3,000 in a season.
>>So with the intensive relay option, you have increased your revenue by a third, without having to expand your garden space.
What’s important to note is $1,000 gross per 1,000 sq. ft. is a conservative benchmark for those just starting out. Those who have mastered relay cropping, and who have strong markets, have been able to push these revenue targets to $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 and $5,000 per segment. This is where backyard plots become serious profit centers, and gardening crosses over into farming. SPIN makes it and an easy and lucrative transition.
Targeted revenue is the starting point, but it is just an abstract number without a production plan to back it up. In part 2 of this post, we’ll specify how you make your numbers a reality.
To see a further explanation of these concepts and others from the SPIN Lexicon, watch these five 1 minute videos on our youtube channel: