Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Economic Value of Crops

Economic value of crops
It is difficult to evaluate the economic value of crops grown in the vegetable garden due to the different lengths of time they require for maturity and harvest, the availability of varieties and vegetables types not generally found in the marketplace, and the lack of comparison values for vegetables that are not acceptable by commercial standards (cracked tomatoes, crooked cucumbers, etc.), but which are perfectly usable by the gardener. Nevertheless, several studies have attempted to determine which crops bring the most value per square foot of garden space, partly to aid small-space gardeners in making decisions about what to plant. Of course, if no one in the family likes beets, there is no point in growing them just because they are economically valuable, but this list may help you determine which vegetables to plant and which to buy. Perennial crops are not on the list below because each of the studies was on a one-season basis. Asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, and other perennial crops do also have considerable economic worth. Fruit trees and shrubs are also valuable producers, especially considering the long-term.

Top 15 Vegetables in Economic Value:

Tomatoes, Beet, Green bunching onions, Carrots, Leaf lettuce, Cucumbers, Turnip (green + roots), Peppers, Summer squash, Broccoli,,Edible pod peas, Head lettuce, Onion storage bulbs, Swiss chard, Beans (pole, bush)

Values based on pounds produced per square foot, retail value per pound at harvest time, and length of time in the garden.

Low-Value Crops (not recommended for small spaces):

Corn, Squash, Melons, Pumpkins

Miniature varieties or trellising may increase value per square foot.


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