This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The rent to be paid will depend upon the quality of the land and its distance from market. The rich land of the old Fulham market gardens, within 6 ml. of Covent Garden, was cheaper at £7 per acre than is that to which some of the dispossessed growers have been driven at a quarter that sum. Land which naturally contains many of the constituents that make fertility can be taken at a higher rent than can land in which they must be supplied by the cultivator. It is therefore impossible to lay down any general scale of rent; it will be found to be governed in most places by the action and reaction of supply and demand in the neighbourhood. A more important thing than the amount of the rent is to get the fact acknowledged in the agreement or lease of tenancy that the land is let for the business and purpose of a market gardener. This will secure the protection of the Market Gardeners Compensation Act, which is now incorporated in the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1908. When this is done the cultivator can, without hesitation or fear, proceed to develop all the latent cultural possibilities of his holding. He will be wise not to attempt too much at once. Some processes of tillage, while excellent as means of ultimately increasing the productivity of the soil, are expensive to carry out and take some time before the full return is yielded. They mean that capital is locked up for a time. This is all very well provided that the capital can be spared. Where it cannot be, the crippling effect on the finances more than outweighs the cultural benefit. In the course of some little experience with small holders it has been observed how many make shipwreck through apparent inability to measure accurately the extent of their resources. Some will try to bring all a holding, previously farmed, into market gardening in the first year; with the result that the work is all along master of them: crop after crop is put in weeks behind time. The season finishes with more or less of the land in the undisputed possession of the armies of the weeds and scarcely any crops worth anything. If a part only had been attempted, and the rest farmed, there would have been something tangible to show for the year's work. In a recent case of a County Council small holder who settled upon a holding, left in a filthy condition by the previous tenant, with splendid enterprise and industry he started to fork out the "couch". The result is his holding is poorly cropped, his little capital exhausted. He has cleared a part at tremendous expense of labour, but he has failed to maintain the source of revenue, without which retention of the holding is impossible. A very clever and successful market gardener, who on rich soil close to London had saved a decent fortune, took a farm for his eldest son to market garden. He immediately started to have the whole of it two-spit trenched. The soil was a medium loam on a bed of brick clay. Before the hungry yellow stuff brought on to the top could be induced to yield a crop, his fortune was all spent, and both father and son were ruined.