Every experienced fruit grower knows the advantages of windbreaks. At Norfolk, Va., windbreaks of trees are extensively planted. They are especially valuable in the protection of field cucumbers; the young plants advance much more rapidly where such windbreaks have been established than on unprotected land. A common practice is to construct board windbreaks to shelter hotbeds and cold frames, although hedges are more attractive and more economical to establish. Natural windbreaks of trees or hills are most desirable of all.
No greater mistake can be made than to locate on a poor road. Good roads more than double the value of land for gardening purposes. Mud, ruts, stones and steep hills are enough to discourage the most plucky gardener; they greatly increase the cost of marketing; reduce the amount of produce that can be hauled to market by the teams and wagons at command; cause constant annoyance to team and teamster and make it difficult to deliver vegetables at the market or the railroad station in first-class condition. A hard, smooth, well-drained and comparatively level road makes marketing a pleasure instead of a burden. Larger wagons may be used with less wear and tear, the trips will consume less time and hence the teams will be available for more work on the farm, than where poor roads must be used.
Before engaging in trucking at remote distances from market, shipping facilities should be carefully studied. Two or more lines of transportation are better than one. There should be assurance that boats or cars will be available when wanted. Freight and express rates should be reasonable and it should be possible to reach the great centers of consumption without delay. Facilities to ice cars should also be considered. It should be possible for boats or cars to be loaded during the day and then moved as rapidly as possible until the market is reached.
Methods Of Selling should also be taken into account. Some systems are greatly superior to others. If supplying a local market, the gardener is saved much annoyance as well as time by placing his wagon at a wholesale market where grocers and hucksters gather daily to secure their supplies. This is much better than driving from store to store to make sales. If delivering at a railroad siding it is a great advantage to be able to sell directly to the buyers representing city houses rather than to make consignments on commission. Selling at the track is becoming a popular method in many parts of the country. To get the benefits of this system, it is necessary, of course, to locate where, there is sufficient production of vegetables to attract buyers.
Price Of Land is a secondary consideration in the selection of a vegetable farm. The interest and taxes on an additional investment of $100 an acre are small matters when the land is near a first-class market and adapted to the line of cropping to be followed, and the expense saved in hauling produce, manure and supplies will soon more than overbalance the additional interest or rental.
If cottages are provided for the workmen it is not necessary to be near the city, although close proximity is always an advantage in securing help. Practically all market gardeners near the large cities depend upon day laborers who live near the farm or who travel to and from their homes by trolley. It has been observed that gardeners living some distance from the cities do not have much trouble in retaining their men.
Intensive gardening requires manure in large amounts and the cities are the only sources of liberal supplies. A great many growers have it shipped, and in some instances it is transported hundreds of miles. For example, a grower on the eastern shore of Maryland gets manure from New York and Philadelphia, costing $2.90 to $3 a ton delivered on the railway siding. Some growers in close proximity to the cities secure manure at nominal charges. When manure is cheap and the haul short it is a simple matter to make the soil very fertile and to grow large crops of the best quality.
It often occurs that farmers, fruit growers, or poultrymen desire to increase their profits by growing vegetables. Perhaps not one condition is entirely favorable for the enterprise and yet it may be possible for them to enlarge their incomes by devoting part of the farm to gardening. This is doubtless the situation on thousands of farms. Under such conditions a modest start should be made, followed by larger plantings from year to year if returns justify extension.