In the production of vegetables for the home table the gardener should aim to secure (1) a variety of products, (2) the highest quality and (3) a supply as uniform and constant as possible at different seasons of the year.
In commercial gardening the following points must be considered: (1) Quality. Markets are becoming more discriminating every year. Consumers are urgent in their demands for quality, and it is important for growers to realize that prices and profits are largely dependent upon quality. This is especially true when vegetables are placed upon large city markets in competition with shipments from all parts of the country. The best quality is secured by the selection of proper varieties and the furnishing of ideal cultural conditions. Quick maturity is usually favorable to the best quality. This is especially true of the most succulent vegetables, as radish, turnip, beet, onion, lettuce, cabbage, celery and spinach. Vegetables of the finest edible quality are generally grown in moist, fertile soils, physically adapted to each class. (2) Yields. Large yields are essential to maximum profits. Some varieties of high quality are not good yielders. The grower is fortunate if quality and quantity can be secured in the same variety. There are many examples of quality being sacrificed for quantity by the selection of varieties of high yielding power. In producing vegetables for local markets that are not very discriminating this course may be justifiable, although it doubtless limits consumption. Whatever the variety, the commercial grower should endeavor to secure maximum yields at minimum outlay. The net returns from a given area of land should determine the extent to which methods can be intensified. If cheap land is available it may be more profitable and less difficult to follow extensive rather than intensive methods. (3) Earliness. The early production of crops is an important factor, first, because it generally enables the grower to sell at higher prices, and with reduced effort; second, it gives the gardener a lead on the market, always a great advantage in seasons of abundant crops; third, it makes possible the clearing of the land in time for succeeding cash crops or soil-improving crops. (4) Kind of market. It is important to have definite ideas concerning the disposition of a crop before it is started. Will it be sold on a general, open market in competition with the same vegetable from other sections, or will a special market be supplied? Market possibilities should always be studied before deciding upon crops and cropping plans.