Planning and Running an Orchard is like Planning an Online Business
A few decades back I was planning a stone fruit orchard from scratch and raising six kids and working on the apple orchard during the apple season.
Planning that Orchard is a lot like planning my whole Online Business…
Back in my orcharding days we had a young family. A large family becomes expensive. We would take the family on holidays at least once every couple years and this took a lot of planning. As the family started to grow we needed to expand our income.
Preparing the Land…
The family property was nothing more than an old apple orchard and bush land. The orchard was way past its use by date so it had to come out. We cleared the bush and removed the old orchard. The land was lifeless, so we started working it up. The top layer of soil was sitting on a solid crust. So we had to really break through that layer with a big ripper to reach the rich clay level under neath.
We had truck loads of chook manure brought in to improve the soil. A huge scoop was built for the back of the tractor. As you backed into that huge pile of raw manure yes you literally wept. We were shoveling this shit out of the scoop by hand, well with a shovel. It was no fun spreading the manure along the fruit tree trenches. It was back breaking work.
Planning the Orchard layout…
Planning the orchard was no mean task. There were apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums to go in with over 100 different varieties. A row of mixed nuts were planted along the southern boundary. The land was steep and ran in different directions. You had to plan for the lay of the land and keep each block of trees separate.
The cherry block would eventually need netting. The timber that could be salvaged from the bush were treated and used for the the frame of the cherry block. Planting the cherries in the freeing snow that year caused my ex ended up in hospital with pneumonia. I am sewing up the hem of the whole cherry block by hand with a huge big needle we made out of heavy wire. The netting had to be stitched due to the intense winds that can blow across the hill.
Then there is monitoring irrigation, pruning and shaping trees to get the most productive crops. Trees take a few years to grow, so I planted commercial rows of strawberries to see us through the first seasons.
Joining the Tasmanian Stone Fruit Association
I became a member of the Stone Fruit Association and was on the board for a season. My artistic skills help design a number of different packaging for the industry. It took a bit of planning to get the designs to run into each other. The boxes looked fantastic on the pallet and gained the industry more sales over the mainland competition.
We had local wholesale fruit orders, interstate orders and the tourist trade. The packing shed and cool room were running from morning till midnight during the busy part of the season. The graders were just keeping up with the amount of fruit coming in from the field. We would take our first van load of fruit up to the Hobart wholesalers at five in the morning. Further orders went up during the day.
Some seasons were better than others, because rain can effect a crop. I had fruit varieties spread right across the summer season. There was nothing wasted on the orchard. I used any damaged fruit from the orchard to make jam and chutney. We used the over ripe fruit for fruit leather. A delicacy that rarely left the orchard, especially with my youngest son around.
It took a lot of planning to keep track of fruit varieties. I had all the designs for labeling saved on the computer. I could print off any number of labels as required and in the size required. Peaches, nectarines and the larger Canadian variety apricots were packed in trays. Cherry varieties were packed in 2 Kg and 5 Kg boxes. Standard apricots were packed in 10 Kg boxes.
Now you may wonder what all this has to do with planning an Online Business…
You would think the two were worlds apart and in a physical sense they are.
The two businesses are similar in the amount of research and planning that goes on before the project is even implemented. The long term vision for the projects helps you reverse engineer the plan. Then you know what you are putting in pace is going to be viable into the future.
I knew that stone fruit would grow on the property. We had viable fruit trees all ready in the garden. There was a good market because the Tasmanian season extended beyond the Mainland season. After speaking with the wholesalers I knew there was a huge market to be tapped. Regardless of the Huon Valley being an apple region there was a growing interest in stone fruit. My fledgling orchard started the growth of the industry.
Planning an online business is the same. There is a thriving online market. My mentors are the evidence of that. I know how to research the various niche markets just as I did with the fruit varieties. With short term income planned until I develop the long term plan. Built a solid foundation to sustain a viable business.
Planning anything from scratch takes effort…
As with the orchard building an Online Business from scratch is going to take a huge amount of effort and coordination to pull it off. The orchard took a lot of physical work while the online business is more mentally demanding. Both businesses are time consuming. The determination and dedication to the long term project is the same. Constant effort will get things done. The long term results will be worth the effort.
I became very good at multi tasking over the decades. Regardless of whether it was the fruit season or organizing kids. Plus all the community work as well. It takes a lot of planning a head. The family spent twelve years dedicated to St John Ambulance activities. I was in the Road Accident Rescue Unit and SES for eight years.
Helping kids, big and small. Helping other Stone Fruit growers with their orchards. Or helping people online, it is all the same. It brings you great respect and loyalty and most of all it feels good to get that friendly thank you. To combine helping people online with making an income is a win for both of us.
What do I hope to achieve from planning an Online Business…
We invested any spare income from the orchard into building the house for our growing family. My intent is to take the profit from my online en-devour and build units. Create communities for the growing number of people who are finding it hard to find accommodation in our lovely state. This is not just a business venture. I would one day require somewhere to retire and an income to maintain that lifestyle. This way I can achieve both.
I have planned the foundation of my business. The blog is like growing the first strawberry crops. I can make money from the blog. To established the main business will take time. I hope you will follow my progress on this new and interesting journey. You can follow any of my social channels, or join the notification list to be notified of any new updates.