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Which Crop is Most Valuable?

If you plan on trading, or selling any of your crop you might want to figure out what has the most value. If you only intend to eat your crop, then grow whatever you like! Here are some of the crops that are worth more in the Mesa AZ area:

http://ag.arizona.edu has information on intensive gardening, and they say the following are the most valuable crops for this area, for the small space farmer:

Top Aquaponics Vegetables in Economic Value (Single Season):

  • Tomatoes
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Summer squash
  • Broccoli
  • Edible pod peas
  • Head lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Beans (pole, bush)

Top Raised Bed or Dirt Vegetables in Economic Value (Single Season):

  • Onion storage bulbs
  • Turnip (green + roots)
  • Beets
  • Green bunching onions
  • Carrots

Other Valuable Crops Considering Long Term:

  • Fruit producing trees and shrubs
  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Horseradish
  • Exotic Fruits

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 the Small Space Farmer:

  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins

Miniature varieties or trellising may increase value per square foot.
Dirt vegetables are listed because I plan on putting fish emulsion from the swirl filters onto the raised dirt beds. Anything with a bulb (onions, beets, horseradish, potatoes, etc), will grow in aquaponics, but the bulb may never form because everything is so wet. If it does form, it might rot. I’ve seen others growing carrots, but they come out the shape of apples, so I don’t think that will be appealing for resale.
In your aquaponics system you can grow almost anything (check your hardiness zone to make sure frost won’t kill it though). I plan on growing things that my neighbors would find valuable/desireable so we can trade for their fruit trees, etc. Until I have excess, I’m only growing things I like… and turnips won’t be one of them!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Hon October 14, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Hello James,
    I’m new to your site and would like to my appreciation on the information you’ve provided. I just wanted to comment on something you wrote.
    “I’ve seen others growing carrots, but they come out the shape of apples, so I don’t think that will be appealing for resale.”
    What’s wrong with round carrot?! I’m sure it will taste the same if not better. Here’s an interesting read on how unconventional veggies are being being discarded simply for being ugly.
    Thank again for sharing,

    • james December 23, 2013, 12:09 pm

      @Hon – nothing is wrong with witch finger carrots haha. However, consumers would not want to buy them. I found out also that hydroton (clay pebbles) allow the shapes to grow out just fine.

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