10. GREED. There are no get rich quick schemes. If you try to compensate by overcharging, being dishonest or biting off more than you can chew, it will eventually bite you right back. Avoid monocultures and what appear to be lucrative trends. The market will usually bottom out. (Remember the ginseng craze of the 90’s?) You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not everyone all the time. Integrity is key.
9. LAZINESS. If you prefer leisure over work, like to take naps and shortcuts, you won’t last very long. Farming is long hours of hard work. It’s 24/7. You will be getting up early for markets or need to get up in the middle of the night to check on livestock or cover your plants when there’s a frost warning. There is no easy way or everyone would be doing it.
8. PROCRASTINATION. Putting stuff off will only lead to exponential work in the future. A quick, easy weeding job one week can turn into an epic nightmare the next. You can never really be on top of everything, you can only keep trying. If you see something that needs doing, just do it.
7. GERMOPHOBIA. You will literally be covered in dirt and shit most of the time. You will breath and ingest it and will not have clean hands for the whole season. There will be bugs, slimy and smelly things. Get used to it – it builds up your immune system.
6. OVERACHIEVING. It’s so easy and tempting to go big, which could end up being unmanageable and stressful. It’s better to have a small productive garden than a big one you can’t handle. Do what you do best and leave the rest to others. At the same time don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.
5. STUBBORNESS. Ask for help when you need it, delegate, and accept your failures and move on. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and hire someone who can do it for you if you’re not comfortable or able or have the right tool.
4. COMPLACENCY. If you let your guard down, pests, weather, and safety issues could arise without warning. There are many old farmers missing digits, limbs or suffering hearing loss. Be careful. Just because something worked once before doesn’t mean it will again. Be adaptable and keep learning.
3. ARROGANCE. Don’t assume anything or think your invincible. Be modest and humble. Don’t compare. Boasting and envy are not productive. Be a positive part of the farming community. Resist a competitive attitude. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence… water your field!
2. ATTENTION DEFICIT. Farming is often long tedious hours of repetitive work. If you can’t focus on the same thing for hours, or even days, it will be a struggle. If you have to check your phone every few minutes, you’re doomed.
1. PERFECTIONISM. Things can never be perfect in such a dynamic environment, go with the flow and expect failures, and move on. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t over plan, let nature guide you. Enjoy.