Suggestions for Hobby Farm in Manitoba
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: James Lockie
Posted on: December 10, 2006

I just bought a small hobby farm and I am interested in starting to grow some type of alternative product, I thought possibly ginseng. Any advice or suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Any suggestions for a another product would be great also.

P.S. I live in Manitoba, one hour northeast of Winnipeg, the soil is good black earth.

Your question is too broad fopr me to respond in such a fashion. I have been north of Winnipeg, and your soils can support a wide host of diverse crops. The one famous for that region is, of course, a COG form of Echinacea angustifolia. I would think ginsengs would suffer crown rot and other problems associated with the British Columbia problems. [Ginseng is not hardy in Manitoba. --Ed.]

My first contact in Manitoba would be Sandra Ross 204-757-9868. While she may not be active at this moment, she and I have worked together for more than 15 years. She will know whom you might contact in the region. They have a nice newsletter, written by regional experts.

In Saskatchewan, you might contact Connie Kehler, executive director of the Saskatchewan Herb and Spice Association ( You might also look at their newsletter. A book has also been written on this subject, specific for both provinces.

The markets for most crops fell in 1998, and are only just now beginning to recover. There will be a national need for some 60,000 new small farmers in 2007, who is going to train them in production and marketing?

I have tried to address some of these questions and issues via books I have written They include "The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop," "native Plants Of Commercial Importance," and PDF downloads at

I have also written a number of papers for download, to get you started:

and am available to construct farm plans and other consulting services:

Beyond that, I would need specific information on your soils, capital equipment, and other resources in the neighborhood in order to best recommend specific crops and directions of markets. You need to do some basic research prior to asking these kinds of questions.

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