New crop for previous cranberry bog

Asked September 20, 2018, 9:20 PM EDT

My husband and I purchased a home on 40 acres, containing 9 acres of cranberry bogs. The bogs had been neglected for 5 years. We have been told it would cost at least $10,000 per acre to replant them. The cranberry market is at a low point. What other crops would grow well in the sandy soil of the bogs in Bandon, Oregon?

Coos County Oregon small farms

1 Response

Hi,
It's difficult to give you a good answer without knowing what your goals are for your farm, life, etc. Theoretically, you could, with some work, put in blueberries, but you'd have to build up the soil first. The nice thing with a cranberry bed that is already in place is that it should have irrigation all set up. You could also convert your beds to pastures and have a small livestock operation. It seems to me like that would work pretty well, especially with a management-intensive grazing system. You could always explore strawberries, or a mixed vegetable operation, but however you go about it, it's going to be an investment to get started. I'd think about what YOU enjoy, what you'd like to get into, and what your financial and life goals are. Do you want a hobby farm? Do you want to supply food for your household? Are you wanting to have supplemental income? Is this a retirement farm?

Our Small Farms Team has a great website with a lot of excellent resources you may enjoy, one of which is a publication that helps you explore those exact questions: http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/beginning-farmers/whatcanidosmallfarm

Whatever you decide, if you're hoping for financial returns, I'd investigate markets, transportation, any cleaning/handling/processing of the product, etc.

Here are a few ideas to explore (please note these are just ideas; I haven't taken time to dig into any of them)
-lingonberries
-blueberries
-pasture
-nursery stock - container plants, like arborvitae, etc.
-heathers (or other species) for nurseries or cut flower products
-native plant nursery
-greenhouse products - this would be spendy to get going as well. You'd have to look at return on investment for sure.

I hope that gives you a few things to think about. Explore the Small Farms page and the resources there to help you think through what your goals are. As for climate, etc., Bandon doesn't get a lot of heat units in the growing season, so if you do decide to go the crop route, you'll need to select something that is adapted for the coast. (See https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em9177 for more information on coastal berry production).