• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

Small plant nursery  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 1362
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Who is running or thinking about a small plant nursery?
I am VERY slow in developing that plan. As we do not own a truck, I would do this from home, like a garage sale several times a year, say twice in spring, before Christmas (summer here), and autumn. I have quite some interesting plants in the garden to propagate from. The emphasis would be edible, medicinal and useful but as well some ornamentals (they are mostly so easy to grow).
Some things I am thinking around:
1.) Potting mix. This is quite expensive at least $75/m3. Mixing my own, we barely have enough compost for our garden. The stuff in the supermarket is still at $3-4 a bag and not very good quality. Cocopeat is expensive here since k-mart closed. Sand is $65 or so a ton.
2.) Labeling signposting etc. as asked in the other thread.
3.) Keeping track of all the stuff in the garden. That it is correctly labeled and I have my lists inside which indicate the correct position of the plant... this is much more challenging than I thought! Sometimes plants die and reemerge after rain for example. Labels get lost. Having a list what to propagate when.
4.) Putting the information together. The more exotic or medicinal a plant is the more information is needed. The client must know how to care for that plant but as well what to do with that plant. I started to put some information on the webpage but that is a lot of work, maybe I keep it only brief and link to plant information databases.
5.) I should have some basic culinary herbs. Even if it is ridiculous to sow parsley chives and basil in a pot. I need a good and cheap enough supplier of bulk seeds as I do not safe seeds of parsley or basil they are very small. There is as well a question of ethics. Normally I throw some coriander seeds from the spice rack in the garden... I mean I would not sell carrot seedling or zucchini as they are doing these days, but basil and parsley?? Or maybe even mizuna, rocket or upland cress? It is even not so easy than planting some rows of basil in your garden. How do I determine the number of tiny seeds? How long it will take until they reach marketable size?

All in all not an easy business...
 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not in the nursery business, but I thought it was interesting when I went to the local nursery to perhaps sell them a large amount of some really fine compost I had made. They wouldn't buy it, not because it isn't a great growing medium, but because it isn't sterilized, and they have certain laws to operate under in that regard.~~~so you might investigate that now, as the dirt becomes a necessary part of your commercial sales & expense venture. Now I realize (I guess this is true) why all those little potted plants at the store are always in some type of synthetic looking substance with granular fertilizer with in it. The last thing you want to happen is the total collapse of a new business, due to word of mouth, that some diseased plants or soil mix was the cause of problems with your customers. Rather the word of mouth that you want out there is: strong, healthy, viable plants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_steam_sterilization

I think also you will want to probably set aside some extra plant bedding areas, for the 'unexpected' plants of various types and sizes that need a place to immediately go into. Sometimes when I'm out and about town I'll find some unusual plants, I obtain permission from the owners for the plant seed or root stock, but when I get home with it, sometimes it is hard to find a place to put it... that will promote the thing to thrive after transplant... for example. When my regular vegetable garden is fully underway, the last thing I want to do is disturb it with my latest cache of new plants...but the vegetable garden is where I keep all my best dirt. Sometimes it works out tho, I had snow peas growing upon some spicebush transplants this year, the trouble comes when you feel like moving the spicebush for whatever reason, and then the snow peas suffer for it.

The thread that spoke about using venetian blinds as plastic plant marker strips is very helpful, I thought. http://www.permies.com/t/24126/gardening-beginners/Cheap-cost-plant-markers#198425

I don't think it would be a bad thing to carry common plants like basil, it might help potential customers feel more comfortable while browsing thru your items to sell, something that is easily recognizable and useful to them. I guess the main thing in 'garage sale' type sales, the main thing is sell them something! You never know maybe their attempt at growing basil was not so great, but 'hey, wow' you got some growing wayyyyyyy better than mine, I might just buy yours and replace the basil I had tried to get going. For me, I buy seedlings because the nursery has payed much closer to seasonal times & variety, and already has already grown the plant to thriving, and I am willing to pay for the 'instant plant' rather than waiting another month to get my seed grown to size of the nursery seedlings. The nursery sells me convenience.

james beam
 
Posts: 1983
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
72
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been toying with this idea for some time. I don't want to invite the public to my home, but other options are a table at a farmers market or selling from a local store.

Basil is not hard to grow from seed. They are tiny but not hard to save.

As for potting mix, there might be some place local that has something you can use.
I have a good supply of leaf mold from the local land trust but it has weed seeds in it. I wonder how one goes about sterilizing potting mix. I know people do it in the oven for potted plants in the home but that doesn't work for large scale.

I am thinking that my labels will be beautiful and have lots of info. A friend will do artwork. Value added herbal knowledge.

I'm interested in how your plans go. I'm not ready yet either but in a few years I will be.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1362
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I won't sterilize potting mix. There are no laws here about that, not that I know of.
I have to try to save basil seeds. Seeds are a big cost factor in annuals. And there is another difficult thing: if you sell common kitchen herbs from seed, like parsley, basil etc and maybe other seedlings like tomato, chilli, all must be ready at the same time. They don't last very long in pots either. I am not very good at writing things up, so I don't really know how long all these common annual kitchen herbs take from sowing to a sellable size.
It is far easier take some rosemary cuttings and if that is too big you pot it up.
With these annuals I must think of an intelligent way to pot them. I won't be able to get sufficient pots at council cleanups. Making pots out of newspaper is ideal but very time consuming, and reusing old containers is time consuming too. I plan to use the "real" pots for the more expensive stuff.
And the potting mix must be cheap and good. A cubic meter costs here about $75 or so. I don't know if I would be cheaper mixing myself.
I won't go much to markets because we only have a usual sized car without a towbar. And I think it is easier to have a nice set uo in our yard, but we will to have fence some off, I don't want people to trample everything or kids running into beds. I plan to whack some starposts in with a rope and some signs to fence the area off.
 
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good stuff here on this forum! We have a nursery and it definitely took a lot of research and hard work to get it started up. Heres a link to our site which has some information, blogs, etc. that might be able to help you with questions you may have. Earthscape Nursery. Hopefully this can help and good luck with starting your nursery!!!
 
Posts: 134
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Angelika Maier wrote:Who is running or thinking about a small plant nursery?
I am VERY slow in developing that plan. As we do not own a truck, I would do this from home, like a garage sale several times a year, say twice in spring, before Christmas (summer here), and autumn. I have quite some interesting plants in the garden to propagate from. The emphasis would be edible, medicinal and useful but as well some ornamentals (they are mostly so easy to grow).
Some things I am thinking around:
1.) Potting mix. This is quite expensive at least $75/m3. Mixing my own, we barely have enough compost for our garden. The stuff in the supermarket is still at $3-4 a bag and not very good quality. Cocopeat is expensive here since k-mart closed. Sand is $65 or so a ton.
2.) Labeling signposting etc. as asked in the other thread.
3.) Keeping track of all the stuff in the garden. That it is correctly labeled and I have my lists inside which indicate the correct position of the plant... this is much more challenging than I thought! Sometimes plants die and reemerge after rain for example. Labels get lost. Having a list what to propagate when.
4.) Putting the information together. The more exotic or medicinal a plant is the more information is needed. The client must know how to care for that plant but as well what to do with that plant. I started to put some information on the webpage but that is a lot of work, maybe I keep it only brief and link to plant information databases.
5.) I should have some basic culinary herbs. Even if it is ridiculous to sow parsley chives and basil in a pot. I need a good and cheap enough supplier of bulk seeds as I do not safe seeds of parsley or basil they are very small. There is as well a question of ethics. Normally I throw some coriander seeds from the spice rack in the garden... I mean I would not sell carrot seedling or zucchini as they are doing these days, but basil and parsley?? Or maybe even mizuna, rocket or upland cress? It is even not so easy than planting some rows of basil in your garden. How do I determine the number of tiny seeds? How long it will take until they reach marketable size?

All in all not an easy business...



This is *really* hard to make work on a suburban lot. Your neighbors may object to the look and the traffic. City ordinances.

1. Potting mix. Make your own. Get a truckload of sand. Scrounge barrels. shovel the sand into barrels -- takes up less room. Buy your peatmoss in the fall on sale. Ditto vermiculite. When you are ready, a cement mixer works really well for mixing. Buy controlled release fertilizer from a horticultural supply store in 20 kg bags.

2. Labeling In Canada the one company for this is Frenche Thermal transfer printers for plant tags. For signs weatherproof labels (onlinelabels.com) on coreplast.

3. Labeling in the garden. Make a point of not planting stuff that looks similar next to each other.

4. Information: Web site. QR codes on labels, as well as the link to the website. Make a good page for each plant.

5. Ignore basic herbs. You're competing with the big chains. Grow herbs, but do the odd ones that you don't see at Walmart. Winter savory. Chocolate mint.

And move to the country as soon as you can.
 
That is a really big piece of pie for such a tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency on nearly 10 acres of Eden
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-acres-Eden-renter-utilize
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!