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Plant nursery setup  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I am about to start a part time very small plant nursery (garage sale style). We are in Australia so no hassle with the authorities.
I struggle a fair bit with the physical setup of the whole thing.
There are pots with plants standing all around which I have grown from seed. Must pots stand on something or can I simply put shade lovers under trees?
Galvanized steel meshes are quite expensive and I wonder wonder were I get them second hand.
I have one seedling bed in full sun which did very well, but that might be the better potting mix with far more sand. And the other one is under a tree in full shade, this one did not well, maybe it is too shady or too many bugs falling down from the tree or simply because there was very little sand in the mixture - any idea?
I want to make a box for cuttings, does it need a cover? Do I need a misting system or will a hose do?
Do I need a shade house?
And finally, I cold stratified the seeds in the fridge so far, but with more seeds I would not get the milk in anymore - if I do that naturally outside - would our Aussie soft washed winter do the job? We get up to -5C (20F) up here.

 
pioneer
Posts: 2170
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Everything you need about backyard nurseries - he has a reasonable amount of free stuff online, but also sells a "system". His info is excellent.

Backyard Nursery

It isn't really a "permie" endeavour being highly intensive in terms of labour and time and depending on ruthless weed control - you can't really sell weed infested pots. That said it can be a good way of leveraging a small working area for comparatively good profits.

Typically he buys specimen plants and grows them on in his landscape, then strikes hardwood cuttings from them.

Personally I think a small cuttings business makes great sense for smallholders - if nothing else you will then have the facilities to produce your own trees, hedging plants, fruit bushes etc... which are expensive to buy to plant out large areas. For example this winter I have struck over 100 currant bushes, 50 or so ornamental roses etc... It took a few hours one afternoon.
 
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I've set up, re-set up, and refurbished ancient nurseries.... Ask Me Anything!! Under a tree I would not worry about putting them "up" on anything, I would prepare the ground with a graded gravel bed and weed fabric if you have a rampant weed problem already, if it's kind of subdued and only grows very low growing things that wouldn't grow up in to the pots I wouldn't worry about it too much.

There will be weeding!!! Try and identify which sorts of weeds are very rampant from seed, here we had a sort of spurge that was perennial, would go from seed to dropping seed in 30 days, and poisoned plants around it.


Also, try to be creative, go to garden shows with very choice plants and sell them for profit and exposure, put effort into growing the very best plants without using toxins, and look into a fertilizer injector- something like a siphonex will get you started, something like a dosatron or dosamatic will be a good long term investment. You will have to fertilize, don't kid yourself, a good analogy is a plant in a pot long-term is like a bird in a cage. Bird in wild would select whichever seed it needs and seek it out, find calcium, find grit, etc; bird in a cage needs everything it could possibly ever need brought to it. A good organic system is do-able, if you ever use chemical fertilizers, be VERY CAREFUL!!! Good results can be obtained with a careful hand and an injector, easy to get fake good results while killing the soil..... VERY VERY VERY HARD NOT TO POISON THE WATERWAYS WITH PHOSPHORUS!!! One could do this easily with organic as well, be careful! You might think of this and plant things to absorb the runoff down stream, cannas, cattails, colocasia I have used before. THINK OF THE RUNOFF, MAN!

A dream system would be to find the low spot on the property, where runoff will collect, tilt the land toward there and make a pond with fish and plants, and use the pond water for fertilizer, diluted. One could get away with planting plants in good organic soil, well drained with pumice, and a bit of rock phosphate, and watering with the pond water, using the sludge from a filter in a fertilizer injector for rapidly growing plants.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I forgot to explain my nursery bed "system". We had a lot of plant debris laying around and it was bone dry and bushfires were in our area. So we tidied up and used 4 old roofing sheets to create a nursery bed. We left them high and filled it underneath with all the plant debris then about ten or so centimeters wit potting mix (sand, manure and coir) and there I sowed. One of these is in the sun and did very well. But the one in shade didn't and I don't know if it was simply too shady or the mix had very little sand (expensive) in it. The advantage is that the compost underneath will always be moist.
I think I could strike a ton of cuttings but I have no setup. For some like currants I think an outdoor nursery bed would do. For others they need cover to contain moisture, is a box with an old window on the top OK?
What about misting?
The best plant markers are old aluminum blinds, but it is very difficult to find them.
I do herbs, edible and useful plants. The one or the other ornamental too.
I often buy medicinal herb seeds. Either they don't germinate or you end up with having far too many.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 1376
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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HI Michael, I actually read the link provided about softwood cuttings and it seems that a mister is a good idea. I will look it up what components I need.
What I actually did. I am not very technical, I found a misting kit what do you think? misting kit
Can this be done in a shaded outdoor bed or must softwood cuttings be covered?
 
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