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Small scaled plant nursery / selling plants from home

 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 774
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I am about too start a small scaled plant nursery. I had this idea a long time ago but last month I propagated several hundred plants from my garden, put up a misting system and got really serious about this.
Who is doing the same? I have even started a discussion forum that like minded people can meet: forum.
It seems to get serious. I am naturally more interested in edible and medicinal plants, but I propagated every plant I know the name of (and that is one of the most difficult things)
 
Dave Dahlsrud
Posts: 485
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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I've started doing the same, though my nursery stock at this point is primarily for personal use. There is no way I could afford to plant anything even close to what I want to do if I had to pay for all of the plants outright. I personally consider plant propagation an integral part of any permaculture design on anything over the small urban lot scale.
 
Virginia Ratliff
Posts: 40
Location: Bartow County GA
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chicken duck rabbit
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I had some luck selling plants from home one year...azaleas and gardenias...they completely sold out with the first two customers! I also had some bulbs and some forsythia but didn't move a single one of those! Zoning will only let me "yard sale" couple times a year and grumpy neighbor would prefer nobody yard sale! I have to admit...I did GOOD...made $180.00 on two customers...monetary investment for me less than $20.00! Time investment...that gardenia was planted by me over 20 years ago...I have them all over my yard now! The wind did the greenhouse in this year...and, unfortunately, I do not see it being in the cards to be recovered this winter!

Perennial herbs...lemon balm, aloe, sage, mints, etc...I have good luck with potting those now that I am making my own container soil and using rainwater! Last year was my first in planting multiple basils and collecting their seeds...cinnamon, lemon, purple and Genovese along with the sweet! I cannot wait to see what my germination rate is this coming year!

 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 774
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I think you did pretty well. The question is why people were buying some plants but not the others? What are a few yard sales? Are there any regulations?
I think it is a good idea to simply do some cuttings while weeding and build a stock who knows when you need it.
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 640
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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A few years ago I planted around 80 plum root stock and 50 pear at nursery spacings of about a foot or so. After letting them grow for a year I grafted them over and let them grow for another two years. Finally, they were transplanted out to my orchard. The trees I got out of this process were high quality (the plums typically had trunk calipers over an inch!) and only cost me about a dollar a tree.

However, I seriously underestimated the amount of work it would take to dig out 100 something trees that had been growing for 3 years. Planting the trees when they were small was relatively quick and easy, but it routinely took 30 minutes a tree to dig them out while trying to minimize damage to the roots. If I were to scale up, one of the first things I would look for would be an easier/faster way to dig out the trees.
 
Josh Smallwood
Posts: 10
Location: Southside VA foothills of the Blue Ridge 7a
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Angelika Maier wrote:I am about too start a small scaled plant nursery. I had this idea a long time ago but last month I propagated several hundred plants from my garden, put up a misting system and got really serious about this.
Who is doing the same? I have even started a discussion forum that like minded people can meet: forum.
It seems to get serious. I am naturally more interested in edible and medicinal plants, but I propagated every plant I know the name of (and that is one of the most difficult things)


This is definitely something that we will be doing on our homestead within the next year as we move to expand our home production greatly in the perennial area. I'm fortunate to have a nursery semi-close by that lets me volunteer and they're always a wealth of knowledge (and they don't mind sharing it!). We're trying to develop of nursery stock from which to collect cuttings from. Am definitely following your thread! Let us know how it goes.
 
Virginia Ratliff
Posts: 40
Location: Bartow County GA
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chicken duck rabbit
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Angelika, I live in a residential zoned neighborhood, no commercial customer traffic allowed...if I remember correctly, you are allowed to yard sale with permit once every three months, I am under county jurisdiction not located in any city. Being in central GA, I figured the forsythia would sell well, it is one of our first colors in spring...did not sell a single one! I had several colors of day lilies, did not sell any of those either. Why the gardenia and azalea sold out with first two customers I am still kind of puzzled over...I chipped and composted at least 20 forsythia "left over" 2 gal. pots. I could not give that stuff away! I still have pots and pots full of bulbs...I do a lot of container stuff...55 gal. barrels cut down, I have 10 of those going at once...I lost a lot this year because the greenhouse bit the big one with wind damage and it is now sitting empty. I am in total agreement with the stock building as you weed...that is pretty much how I got started...when I would trim it would kill me to see all that lost through the composter! And, then I learned how to use rooting hormone and it has pretty much been on since! I was hooked! It is kind of bad now, though...I have to admit...I almost covered my front yard in ornamentals...digging all that back up and moving it has been a huge energy investment now that I have started shifting to permaculture and food production! And, we are trying to move...I had to literally break a couple of "habits" to slow down production enough so we can move! Once settled down...I will have more of a "direction".
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1196
Location: Denver, CO
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A bunch of us in the Denver metro area are starting a cooperative nursery, the High Plains Plant Propagation Cooperative. We hope to be ready for the spring.
 
Dave Hunt
Posts: 69
Location: NJ
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Good luck with it. It's always exciting starting a new venture.
I have been doing a lot of propagating for the last year or so. So far it's mostly been to expand my homestead plantings and to do some bartering with.
Ultimately I will probably try to start selling/trading once I get my property a bit more established.
Most of the plants I try to propagate are edibles and medicinals although I recently did some boxwoods and forsythia.
Do you guys do a mix of ornamentals, edibles, and medicinals?
What have you found to be really good sellers?
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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We haven't sold anything yet; just trying to get infrastructure and mother plants established. We hope to mostly sell permaculture landscaping plants. We will offer guild design services as well, and stock the plants for the locally adapted guilds our designers come up with. And we hope to offer installation services too. So, some year in the future, a customer could come by, stroll through a garden of demonstration guilds, read up on our explanations of how each guild works and what it is best for, select one to buy, and get a crew in to install it.

We hope to fill a big gap in the Permaculture world; there are very few locally adapted guilds for a given area. In twenty years or so, we will be a great resource of information on what works and what doesn’t in this area, which plants work together best, what effect different mixes have, etc.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1268
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Are you getting a nursery license first? I'd check out the legality of what you are doing before doing it.
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1196
Location: Denver, CO
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Since I am just a member I didn't have to deal with the legal side of things, but I believe the coordinator did. If I remember right, we don't need a license so long as we are below a certain sales volume, but I may be wrong. Also, it is connected with an existing registered non-profit, so that may have affected things.
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 774
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I actually did two markets so far. the first gave me a return of 100 the second nothing which I knew beforehand because it was raining and I only attended because I promised to do so.
For those interested in the topic I have setup a discussion forum, which is kind of slow until now but I hope it gets off: webpage.
For me the most difficult thing is the potting mix so far and getting more varied as well I want unusual edibles and medicinals.
Something to consider: the size of your car and how many plants you can transport.
 
Isak Shaanika
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is this thread still going?

most people in my area dont really go for flowers and such but they love fruit trees so i plante about 150 Mango trees and 50 Moringas and a bunch of others. hoping to get $3.00 per small tree which should net me 450.00 less 20.00 for compost and polybags thats 430.00. pretty good id say
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 640
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Angelika Maier wrote:For me the most difficult thing is the potting mix so far and getting more varied as well I want unusual edibles and medicinals.
Something to consider: the size of your car and how many plants you can transport.

Good point there about the car. My truck died back in early 2014 and I replaced it with one of the smallest (and most fuel efficient) cars on the road. Moving trees from my house to the orchard was, um, challenging. I looked into possibly getting another $500 beater truck, but it seems the most efficient thing to do is get a trailer and a hitch mount for my car. While the initial outlay for the hitch/trailer would be a bit more than a junky truck, the big savings occurs by not having to insure the truck (just liability, of course) and the plates for the trailer costing far less than for an old truck.
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 774
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Even a trailer is not cheap, unless you have the towbar yet. My market is only two km from our home so I drive twice. I get about 100 plants in the car (styrofoam boxes).
There is a decision to be made if you try to sell in a garage sale fashion, some do this here, but you might need an insurance.
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 774
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Isak, fruit sells well! Rare fruit even better. If you have some novel health boosting stuff all that better. While I charge $4.50 for a herb plant my Jostaberry sells for $10 is easy to grow but needs much more potting soil.
 
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