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Selling transplants at market?  RSS feed

 
Laura Harris
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Thoughts on appealing transplants to sell and how to price them? Thoughts on selling themed sets of transplant together such as a "pasta garden", "ruby red salad garden",  "herb garden" or "micro green garden"? Also I have an idea to sell the transplants in soil blocks in sets of 6, grouping the 2" starts in a 5" x 7" box. Anyone sold soil block transplants or seen it before? Just curious about presentation. Eliot Coleman said he's seen it in Europe.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My favorite themed sets of transplants have been tomato 6 packs. I might put together six-packs that are 6 different varieties of yellow/orange tomatoes, or six different varieties of cherry tomatoes. A six-pack containing different varieties of basil might sell well.

I have more or less settled on the pricing model that the limiting factor in my greenhouse is floor space. So items get priced based on how much room they take up in the greenhouse and for how long.  For example, I can put 12 six-packs into a flat, and sell them for $1.50 ($18 per flat). Or I can put 25 of my favorite size pot into a flat and ask $1 per pot ($25 per flat).  These are older plants, and thus have been in the greenhouse a few weeks longer. After a plant has been in the greenhouse long enough that it needs a 3.5" pot, then I'm bumping the price up to $2 per pot, ($36 per flat), because they have been occupying the greenhouse for twice as long, and preventing me from growing other things that take less time. The floor-space model of pricing more or less corresponds with the time/materials model that I originally adopted.



 
Laura Harris
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:My favorite themed sets of transplants have been tomato 6 packs. I might put together six-packs that are 6 different varieties of yellow/orange tomatoes, or six different varieties of cherry tomatoes. A six-pack containing different varieties of basil might sell well.

I have more or less settled on the pricing model that the limiting factor in my greenhouse is floor space. So items get priced based on how much room they take up in the greenhouse and for how long.  For example, I can put 12 six-packs into a flat, and sell them for $1.50 ($18 per flat). Or I can put 25 of my favorite size pot into a flat and ask $1 per pot ($25 per flat).  These are older plants, and thus have been in the greenhouse a few weeks longer. After a plant has been in the greenhouse long enough that it needs a 3.5" pot, then I'm bumping the price up to $2 per pot, ($36 per flat), because they have been occupying the greenhouse for twice as long, and preventing me from growing other things that take less time. The floor-space model of pricing more or less corresponds with the time/materials model that I originally adopted.





Interesting. Those prices are lower than what I was thinking. Thanks for sharing!
 
Casie Becker
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Most places you can probably ask a higher price. They certainly cost more here.  That's why I almost exclusively grow from seed. I don't have deep enough pockets to hire someone for something I can so easily do myself.  I will splurge for perennials and unique cultivars sometimes.  I expect six packs to be a min of 3.00 and min .50 for a 4 inch pot during extreme sale events.  I'm just purchasing, no sales experience herre

Edit:  I'll be leaving work soon. Since I pass a couple of vendors on the way home, I'll check prices.  It is possible that growing so much from seed has limited my purchasing plants to the most expensive options. 
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The unstated premise behind the prices I ask, is that I'm a monk, living under a vow of poverty, and the primary purpose of my growing is not to make money, but to feed my people. I also live in an area where food prices are generally quite low. For example, large eggs today at the nearest grocery store are 88 cents a dozen. Tomatoes are 87 cents a pound. Cabbage is 55 cents per pound. Pork chops are $1.47 per pound.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Laura Harris wrote:Anyone sold soil block transplants or seen it before? Just curious about presentation.


My neighbor sells onion starts. He takes an 11" x 22" flat to market that has a couple thousand onion seedlings growing in it. If someone wants onions, he'll yank out about 50 plants by the roots and sell them for $1.

I often send bare-root plants home with people, so that I can recycle the pots. It's easier for people to take home bare-root plants than it is to return pots.

The presentation ends up being that we look like red-necks. But whatever, that's exactly what we are!

 
Angelika Maier
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I find it a tricky business unless you have a very good market with lots of customers. You cannot sell these transplants for a very long time and then they go into the compost. There are the very same costs involved than growing perennial plants which you can keep in pots for a long time. Or even more because lots of perennials are happy outside the greenhouse.
That said there is a bloke at the market were I go who sells seedlings, even bean(!) and pea (!) seedlings which I wouldn't do because I think it is a dishonest business. He makes good money. I think tomato capsicum, chilli and aubergine, the classic warm climate plants are best because most people don't have a greenhouse and want their tomatos early.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Two of the most requested plants at my market are cucumbers and zucchini. I think that they grow better direct seeded. I tell people that, and they say they don't care. They want an instant garden. They don't want the seeds to be lost in the weeds before they even germinate. In my climate, pea transplants get ready about ten days earlier than direct seeded, and are not subject to rotting in the ground. My market isn't open when peas need to be planted, so I don't grow pea transplants for market, but I sure grow them for myself.

 
Tracy Wandling
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I use soil blocks to start my plants, and I plan on selling them in soil blocks as well starting next year. I think that this is one of those things where I will have to train my customers. When I first start selling them I'll provide some (recycled) cardboard boxes, or some sort of container, but eventually people will (hopefully) learn to bring their own containers to take their plants home in. I found that the soil blocks hold together quite well once the plants roots have taken up the space, so if someone is just going straight home, they will be just fine on their own, if not handled too roughly. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes!

I agree that the types of transplants that are most popular are the ones that need to be started early; and also that people want an instant garden. So, providing a wide variety of plants that people can mix and match to create their instant garden is what I'll do.

What doesn't sell doesn't necessarily have to go in the compost pile. They can be planted out in any open space to provide chop-and-drop organic matter. Flower beds, a corner of the garden, along fences, anywhere where you have some empty space. That's what I did with my extra transplants last year. I just planted them. They didn't all do brilliantly, nor was their production up to par, but they were a welcome addition of organic matter to my crappy sand soil.

Cheers
Tracy
 
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