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Ideas for selling fruit trees and perrenials  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I'd like to do some kind of side business related to permaculture.  I currently have a small business but I'd like to round it out.  

I always feel like I'm being naughty if I work in the garden/forest on a weekday.

If I could get some return or even a break even point the process would be more relaxing.   I'm quickly coming to the realization that working in the garden, only on the weekends, isn't going to cut it if I want to actualize what I want my food forest to be.

After purchasing the stuff for a hoop house I started thinking about the awesomeness of specializing in some kind of quality plant or tree.   I haven't thought deeply about this, just kicking the idea around.     For example, start grafting a specific kind of fruit tree and maybe selling some quality perennials.

I have three acres so I think that's enough to produce some product to sell.  

I know the idea of "capitalism" in any way, is a turn off for many people but I'm looking at it as a way to do what I love and pay my way.      

What do you guys think?    
 
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I think it's a great idea.  I wouldn't worry a minute about capitalism.  If you do well, you might be able to bring in a woofer or intern to learn about permaculture.  Customers would probably be permiculture folks and you'd be a place to spread the word.  If they don't buy a tree from you, they'd be buying it from someone else.

I like the specialization aspect of doing a few things really well.  Along with that you may need to reach out farther for customers, or have good word of mouth.  Some things that seem to always be interesting to people on here are things that stretch their growing zone.  So maybe you could work on things that shouldn't grow in your area but that you've bred to handle it.

Another specialization could be to identify or make up an upcoming trend (cider apples, USA grown tea, dropsophilia resistant raspberries, etc) and delve into that area.  Maybe find out what local university agriculture departments are starting (or wanting) to work on and partner up.  Or at least get in on the ground floor with them.
 
pollinator
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Scott Foster wrote: I'm quickly coming to the realization that working in the garden, only on the weekends, isn't going to cut it if I want to actualize what I want my food forest to be.


I had the same epiphany this year aswell. I've done well in growing a majority of my summer food, but with 2 acres I've not nearly scratched the surface; mostly because of my lack of time. To justify renting machines or buying materials, even something like row cover,  I have to have a better revenue source from my growing area.

I practiced with some basic tree cuttings this year and didn't have too bad of a result, though I don't have a success rate which would make me confident in starting a venture.

Scott Foster wrote:After purchasing the stuff for a hoop house I started thinking about the awesomeness of specializing in some kind of quality plant or tree.



As long as people in your area want it, then that's a fine idea.

I went to a local greenhouse last spring and checked out what they were growing and what was selling. I could easily get several 100 cuttings of many berry varieties from pastures, but people here don't tend to like berry plants anyways. They just want something aesthetically pretty to emphasize that spring is here. So I either have to do annual herbs/flowers or grow out a pretty type of tree(dogwood/japanese maple) if I want to sell plants locally. I could start shipping live trees, but that entails a lot of other factors I'm not interested in right now.

If we are talking about a 1 man operation for starting an on the side tree nursery, you would probably only need 1/8 of an acre at most. You can fit a lot of trees into that area. 100 cuttings are maybe 4'x4'(?) and if you pot them all as first years that's only around 100sqft of area.

---

Just thought I'd point out that it's probably even easier to start out selling (specialty) seed, as shipping becomes far simpler and there are some good advantages for both you and customers. You don't really need to invest in anything except some envelopes in order to start selling seed. Then with that revenue invest it into developing infrastructure for a really good tree nursery while you develop some good varieties in your spare time.
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Jay wrote:I think it's a great idea.  I wouldn't worry a minute about capitalism.  If you do well, you might be able to bring in a woofer or intern to learn about permaculture.  Customers would probably be permiculture folks and you'd be a place to spread the word.  If they don't buy a tree from you, they'd be buying it from someone else.

I like the specialization aspect of doing a few things really well.  Along with that you may need to reach out farther for customers, or have good word of mouth.  Some things that seem to always be interesting to people on here are things that stretch their growing zone.  So maybe you could work on things that shouldn't grow in your area but that you've bred to handle it.

Another specialization could be to identify or make up an upcoming trend (cider apples, USA grown tea, dropsophilia resistant raspberries, etc) and delve into that area.  Maybe find out what local university agriculture departments are starting (or wanting) to work on and partner up.  Or at least get in on the ground floor with them.




Thanks, Mike, you have some great ideas all worth consideration.    I'm really inspired by the permies on here that are selectively breeding and coming up with new plants with different traits, seems like the only way to make sure we keep the gene pool going.  I've noticed all the issues that monocultural trees and plants have and I can't help but think it has something to do with cloning the same plant over and over and over.   During the colonial era NJ was a hotbed for hard and soft ciders (supposedly Jefferson's favorite recipe was from a Jersey cider maker.)

I know they weren't spraying chemicals on the apples so what did they do?   What changed?  This is a total tangent...Bwa ha ha...  It does go back to the possibility of trying to create new strains, like you mentioned, to come up with pest solutions.  P.S. this is on the brain because I

have Cedar Apple Rust problem.     I don't spray anything but Neems Oil and I  won't.   Taking the angle of creating a hardy or new strain seems to fit well with the permie ethos as long as it is done naturally and not by splicing spider genes into corn.  

 
Scott Foster
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Thanks, Jarret.     I think you are right on about selling specialty seed, a great way to get your feet wet.
 
pollinator
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I know many people who lived in communist countries and they prefer capitalism. THis is not the big bad capitalism this is just you selling some trees....
I would think the whole thing from behind. Start with your customers and the market. Who buys your trees? As well you have to figure out what you most like doing, that is were you are good at and this is good for business. Then how will people buy from you? Will your send out bare rooted trees? Farmers markets? Sell to retail nurseries?  And only then you start thinking the rest. Selling is the toughest part believe me.
 
Scott Foster
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Angelika Maier wrote:I know many people who lived in communist countries and they prefer capitalism. THis is not the big bad capitalism this is just you selling some trees....
I would think the whole thing from behind. Start with your customers and the market. Who buys your trees? As well you have to figure out what you most like doing, that is were you are good at and this is good for business. Then how will people buy from you? Will your send out bare rooted trees? Farmers markets? Sell to retail nurseries?  And only then you start thinking the rest. Selling is the toughest part believe me.




For sure, I wouldn't want to put the cart before the horse.
 
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