Garden Update for 2017

If you're reading this now you may be wondering why it's been so long since my last post. Well, today I thought I'd use this post to give you an update on why my posting has diminished over the last year and where I see it going over the long term. For many years gardening has been my obsession, my goal, and my dream to do professionally in some manner. The way I always envisioned my garden "job" (quotes because gardening just doesn't seem like work to me!) is to be a nursery owner. I began Blue Shed Gardens with the idea that I would grow it from a small backyard/farmers market nursery with vegetable and herb plants to one day expand into my dream nursery on a large piece of land. I wanted to take that piece of land and create a nursery that wasn't just a storefront and…

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Growing for a Farmers Market

For 3 years now (it's hard to believe it's been that long!) I've been selling plants at a local farmers market while also helping to manage the market's logistical operations and online presence (Social Media and Webpage). Over that time I've observed quite a few different merchants with a variety of products at a farmers market and what kind of vendors are successful. Many of these products are homegrown items that anyone can grow with a little bit of garden space. Keep in mind though that the best of products will not sell without a little effort! Of all the types of products I've seen the most popular are the vegetables. People want fresh food from the local area that they usually can't find in stores. Tomatoes and corn are the kings of the fresh produce but there is a market for all things garden grown. There are some very…

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Starting a Nursery Business: Consider The Workload

One of the many things to consider when starting your own nursery business is the workload.  You probably really enjoy gardening (or else you wouldn't even consider a nursery business!) but do you realize how much work goes into producing a plant for sale?  We aren't just talking about one plant either.  We're talking about lots of plants to make a decent income. What kind of work is involved in starting a nursery business? The obvious first job to talk about is propagating the plants.  Growing from seed, cuttings, and divisions are three easy ways for people to make more plants but consider how many plants you will need to produce.  After you think of your expenses per plant and calculate your profit per plant think about how many plants you need to produce to hit your goals.  Suppose you can make $4 per potted plant after expenses.  A goal…

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Starting a Nursery Business: Other Expenses That Add Up

It all adds up!  Everything you do has some sort of financial cost to it that can contribute to your business expenses when beginning your nursery business.  Often we don't think much about them.  I know I'm guilty of not considering certain items as part of the expenses.  There are lots of things that sound so minor that you might think they aren't worth taking into account, but every expense adds up.  Here are some other business expenses you should account for in some manner when starting your nursery business. Water All of your plants will need watering.  You may be lucky and get adequate rain but I can't see ever having the rain at just the right times every time!  You can gather your rain in rain barrels, cisterns, or retention ponds but all of those methods do take money to construct or purchase. If you use water from…

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Starting a Nursery Business: Cost Analysis

Today's post is going to be a bit geeky.  I hope you can get past that because I think one of the most important parts of running a successful nursery business (or any business) is good financial management.  No matter how much you enjoy gardening you don't want your business to lose money.  Planning on the front end for the expected costs will help to give you some idea about your potential profit before you even start. What Are the Costs With Running a Nursery Business? Land Greenhouses Soil Pots and Containers Plant Materials (Seeds, Cuttings) Land It doesn't take much land to get started. We all dream of owning acres upon acres of land for our nursery businesses but you have to start somewhere.  I have a 1.3 acre property in a residential area and I know of another person nearby who has about a quarter of an acre…

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Beginning a Nursery Business: Finding a Plant Supply

Two weeks ago I posted about propagating plants for a nursery business but there are other ways to acquire plant materials for sale in your nursery.  I personally enjoy the propagation process because it allows me to tell my customers exactly how they were grown, what products I have used to enhance growth, how to care for the plant, and I believe it improves my knowledge as a plant grower but it does have a few disadvantages.  Let's look at a few alternatives to propagating plants on your own. Liners and Plugs There are numerous sources for places to find liners and plugs.  A liner is simply an unfinished plant that is sold in bulk to a nursery who will upsize the plant into a larger pot.  Liners are grown in large amounts and generally are sold fairly cheaply per plant but come in bulk quantities.  A plug is pretty…

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Beginning a Nursery Business: Producing Your Plants

If you plan to sell plants you have to have plants to sell right?  So how does one go about getting a supply of plants for a nursery business?  As plant retailers we really have only two options: produce the plants on our own or buy them from someone else and resell the plants.  Both options have some very good advantages which is why many nurseries do a combination of producing their own and buying wholesale plants.  Today we'll just talk about propagating the plants for yourself.  Please keep in mind that these are my observations and that my garden business is only a year old - I'm still learning! Producing Plants for a Nursery If you're a gardener you have no doubt tried your hand at propagating plants by some method or another.  Seeds, division, cuttings, layering, and tissue culture are all very valid ways to produce plants for…

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Beginning a Nursery Business: Where to Sell Your Plants?

Before you really get into producing plants for sale it is very important to come up with a way to get the plants to the customers.  I don't have a place where costumers could just come by and browse the plants since I do all my production from my own garden.  One day perhaps, but I needed to come up with some other options. So where can you market your plants? Here are a few options: Farmer's Markets Plant Sales Local Businesses Mailorder Wholesale Delivery Farmer's Markets I sell some of my plants at a local farmer's market.  Its a good way to get to know the customers face to face and find out what they enjoy growing.  You can get some great feedback and build a relationship with the customers this way.  When you have that personal connection customers will continue to visit you for repeat business.  The ideal…

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Beginning a Nursery Business (Intro)

Last year I embarked on a quest to start my own nursery business.  One of my dreams for a long time has been to own my own nursery and I began putting plans together around a couple business ideas that I could do from home.  I researched all over the internet to find resources and advice but really had trouble finding much that gave me any good insights.  There is one book that I'll tell you about at the end of this post that was very useful but it wasn't a how to do it all type book.  It's more of a "this is what you're in for" type of book!  It is a must read for anyone even considering starting a nursery and I'll tell you more about it later. The internet didn't have much to offer on actually starting the nursery business.  I found article after article describing…

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