Make money selling plants from your own backyard nursery
A backyard nursery can be a profitable home business for the new grower or would-be small farmer. I found out this spring that people seem to pay more for ornamental plants than the ones they can eat! You can take advantage of this odd fact by growing and selling plants for money.
A 'low tech' plant stand in my backyard nursery
These facts convinced me to give the business a try. Here's some pointers if you are thinking about starting your own home-based nursery business.
Getting started in the backyard nursery business
If you've read anything on my site about
starting a market garden you know that I strongly recommend a four-step process to start any business. The four-step process is Planning -> Marketing -> Management -> Production. This process is no less valid when starting a backyard nursery business.
DO NOT start without taking this step; you don't want your fledgling business shut down by the guv'mint just as you are making some money.
First lean-to greenhouse we built to start plants for sale
Selling your plants
Let's say you've figured out that you would like to start your backyard nursery business by selling 100 each of the 10 most popular bedding plants in your area. Based on our research, we grew marigolds, nasturtiums, sweet pea and a miniature sunflower that turned out to be our bet seller.
Marketing is all about finding the buyers for your plants. Where will you sell your plants? When will you sell your plants? Will you sell plants all season, or just try to hit the peak early summer period, and sell out in a few weeks? (That's what I did, by the way.)
When do you need to start your plants to have them at optimum age for display and sale? What kind of care will they need? Who will do the work?
CAUTION: do not start this process the other way around; that is, by growing a bunch of plants and then trying to figure out how to sell them. This is a sure way to failure for your small business.
Suzie selling sunflowers (not at the sea shore)
Growing your backyard nursery business
Once you have (at least) one season under your belt, you might be thinking about expanding your business. This will be a lot easier if you kept good records of sales to find out which plants were most popular. (In my case this was a beautiful little dwarf sunflower; I wish I had grown a thousand of them!)
Our 20x30 greenhouse on rails fully planted
Our latest mini-greenhouse just 8' x 12'
Your home-scale growing techniques may not be efficient at a larger scale. You may have to invest in a greenhouse, automation e.g. irrigation systems, misting boxes, thermostatically-controlled fans. Be sure this investment will pay off.
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I wrote some books...
Based on 20+ years of gardening and farming experience, I wrote some books that show you practical approaches to gardening and raising small livestock. If you want to fill your freezer and cold storage with your own healthy, nutritious food, and provide some real food security for your family, it might be worth a look here.
I just put together two special book deals: