Nursery questions

Discussion in 'Nurseries and Growers' started by Grahamslawncare, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Grahamslawncare

    Grahamslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    Hello, I've got quiet a few questions I'd like to ask. I'm interested in starting a backyard nursery. As you can tell by my username I run a lawncare service. I would like to to start selling plants on the side to bring in some extra income. I tried to do some research online but the questions I have don't seem to have answers floating around. To start things off, I'll let you know my current/planned setup. I do have 2 grow tents that are broken down at this time. I live in a apartment complex and I wasn't happy when I found out I couldn't even porch grow because of the beach and salt drying out my plants. So I bought the 4x4 setup, and my buddy sold me his 1.5x1.5 I didn't ask questions of why or what I just jumped on snatching it up for dirt cheap.

    What I have:
    GrowLab 40
    DarkRoom Pro 120
    150w HPS Grow Light(for the Grow Lab
    600w HPS Grow Light bundle(for the Darkroom)
    Hurricane 6 inline Fan(for the darkroom)
    Duct Booster(for the grow Labs
    I also have a fan controller

    So here's my plan. I'm relocated to a place with a yard. In the yard I want to build atleast 2 4x10 Cold frames(hoop houses). I want to build a 4x4 green house. I want to also set up the Grow Labs tent with a fan that has just a little more power and run it as a vegging tent for now.

    My plan is to put atleast a 2 shelf, prefer a 3 shelf rack in the tent for propagation and early vegging. Once they've outgrown the starter pots, my plan is to transfer them into 1/2gal and 1gal pots(depends on plants) and transfer into the hoop houses. Once they're at selling size, I want to start selling them. Later on I want to bring in the darkroom and run a little bit of a bigger setup but for now I just wanna stay small, and do this as a hobby/make some extra money on the side.

    So now that you know the basic idea of my plan. I would like to ask a few questions and get advice on my current plan. Before anyone asks, I do not have the space right now to run the darkroom.

    Where do you sell the plants when they're at size?

    Can I use the 150w grow light to grow in the Grow labs tent or will I need 2 -3 T5s? My worry is that the grow light will be hitting the top shelf(metal rack) and the plants will block out the light for the 2 lower rows.

    Where is the best place to find a wholesale on seeds? I'm thinking about starting with something that I'm familiar with. Herbs and Veggies, and maybe a few annuals.

    Can you even sell plants online? I've read that people sell online at places like ebay, but don't you risk the plant dying or getting damaged?
  2. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    At such a small scale, I doubt you would make a profit. Sounds more like a hobby. Don't forget the legal stuff that's involved when selling plants.
  3. Grahamslawncare

    Grahamslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    Well, I figured I can't sell plants right away. It'll take time and research before I can legally sell the plants in the state of FL. Right now I'm just wanting to get a small scale setup going.
  4. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

  5. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    just grow stuff you can easily propagate and divide and grow it in a garden, why do you need a hoop house and greenhouse in such a tropical climate?
    how much money can you make selling tiny plants that are not even mature?
  6. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,098

    You can order seeds wholesale from Park Seed, Johnny's Seeds, Ball Seed, Burpee or a host of others. You will have a tough time ordering the small quantity you can use in such a small set up. The seeds can be kept for later use but germination will drop with time. I'm working with a 1000 sq ft house and always have seeds left over that eventually get tossed. If you have a good garden or farm center nearby they frequently sell bulk seed.
  7. Grahamslawncare

    Grahamslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    Very funny buddy.
    No, I have no intentions of growing anything "Illegal" with those tents. My plan is to use the smaller one as a prorogation setup(and for cuttings), and use the backyard of my place to grow them out. I'm looking to grow a variety of plants. Veggies, annuals, and peninuals.
  8. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    We started this way as well with that thinking in mind. Wrong - you need volume. I cant grow cheap enough compared to purchasing direct. Let the guys that specialize in that handle that delicate work. Be it plugging, with seeds, or splitting. Tough call
  9. EcoSpaces

    EcoSpaces LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I've been doing what you are talking about and growing organically and have found a niche market since none of the nursery centers sell high quality organic veggie/herb starts. It's very hard to make money at though. If you are wholesaling, you can count on maybe getting $20-30 per tray or $15 per flat of 4" pot. When you account for your time, insurance, materials, licensing (more expensive if you are doing organic), and depreciation of infrastructure, the margins are just very low to grow your business. And if you expand you will have to eventually pay mortgage/rent. Most resi neighborhoods are not zoned for what you are doing. If you are doing it as a hobby and want to sell a few plants on craigslist, you might make a little money off of it, but will it be worth your time? Can you expand your model?

    My criteria is always how much profit can I make after I pay all the overhead and as if I was paying someone a decent wage to manage it all for me ($17/hr after taxes and workmans comp, etc.). Frankly. the margins are low and risk (pest/disease/weather) is high with plants. I'm thinking of getting out of it except for the stuff I KNOW I will use in install, and only if I can grow it cheaper than what it costs to buy it wholesale (super cheap for most plants).

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