Selling Tomato Plants?

tawnyap1(5)March 22, 2009

We have a small produce farm, and we sell everything at our own roadside stand.

We sell sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, beets, peppers, then pumpkins and fall decorations.

I am trying to figure out ways to extend our season, and was wondering if any of you sell plants at the beginning of the planting season. I am talking about tomato plants in 4" pots. Of course, I'm not sure how to price them either.

My thinking is that we have built up quite a customer base in the last couple of years, and maybe they would by plants from us instead of the many big box stores around? I have both heirloom and hybrids. I guess if I don't sell them, I can just plop them in the ground with the others.

Any thoughts?


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where are you, I'm outside of Lafayette

If I was you I'd go for it. Only plant what you would want to put in the garden, just extras.

I pot all of my tomatoes with the stem/roots all the way to the bottom of the pot. I sell my 4" pots between $1-3 each and I sell gallon pots, potted the same way, between $3-6. Prices depend upon the market, and who else has plants to sell.

I have a regular customers that have been buying tomato plants from me for several years now. Some of them actually contacts me the fall before, to be sure they can get plants from me. They have tried other vendors without the luck they get from me.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:46PM
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veggierosalie(CAN 3)

I sell them, and they are popular. There is more and more talk about reviving the 'victory garden'; backyard gardens to supplement the family's food budget. So I think tomatoes will be in demand this year.

I sell 1 gallon "patio" tomatoes for $8.00, tumbling tomato hanging baskets for $19.00 and 4" pots for about $3.00

potted peppers are also popular, and container gardens with tomato, peppers, herbs and cucumber

Give it a try, and good luck!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Herb plants such as basil, tarragon, rosemary, parsley are also very popular and easy to grow. I sold the annuals in 4" pots for $3 and the perennials for $5

Strawberries in hanging baskets are also great sellers and you can get $20 for a hanging basket with 3 day neutral/everbearing plants

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 6:00AM
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I am on the southside of Indy.

Thanks for the replies. I was sort of thinking the same thing, and the prices you list are in the ballpark, too.

I figure I might as well try it out and see how it goes. I have started a bunch on hybrids because it seems like most people around here still want them.

I might also give it a try with the herbs. I try to expand with something new every year, so we will see how it goes!

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:38PM
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Definitely get BASIL planted. Sell as plants, 1 per pot, several per larger pot, and cut as fresh basil. Plus if you plant tomatoes, but your basil plants near the tomatoes.

Do you have a "freebie" paper in your neighborhood, if so, check out how much a small ad would cost. Ours run about $25/week for business card size.

Also, in Indiana, you will need a nurseryman's license if you sell anything "woody" and this would include cuttings from lilacs or any shrub. It's not hard to get, just more paperwork. Also, if you sell plants, you need a retail merchant certificate and collect sales tax. The certificate you get from Indiana Revenue and mine cost me $25, 10 yrs ago. Only have to buy 1 per name you use for lifetime.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 7:47AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

veggierosalie- How big are you hanging baskets of tumbling tomatoes? I am growing them this year and I haven't settled on a price yet. I was thinking $10-12. That would give me a nice profit, for my time.

I was also planning on selling tomatoes in 3 inch pots for $2 each. We live in a rural area and I can't get too high.

My urban market, I maybe able to get more for them.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 9:55AM
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Grafted tomato plants (maxifort onto heirlooms) are very hard to get right now, but people with soilborne diseases really want them (like me). If you could get into that, and get the word out, you probably wouldn't have any competition. I have just spent the last 2 hrs trying to find a mail-order supplier for them with very little luck.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 5:17PM
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veggierosalie(CAN 3)

I use a 12" hanging basket for the tomatoes - I just have the one size of basket for my flower hanging baskets, but you could probably get away with a 10" pot too...I keep my veg prices fairly low b/c most of those customers are looking to save money...but it seems that tomato baskets can be higher, my neighbour sells them for $25.99!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 8:00PM
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veggierosalie - how many tumbling tomatoes do you put in a 12" basket?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 11:00AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Nicshe- I am going to be putting 2 tumbling tomatoes in a 10 inch basket. One is going to be red and the other yellow. I read somewhere that some put one, some put 2 and others put 3 or more.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Everyone thinks high profit margin on selling tomatoes by the each, like the box stores are into now. If you are a serious home gardener and want to put in four or five dozen tomatoes, having no place to buy flats of vegetable starts is making a niche market for a return to selling them by the flat. I sell out of tomato and pepper plants by the flat for that reason. Nobody wants to spend seventy five dollars to put in a few rows of tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:57AM
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Its a great idea. I remember the days when we use to live in the farm. I also sell different crops in the market. I hope you can post a pic of the tomato you are selling.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 4:41AM
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I have tried to sell flats, and it doesn't work for my market. I'm not where most people DON'T plant huge numbers of any plant. I do offer discounts on quantity buys. If I would be in a market that would want to buy more than 6 of any variety, I would offer 4-6 packs and flat discount. My customers would rather have larger plants and only 1-2 per variety.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 9:14AM
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Hello, I just joined houzz and this thread seemed to be a good one to get started with. I live in Kokomo and the info on this board is great for a newbie like me. I am starting some tomatoes and peppers indoors and was wondering how many would be a good amount for starting out. I have 3 different larger varieties, 2 determinate and 1 indeterminate, along with a couple cherry varieties. I only planted about 30 of each type in case something goes wrong and I can plant more next month. Any info you guys have as to quantity and prices would be appreciated. My house is residential/commercial with some good road traffic and exposure so my hopes are high. Thanks, Larry...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2015 at 6:09PM
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I believe that the market for Heirloom vegetables (tomatoes specifically) is really getting popular. This year I purchased seeds on line and usually had 25+ extra seeds that I didn't use, so I am considering selling some plants. I think if you try to sell the typical hybrid varieties that everyone has, there is not much money to be made. In my area, there have not been many places to purchase the heirloom varieties and the nurseries that have them wanted $4 per 3 inch pot. I noticed that Lowes had a bunch of heirloom tomatoes on sale yesterday between $4 - $6 per plant. I feel that if I would sell them for $2 per plant, they should sell well. Some recommended varieties are: Big Rainbow, Chocolate Stripe, Pink Boar, Black Krim, Paul Robeson, Indigo Rose & Black Pinapple. I plan on having a description page for each variety along with a picture. I also will plant some herb containers like mentioned in other responses.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 10:30AM
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There is a varied market for plants and finding out what customers will want may take a bit of Trial & Error. I offer over 250 varieties of tomato plants and the bulk demands are for hybrid red beefsteak types. Some people want cherries, others want sauce tomatoes. Chances are that if you are selling fruit by late May those varieties will also be the ones that will have high plant sales.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 9:14AM
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