what do you use to haul tall plants to farmers market?

sandy0225(z5 Indiana)May 4, 2006

Hello everyone, last year was my first year selling plants at the local farmers' market. I sell bananas and tall staked tomato plants in 4" and gallon pots. They always turn over in the flats and I end up with a mess. And then the plants don't look good to sell.

What kind of crates, packaging do you use/recommend to haul those tall topheavy plants? I'd preferably like to use something that I could re-use, since I go there every week in the spring months.

There's probably a simple solution that I'm just not seeing, like ususal! Thanks in advance...

Sandy Burrell, Northern Tropics


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I use plastic stackable bulb crates for short stuff or small pots. Cardboard boxes (any kind with a hand hole on the sides) for some of the tall stuff. Packing is time consuming - mostly for the return trip home because I have fewer plants and more chances for breakage. I grow a lot of small to medium plants in various sizes of styrofoam cups. Plants that might sell but more often are some sort of simple herb. I use these more flexible sided cups to wedge into any dead spots to keep everyone from shifting around during transport. I also break up my stash of plastic bags and wedge them down between pots to keep everything tight. Its usually cooler in the morning so I'm more than likely wearing a few layers - for the return trip these shed layers of clothing are also wedged down between pots. I try to grow as much as I can in pots directly in the bulb crates so that I don't waste a ton of time loading up. I also sell directly from the bulb crates. When I get set up I hide all the empty pots of damaged plants somewhere out of the way but I never throw them away because I may need them to pack up at the end of the day. I even check the trash cans for cardboard scraps or boxes when packing up at the end of the day.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 2:04PM
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We have a big stack of rubbermaid tubs we use for various things at market. But they are great for tall plants, particularly if you can snap the lids on and they don't get wind beaten in the truck (but you may have a van.)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 3:20PM
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vegomatic(z5 BHSD)

If you're dealing with standard sizes, maybe make a simple set of interlocking dividers from plywood or hardboard. Similar to what you see used to keep bottles separated at the store or one of the old-fashioned pop bottle crates.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 12:44AM
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I have a slightly different problem. Right now I have 60 fruit trees heeled in and will be potting them up this week. Farmer's Market starts in two weeks. I have a topper on my pick-up and will have to lay the trees down. Any good ideas for keeping the soil in the pots during transport? It always falls out and makes a mess. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 7:57AM
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A bucket provides a larger base for a pot inside. Newspaper stuffed around pot keeps it upright.

I've never transported trees to market but would be "inclined" to bag them. You wouldn't need to use burlap but it would probably make transport and handling much tidier.

2x4 and 4x4 cleats come in handy in the pickup bed.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 9:21AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Thanks for your suggestions! I ended up using cardboard boxes and rubbermaid tubs and pretty much sold out and no breakage of plants. You guys are great....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 6:43AM
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What type of vehicle are you using. If you have a box van it is a good idea to have shelves, preferably at different spacing so taller plants can have to additional space. A bungie cord for each shelf section keeps things from moving around. Some plant growers even have shelved carts with wheels that they roll out and lineup for sales in just a few minutes.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 1:33PM
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