grow your own or use plugs?

midmogrowerMarch 26, 2008

Although we grow a couple acres of produce, we really know very little about starting plants. We would like to start a small greenhouse. Do you grow most of your veggies and flowers from seed or buy plugs to transplant? or both? Any advice or insight is appreciated on how to start up a small greenhouse. Where do you get plugs from? Were in Missouri. Thanks.

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I do both. There's a whole lot I start from seed (or cutting), but anything that's got a plant patent or a long finish time I get as a liner/plug. I use Harris Seeds as a broker--they deal with a number of liner stock greenhouses. Occasionally if there's something I need from someone who Harris Seeds doesn't represent I will buy direct. I guess part if it depends on what your intention is: are you going to be a wholesale grower, or more like a garden center? Some garden centers grow much of their own stock, but buy in from wholesale greenhouses - they make their profit by selling at retail prices. Then you'd have very little production to do. Who are your clients going to be, and what kind of plants do they want to buy?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 11:28PM
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I am small time and sell at a local farmers market. I will tell you that some of my customers expect me to produce all my offerings completely - meaning they assume I sowed every seed or rooted every cutting. This is not practical nor a great way to make money. I only sell plants that do well in my garden so it may appear that I am completely responsible for the material I am selling. I just change the subject if it comes up.

I will add that in my zone 7b garden it can take multiple seasons to grow a perennial from seed big enough to be worth serious money. A hard lesson to learn. If you have good light and a greenhouse you should be able to grow things faster then it takes me (simple hoop house and part sun location).

I sell just as many old timey favorites as I sell the newest varieties. Claiming a plant is tried and true for this area (this is the one your grandma grew!) will outsell all the hype around the latest celebrity plants. But it helps to be diverse.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 12:55PM
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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

Mostly plugs, but we do some seeds...mainly veggie transplants.

It takes a bit of skill...and precise grow from seed and have the plants ready when you need them. If that's not a strong point, I would stick with plugs. They are a bit more forgiving. Seed is a bit more labor intensive, too. It's a two step process, at plant the seeds in seed trays and then transplant the seedlings once they are large enough. With plugs, you transplant once and that's it...usually.

I think farmer's market shoppers may have different expectations than a typical nursery shopper. For the most part, farmer's market goods are expected...even be DIY type goods. That doesn't easily translate to plants, but most people don't get that. I'd guess most garden centers/retail nurseries produce very little of their stock completely from scratch.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 8:43PM
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I live in z 6 ky and want to have a mobile garden shop in our small town ive been doing cut flowers for two years now im goin to try plants any advice by mobile i mean a structure that is not in a fixed position, on mainstreet on local ma, pop business property starting with weekends maybe..... selling also veg and fruit.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2014 at 9:57AM
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I live near the KY line in Tn - White House about 15 miles south of Franklin, KY. I have owned a small nursery here for nearly 4 years. I grow and sell Herbs, perennials, hosta, hanging baskets, flowering shrubs, a few annuals and anything strange and new that I think my customers would like. I started out small and am slowly adding to my stock as I go. I buy lots of plants each spring from a wholesale greenhouse in McMinniville TN, I grow some things from seed and I propagate a ton of cuttings under mist all summer in a greenhouse. I don't expect to ever get rich but it is a good supliment to our retirement and it pays for my plant habit!

1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 7:17PM
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