Plant babysitting?

honeybunny442(z6 TN)August 30, 2008

We're thinking of renting space in our greenhouse to babysit plants for people who go south in the winter- does anyone else do this? Pros? Cons? (pests, I'm sure) Amount to charge?

Probably wouldn't be a lot- some hanging baskets and smallish pots.

Thanks for any ideas/suggestions!

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calliope(6)

Do you heat it all winter anyway? IOW if you don't normally heat all winter, do you have a handle on what it would cost to do so? Even when I only run one g'house in January, I'm looking at four figures.

Pest problems? You betcha. Had a friend bring over some plants, and my husband set them in the seedhouse before I could look at it. They were POLLUTED with aphids. argh.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:38PM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

I heat it all winter anyhow, I grow tropicals, citrus, and bananas. Yes, it cost a fortune to heat last year!

What is IOW?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:27PM
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calliope(6)

IOW........In other words

Well, if you're heating it anyhow, and you watch for incoming pests, then go for it!

I used to keep one g'house cranking through January and February every year. I did Easter lilies from bulb (almost a lost art for anyone but the huge wholesaler anymore). It was a real luxury for me to be able to hold over odds 'n ends and even my own houseplants, but I kept waaaaaaaaaaay too much crap I really shouldn't have. LOL. I switched from bulbs to pre-finished on the lilies, and finally to finished. So after the poinsettia season, there is no reason for me to keep the seed house running. So, last year, for the first time in nineteen years, I let all the houses go fallow after Christmas. The fuel rates have increased so dramatically I saw NO REDUCTION in my annual heating bill.

I do have a small rigid structure I can cram in the stuff I absolutely must carry over. Last year it was a few tropicals, and my boston fern liners. And also the odds n' ends stuff for season's start like Regal Geranium cuttings, they insist on sending a month earlier than I'd asked for. LOL.

I almost feel sorry for the big guys from whom I am locking in prices for next season for liners and plugs. I am assuming they are contracted out to lock in their gas prices, because if we get that huge rise again, something has got to give. I will not even release prospective pricing for next year until I see where the prices land for the growing season early next winter.

I play musical chairs each year to max out the heated bench space, and that means scheduling down to the wire. My houses are large enough, I really don't want to kick them on until I can fill them quickly, so they get kicked on in sequence, and that sometimes means waiting for a warm day to move things over from the already heated houses to the new kid on the block.

Be very careful with introducing other people's plants in your g'house, especially if you don't let your's go fallow to sanitise it and do good weeding. You can get a population of nasties going you won't be able to deal with until the next spring.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 1:07AM
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inkognito

Be aware of who is responsible if the plants die while in your care as this is a slippery slope. If you offer no guarantee are people going to trust you with their babies and if you offer a guarantee you may be left holding the baby.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 1:48PM
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ohiogdnr(5b OH)

One thing that always made me hesitate to babysit tropicals is the fact that in Southwestern Ohio we can't put them back outside until after Mother's Day. I always seem to need that space for something a little more profitable long before then. You just need to make sure you are making enough on that square footage to justify using it for babysitting instead of standard crops.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 4:31PM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

Good ideas, thanks! We were approached by a "snow bird" who wanted us to keep some hanging baskets for her. She's a very nice lady that we'd be happy to help out.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 11:13PM
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