Starting a backyard nursery
I wanted to start a backyard nursery maybe a year ago, then we moved, and the subject was on ice, but now I am really give it a go.
I want to grow edible plants, herbs and other useful plants from seed and cuttings, all perennials. My aim is to get a nice collection of unusual food plants, herbs and to a lesser extend other useful plants. I want to sell them at markets, local green grocers and maybe a nursery.
Our space is very limited at the moment I have a 3 tier rack approx.6.50 meters (which is full) long and my poor husband has to build another one one tier approx 10 meters. Then I would have a space for a shade house aprox. 2.5 x 3.5. That's it. For fire ant reasons I am not allowed to put pots directly on the soil.
I aim for variety and rare plants, however at the moment the plants are not rare and include: scented perlagoniums, canna edulis, Lemon grass, New Zealand Spinach, rosemary, brami, gotu kola, thyme, and some more.
I think I will maybe be able to grow a maximum of 100 plants per week, I provided that the plants have to grow 4 month approx. This would maybe make some (moderate) extra dollars.
We don't need a greenhouse, as we're subtropical, however many plants don't grow very much in winter.
In Australia we don't need a licence at least not for such a small thing.
At the moment I have a source of free pots and I ask friends for old plastic containers (however it is a nuisance poking the holes in). The labels I cut from these plastic folder dividers I got for free.
There are two kinds of plants: those in the commercial containers which I plan partly to upgrade with good plant descriptions, plant stickers etc. that they are suitable for a present and others grown in the milk containers which are for the gardeners.
I have heaps to learn and at the moment the biggest problem is the seed raising + potting mix. I bought some ready made potting mix at a commercial landscape supplier which is the baddest I've ever seen and bakes like concrete. Other cheap mixes aren't much better. Our own compost we need to grow our vegetables. At the moment I tried the following recipe for cuttings: one cheap packet of potting mix ($2.5) one bucket full of sand (free) and one bucket full of coir ($2per brick). And for the seed raising mix pre fertilized coir ($4 which makes one bucket). I bought this stuff at the usual hardware shop, which might be the most expensive source.
Does anyone of you run such a small scaled business?
How do you source your potting mix, do you mix yourself, and do you adjust for the different plants?
Which steps do you include to obtain the best quality and strong and healthy plants?
I still have not a good idea how to produce plant stickers (not those with the names on something decorative like a sun , crafted stuff I mean) or if I aim for it at all.
In October we will have our first stall, which I share with a lady who makes smaller sized pictures of flowers and plants.