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grow your own or use plugs?

Posted by midmogrower MO (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 26, 08 at 21:32

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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RE: grow your own or use plugs?

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?


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RE: grow your own or use plugs?

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.


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RE: grow your own or use plugs?

  • Posted by jspece Josh - z4 IA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 27, 08 at 20:43

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

It takes a bit of skill...and precise timing...to 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 least...you 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 required...to 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.


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