Growing For Profit

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how and what to try and start growing on my Mom’s land this Summer in order to make some kind of profit.  I’m still undecided. 

At first I was thinking of doing ornamental and bedding plants because they seem to always be in demand – along with grafts from the various fruit trees from the existing orchard.  But I don’t think the grafts would be ready for resale until next year, and the same probably goes for getting established as a bedding plants supplier… although I’m not sure about that.

I also thought of just doing produce to supply a local produce stand/farmer’s market kind of operation – but it’s already in a rural area and most people already have their own produce, so that’s probably not such a great idea either.

So I’m leaning back towards ornamental and bedding plants again, that I could sell directly, to other nurseries, or to florists.  Plus I know more about this type of gardening (ornamental) than any other type (veggie, orchard). There are some other great assets on the property – a fairly large greenhouse, a very well equiped shop (mainly woodworking), large storage building, and big chicken coop (currently empty).  Each of those four areas are quarters of a “long building” about 300′ long and ~25′ wide.  

Anyways, I’m now drawing up a list of plants that I know I can grow in Zone 5 – which is going to be quite a shock coming from Zone 7 (no rosemary, passion-flower, or peruvian daffodils).  Besides annuals (the “standbys” for the business), I’d like to cultivate a large selection of perennials.  The biggest problem I’m having in deciding what to cultivate is whether I should try to appeal to a broad range of buyers, or if I should specialize towards a niche.

And even if I specialized, I’d probably more apt to do something like tubers & bulbs, or hardy herbs, or cottage flowers, or something similar where I’d grow a group of plants that are related in some way.

The most difficult part of this endeavor is overcoming all of the nay-sayers that I’ve run into since I’ve started pondering this idea of “growing money.”   To be honest I haven’t had one truly enthusiastic response from anyone. Most are cordial and then look at me as if I’ve lost my mind, and others say they “think it might work, but don’t get me involved…” type of attitude. So of course I’m having all kinds of second and third thoughts about even exploring  this arena. But it seems like such a waste of resources that are readily (and freely) accessible (land, buildings, irrigation water, greenhouse, workshop, etc.)  To me, it seems crazy not to capitalize on this – but maybe I’m the one out of my mind (?)

What do you think?  Would you “go for it?”  And if so, what would you grow?  I hope you can take some steps towards your dream this week – Enjoy!


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