Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Growing Profits: How to Start and Operate a Backyard Nursery

About a year ago, I started thinking about how I could make some extra money gardening. Why not get paid to do what I love? So when I stumbled across Michael and Linda Harlan's book, Growing Profits, I decided to give it a read. I'm very glad I did!

In about 200 pages, the authors cover how to get started, including resources needed, determining what to grow, where to get supplies, and the basic tasks required to nurture plants for sale. Then they go through the various stages of plant growing, from initial propagation through growing on to larger and larger sizes. The last two chapters cover producing a quality plant and marketing your products.

The book is full of practical tips that aren't obvious to the average gardener, e.g. buying and reselling wholesale stock and the relationship between growing time and price. I especially liked their creative suggestions, like how to find used nursery cans and how to profit through buying and reselling loss leaders and end-of-season clearance items at retail outlets. But the chapter on marketing was, for me, the most valuable part of the book. The authors cover a wide range of possibilities, from selling stock to retail nurseries, other wholesalers, and landscapers through selling from your home, farmer's markets, and flea markets. They include information on how to approach nurseries, wholesalers, and landscapers to convince them to try your plants. An appendix lists contact information for state associations of nurserymen.

If you've ever thought of earning money through gardening, this book is for you. Now I just have to find a place to store all the plants I want to grow and sell!

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