Selling tomato plants

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by dunroven, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. dunroven

    dunroven Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hubby wants to try something new this year. He wants to find a source for 5 gallon buckets and put tomatoe plants in them and sell them to people who have like an apartment situation, but have just enough room outside to set something like this to grow. His question is, how much could you charge for these and come out okay. We have very rich soil here and raise rabbits, so we could make up our own little fertilizer rich soil for the plants. What do you think? Also, any suggestions of other little plants that people might like to grow this way.
     
  2. JJ Grandits

    JJ Grandits Well-Known Member

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    Best think of it as a hobby that might make some money instead of a business. A sourse for buckets could be restuarants or contractors. Various cooking materials come in 5 gal. buckets as do joint compound. What you charge would depend on the market available and your costs. In a rural area not many people would be interested. In the city or the suburbs you may have interest, but how would you make your offering and complete the sale? What about delivery and tranport? Variety of tomato offered?
    Don't want to sound like a wet blanket, but this is how we make part of our living. Some great ideas never work. Some lousy ones will. Go figure.
    Other plants to think about are kitchen herbs. We've sold a lot of basil and chives that way. You might want to think about a pot instead of a bucket. Buckets look cheap, pots have class.
     

  3. Paranoid

    Paranoid Homebrewed Happiness

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    i'll second the basil idea, a big bushy basil plant can go for $10.

    Another thing to consider is seeds. Do you germinate them or do you clone? You can increase your operation exponentially overnight with proven stock/results if you take up cloning.
     
  4. JJ Grandits

    JJ Grandits Well-Known Member

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    Another excellent mover are perennials. Seeds are cheap. deviding your own plants is cheaper still. Ornamental grasses do great in sales and take next to nothing to get started. First and formost........FIND YOUR MARKET FIRST!!!!! You have to be able to sell it or it's not worth anything.
     
  5. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    When I sold produce and bread at the Farmer's Market....potted herbs sold well! Is there a Farmer's Market near you? You can still sell the tomato plants....nice big healthy ones...but most folks won't pay you any extra for one in a bucket as apposed to a pot. I would think that the pots would sell better too. Folks around here stick them in the ground...and most appartment folks don't have stuff like that...or a balcony to put it on either....So they are right.....find your market....Also...visit a farmer's market and see what is selling the best. If I lived in an apartment...I would have five gallon buckets all over the place with veggie plants in them....LOL....but I think I am probably NOT the normal person. It IS a good idea...just don't know if it is marketable or not?
     
  6. randy in central missouri

    randy in central missouri Well-Known Member

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    i think its a great idea. i've been saving up buckets this year and have about 20 so far. i can get them at work. i've seen them at farmers market and they sell really well for $5. If your really going to make it work plant them early and keep transplanting them in deeper pots, so you get really good roots.

    on another note. buckets are hard to come by. its alot of work if you have to find the buckets. but tomatoes are easy to grow. i would suggest going to the nearest school or restaurant and getting the big cans that veggies come in. big tomatoes for $1 each, probably sell more that way than in the buckets. or do the cans and when the bucket sell, than transplant into the buckets.

    i think strawberries in a bucket would sell good also.

    randy
     
  7. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A few years back when I lived in a more densely populated area I bought the biggest pots I could find at the dollar store. They were wider across the top than a 5 gallon bucket. To save on soil I'd put some styrofoam on the bottom and up about 1/3 of the way (dirt can be a considerable expense). Then I would plant a neat tidy small tomato like Totom, a small pepper plant, some parsley and maybe some green onions, chives garlic (for the tops) or something and sell them to apartment/city dwellers. They were good sellers. Probably go for $7.50 - 10.00 these days.I grew all the plants in small pots and then transpalnted them. Cost too much to heat an area to put the big pots in and wait for them to grow.As someone else said I found perennials to be good sellers. I'd start them in mid summer and then over winter them in a cold frame so they'd be a good size quality plant by next spring.Plants rushed too much are never the best quality and you want your customers to be happy and come back not moan about your rotten plants that died.

    PQ
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    One year I planted my tomatoes (transplants) in 5 gal buckets filled with wood chips mixed with manure. This was free bedding from the town stables. It was lighter than dirt, so much easier to move around and the wood chips held the moisture much better.

    I always start tomatoes in 16 oz plastic drinking cups that I save up thru the year. I put about 1/3 of the cup full of potting soil and plant the seed. When the seedling is bigger I start filling the cup around the stem with more potting soil. That way I avoid transplant shock and get a sturdier plant.
     
  9. Nax

    Nax Well-Known Member

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    If you have the space and the market, this could be a very high profit venture.

    Depending on our markets, we get between $7 and $12 a plant. We are finding that every year, more and more people go to this instead of planting a garden.

    We however buy sterilized dirt and a proper container--this lessens the liklihood of things going wrong for us (it isn't a hobby for us--we also have a small greenhouse where we do it).

    Last year we also started herbs and sold them in 2", 4", and 6" clay pots and did remarkably well. In fact, we sold those all summer long and never could bring enough with us.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Recycled buckets are a good idea. Make sure you drill some drainage holes in the bottom, and it would be a good idea to paint the white/translucent ones. Not only will it make them look a little better, but roots are photophobic and won't grow out to the edge if light comes through, and algae will grow on the outside of the soil ball, too.

    If you hold them up and look into them and it's light, they'll need to be painted.
     
  11. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    As a former container-gardening apartment dweller, I'd vote for selling the plants in some kind of a pot rather than a bucket. Some landlords - and neighbors - are really picky about what gets placed outside the unit.

    If real pots are too expensive or hard to come by, you might want to try the "cute" factor - plant an old boot, old watering can...things you can pick up at yard sales.

    /VM
     
  12. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    I gave my friend a metal bucket....with a rafia bow on it...filled with dirt and some herb seeds...and she LOVED it! You could sell do it yourself herb gardens...or do it yourself tomato gardens? You can get those cheapo children's tools at the dollar store..that would be cute tied to the handle? I think I will do some of those for my other friend's birthdays this year!