The scenario planned was to maybe hold a seedling garage sale day once per month. I've done events like this before but without much success. This time -- in COVID times -- I thought the service was more likely to be community functional.
In effect, I planted more seeds than my own needs with the aim of distributing the surplus.
Given them chilly mornings it has been hard yakka outdoors to get seeds sprouting and growing. While I made my own seedling mix, it amazed me what my outlay was in expenses and time.
Given the price of vegetables in the supermarket I am impressed on how little must be getting back to the grower. Warren and family, who run the seedling stall at the Caboolture Mkts, offers veg seedling and herbs at obscenely cheap prices.
But when I do it there is no way I can match them given my limited scale of production.
Cost of seed + Cost of Soil Mix + Attending to plants & Watering.
We know Bunnings' seedlings are expensive-- and I can certainly do cheaper than that outlet. But you have to respect your local market farmers for their ability to grow and supply cheap quality food.
They must juggle:
Cost of seed, Cost of irrigation, Cost of nutrient inputs, Cost of Labour for maintenance and harvesting, Cost of transit and marketing if they don't have a contract...
As you know, growing plants from seed will require almost the same investment of labour for 5 as it would for 25 seeds you plant.
So I figured: why not share the potential largess?
My hack is to distribute the plants bare rooted. That way, my outlay for pots and cell trays becomes an ongoing resource that I don't have to replenish. Plastic pots for seedlings aren't expensive but you want to be able to recycle your own.
Even then I would not give up your day job to become a seedling raiser and seller...
A mate here used to do a good business growing and selling herbs. Perennials in the main. Supposedly you can get more for them as folk expect to pay more. But no way does it make economic sense to buy a cabbage seedling for $1 when you can purchase the completed vegetable for $3.
Just saying. A tomato seedling, yes -- but not a single root or stem veg.
For your $1 you really need more than one seedling.
So come Saturday morning I'm running a stall in my front yard as an experiment. I used to grow veges to sell at our once-per-month market (no longer going), but really it is far more convenient to convert your own front yard to retail.
That is, if you can get the word out. Nowadays though, most suburbs have a local online gardening network of sorts.
Given the recent COVID run on seeds I suspect that front door selling of seedlings may be a great way to serve your local community and network.
I reckon that in urban areas, seed raising -- rather than food raising -- may be a great way to sponsor a CSA neighbourhood system: people tell you what seedlings they want and you grow them from your stock of seeds for an agreed upon price.
'CSA' means Community Supported Agriculture.
To commit to harvested vegetables means you commit to and deliver despite many variables such as storm, bugs and other weatherings.
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