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Two Ways to Make Money from Your Greenhouse

Apr 25, 2008
Perhaps you are not particularly interested in making money from selling potted plants, bulbs, or seeds. Still, you want a self-supporting or profit-making greenhouse. A number of hybridizers use their greenhouses to hasten the growth of many plants, including iris, hemerocallis, and roses. Others devote their houses to the breeding of dahlias. Others find a greenhouse ideal for promoting the growth of herbs or grow plants to be planted later into dish gardens.

If you don't sell all of the annuals started in your greenhouse, why not set them out in the garden and grow them for cut flowers? Leftover tomato plants can also be handled profitably. A roadside proprietor near us sets his in neat rows out in the garden. When the tomatoes ripen he puts up this sign:

Tomatoes-Vine Ripened
YOU PICK 'EM -- 50 cents per bushel

With no more work than the original planting, and some weeding and watering, this grower realizes hundreds of dollars every season from materials which otherwise he might discard.

Here are two ideas for you to turn a profit from your greenhouse.

Herbs and other specialty plants also have a good profit potential. Herbs are excellent profit-makers for the roadside stand or to sell directly from your greenhouse from flats or pots, from the hotbed, as packets of seed, or dried in bunches.

Among the many varieties you can sell are anise, sage, thyme, caraway, chives, dill, lavender, mint, and tarragon.

Sow in flats of light soil. Give good light, a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees, and within a few weeks seedlings will be ready to be transplanted into individual 2-inch pots, from which you may be able to sell them directly. If not, shift into 4-inch pots as growth dictates.

Herbs can also be transplanted to the garden, grown to sizable stock, clipped, and dried for selling. It is a good idea to slip a tag on each bunch, giving its name and some of its uses.

DISH GARDENS

If you plan a retail business - no matter how small - you will want to feature some dish gardens. Perhaps you have a friend who designs interesting and colorful ceramic bowls. If so, why not team up with her? She'll earn money from the sale of the bowl, and you will earn some from the sale of the plants, as well as from planning and planting the tiny garden.

Landscape schemes for dish gardens are plentiful. Use material of a size to suit the container. Also, be sure to use compatible plants, that is, those which thrive under the same general conditions. Remember - most of these little gardens will go into homes where they will lack the special care you have given them.

Saxifraga, the strawberry begonia, baby tears (Helxine), small-leaved ivy, or plectranthus, are all nice to trail over the edge of a dish. Succulents, wax begonia, pilea, echeveria, kalanchoe, peperomia, and bromeliads are some of the accent materials I have used in dish gardens.

Since the dish is without drainage outlet, place pebbles and charcoal in the bottom, then add the right type of soil for the plants you are using. If you carry a line of figurines in your shop, you may be able to sell more of them by including them in the dish garden.

Seeds of royal poinciana germinate in a few days and within a matter of 2 to 3 weeks make enchanting trees for dish gardens.

The price you charge for your dish garden will, of course, depend on the type of materials and accessories you use. A friend of mine made several hundred dollars from the sale of succulents planted in gilded, individual aluminum-foil pie pans. Each planting had a "clinker" from the furnace to add interest at the base.
This was touched lightly with green, red, and bronze paint. Three tiny sedums of varied height made up the living material. This man sold these dish gardens at the wholesale price of 39 cents each; they retailed for more than twice that amount.
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