How and Why I Started My Backyard Nursery

My Backyard Nursery

I have been home from my travels in Costa Rica for a little over 3 weeks now, I don’t have what most would call “a real job” at the moment. I have pretty much just been playing with plants in my mums backyard. In my last post http://how-to-permaculture-a-journey-of-growth.net/2019/07/31/five-ways-to-propagate-plants/ I spoke about different ways to propagate plants and briefly mentioned my backyard nursery. This is a story of how this came to fruition. In my last job at TGB Outdoor designs based in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, Australia. I began learning about plants and I got the pleasure of taking care of my bosses own backyard nursery as a part of my job. I would Organise pots, water and prune the plants and trees and potted up new and potbound plants. I loved working in the nursery and it helped to start me on my path. I finished up work in Victoria in December last year, I then went on to travel in Costa Rica for 5 months and Canada for 1 month. In Costa Rica, one of the greenest countries in the world my education in the field and my passion for teaching grew exponentially. I have learned a lot about growing food organically, building soil health, propagation, designing and building eco friendly structures, plant medicines, how to care for plants and so much more through these experiences. I have had some really amazing teachers but most importantly I learned to believe in myself and my true potential.

A short history of the land.

The section of my mums backyard that now houses over 300 freshly propagated plants has had an interesting history. It started out as just another boring old patch of grass littered with lovely holes dug by our family dogs Meeka and Pheobie.

Yes… You’re innocent when I have treats for you.
Not a pretty site…

A few years ago we decided to turn this space into an outdoor entertaining area, and for a while there it looked really good! But over time all of us kids flew the coup… and then returned and then flew again, and again. The influx of residents in this house is constantly changing but I swear mum is always happy to have us home. After a while the outdoor entertaining area too fell victim to the dogs and the weeds.

When the entertaining area looked nice. and my first ever attempt at landscaping

Okay, now for the point of this post.

By the time I got home from overseas I knew I wanted to work with plants in one way or another for the rest of my life, I booked myself in for my Permaculture Design Certification at Noosa Forest Retreat which I will be starting next week and it didn’t seem worth it to find a job just yet, so I decided I would start myself a nursery to keep myself busy, continue my learning and to make a little bit of money. So far I have spent $300 and it has generated… $0 but i’m not advertising the plants yet. The amazing thing though, is that in just 3 short weeks I have turned this dilapidated piece of land into a tiny potted up jungle with over 300 plants and around 150 seeds planted, with a potential profit margin of $2500, and that is still at guaranteed lower prices than any nursery.

Day 2 of being home from Costa Rica

So how did I get that many plants for virtually nothing? Well to be completely honest with you none of the money went on the plants themselves, I spent money on pots, soil and small bottle of organic plant food. I bought the soil in bulk from a landscape supply shop, I bought the pots in bulk from a landscaper who had them up for sale on facebook of all places. The pallets i have had for years but I picked them up for free from an industrial estate. The plants I collected from family members gardens. My dad was thinning out his garden and needed help, I offered my landscaping services and my considerably younger body (no offence dad) to do the hard work in exchange for the plants that were coming out. I also visited my uncle who is also a massive plant lover and he helped me out too, and just this morning my neighbour had cut down a super healthy and beautiful ornamental tree and was going to take it to the tip but I managed to take 40 cuttings off it to turn into more trees.

Day 8 of being home from Costa Rica
Day 21

Now some of you may not be as lucky as I was for the plants to just fall into your lap, but this is a great lesson on how to obtain free plants, if you look on facebook and gumtree (or your relevant ‘buy swap and sell’ site) people are always offering free plants if you come and remove them yourself. If a backyard nursery isn’t your goal you don’t need to collect on this scale but if you love plants and want to save money, a little bit of hard work goes a really long way for very few dollars.

This morning plant score

One mans trash, is another mans treasure.

Once again thank you all for reading, I know this one was overly informational but I figured if you are going to read my posts, you may as well know a bit more about me too. If you enjoyed this one please check out my other posts by clicking one of the links below and feel free to follow along or sign up for email alerts. I hope you all have a wonderful day and happy planting 🙂

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2 thoughts on “How and Why I Started My Backyard Nursery”

  1. So, three weeks back from Costa Rica and you have 300 plants potted up, 150 seeds planted and have written several blog posts. Wow, Ben – do you ever sleep? 🙂 Seriously, this is a great post and I share your passion for plant propagation, it’s so rewarding to create something from nothing just through effort, patience and a lot of plant love. Good luck with the permaculture design course!

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