This might seem like a stretch on a gardening site, but I hope you make the connection with me.
It might be hard to see a connection between growing and selling small plants and a Ferris Wheel so I will make that connection for you.
Anytime I am doing anything in my nursery in the way of making or acquiring more plants for my nursery I think of it as loading up the seats of the Ferris Wheel. If you watch a Ferris Wheel in action, the wheel stops, riders get on and the wheel moves again repeating the process until all of the seats are filled. From that point on, the Ferris Wheel remains full. Riders get on, riders get off, the seats remain full.
In the above photo I am loading up the seats of my Ferris Wheel. The box that I am working with contains thousands of cuttings and just keep sticking more cuttings at different times of the year. Once they are rooted they come out of the box, get potted up and eventually sold. But in the mean time I am constantly making more cuttings.
That’s why I liken rooting cuttings to loading up the Ferris Wheel. Each time you sit down to make cuttings it’s like filling up the seats of the Ferris Wheel. Except when you are growing plants your Ferris Wheel just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The more plants you make, the more seats you have on your Ferris Wheel. As you sell plants you always have a steady of supply new plants coming on. It’s perpetual.
This batch of Potentilla cuttings are stripped, dipped and ready to be stuck. More riders for my Ferris Wheel!
The ability to make an endless supply of baby plants is one of the things that still amazes me after all of these years in the nursery business. Of course there is a limit to how many of any one plant you can sell in your local area, but you really are not limited to your local area. We have Backyard Growers that sell all over the country. I myself purchase a lot of small plants from our network of Backyard Growers.
What I do is I buy 50 or 100 of a particular plant so I can start taking cuttings from them, then I’ll sell most of the ones that I purchased but keep just a few that I can continue taking cuttings from forever. Those are known as stock plants. Most plants that I buy like this I pay anywhere from 65 cents to $1.50 each and in a matter of months I usually sell them for $4.97 each or more.
Look at the above photo. Twigs right? Not all. Those little sticks are riders on my Ferris Wheel. Those “sticks” are Japanese Red Maple seedlings and I might sell some of those for as little as $4.97 each, but I only do that to attract people to my nursery. Many of those little sticks can be grown on to a plant that will sell for $49.00 or more! Not bad for something that started out as a stick. And by the way, you can grow Japanese Red Maples from seed.
That’s the amazing part. You only have to buy any particular plant that you’d like to grow one time. Then from the rest of time you can take cuttings from that particular plant.
So I will give you the same advice that I constantly say to our Backyard Growers. “Keep Making Baby Plants!” Just keep making those babies. They are like money in the bank.
Of course you can’t grow and sell any plant that is patented and I explain how all of that works in my Backyard Growing System.
Have fun and load up the seats of your Ferris Wheel!
Those plants in that photo? Those are butts in the seats of my Ferris Wheel. This video shows you where we were at just 18 months ago when we shot this video.
On this page you can see photos of the property when I bought it. We’ve come along way!
Loading up the seats of the Ferris Wheel.
Think about it.
Think about the guy putting people on the Ferris Wheel. He opens the door, somebody gets out, somebody gets in and he moves the wheel to the next car.
Once he closes the door he pays no attention to and doesn’t fret about those who just got on. He simply unloads and loads car after car until his shift is over.
Now think about you.
You stick 50 hardwood cuttings, they start to make leaves and you get all anxious because you don’t see any roots. You’re not sure if you are wasting your time or not. I get that. Time and experience bring you success and success brings you confidence to just keep loading up the seats of the Ferris Wheel.
That’s why I do, what Neil does and what every successful grower here does. They just keep loading up the seats of the Ferris Wheel knowing full and well when those plants are ready they will find a customer for them.
Right now I have hundreds of arborvitae in my propagation beds that need to come out and get potted. I am so thankful that two years ago we simply mindlessly went through the motion of sticking those cuttings and never looking back. Haven’t fertilized them, haven’t trimmed them, they haven’t needed pruning.
Other things like flowering shrubs get trimmed while still in the propagation beds.
Making thousands of cuttings is like making thousands of brownies and sticking them in the oven. When they are done you can eat them. Don’t rush them, just let them bake until ready.
And that’s why I always say; “Just keep making those baby plants!”