Lyn lives in California and I was fortunate enough to meet her at one of Our Shindigs here in Perry, Ohio. Yes, she traveled from California to Ohio just to meet other Backyard Growers.
We have backyard growers all over the U.S. and Canada and beyond successfully selling plants from home and reporting amazing results. Lyn recently posted about one of he recent sales and I wanted to share it here because she is in a city, on a small lot and can only host a few sales a year because of zoning. But when she did $4,500 in two days, only 5 hours each day she was amazed at how well this really works.
This is her story . . .
March was a good month – I had a two day garage sale, from 9-2 each day, and when I count a few other sales to late-comers, took in a total of more than $4,500 from that sale. Must say, I was flabbergasted!!!
Newbies: Mike’s system works!!! For the most part, the mistakes I made were thinking I could improve on his system (like buying planter mix from a supposedly very reputable bulk seller that was not bark based.) That was a Very Expensive Mistake. After some plants died and far too many of them simply failed to thrive no matter what I did, I finally starting mixing a lot of small bark into the planting mix, and repotted at least half of my plants. What a pain! Plus, while that was an improvement, it still didn’t take me where I needed to be, and where I knew my plants could be.
Finally, I ended up using a chunk of my sale proceeds to hire someone to remove the remaining few yards of mix and haul it to the dump. I might have tried to move it myself in my 30’s, but being 67, I decided I had earned the right to hire that out. Then I bought 6 yards of new barked based mix, hired the same fellow to move it from the driveway to the small area on my lot which is reserved for soil. I am thrilled with the new mix, and my plants are finally acting like I want them too, and much sooner.
I live on a suburban lot, .28 acre, most of it covered by house, garage, and concrete. My growing area behind the garage is no more than 1500 sq. ft (and I try to use every inch, even go vertical on shelves), plus I do spill over with my “Mike pots” in the narrow (about 3′ wide) garden beds at the borders of our property. (My growing area isn’t even flat . . . which, as you can see from the pictures, is why I am growing in pots on raised pallets, leveled on piles of bricks which are pretty well anchored in place with rebar pounded into the ground for stability in case of earthquakes.)
Below, I attach pictures of my sale area just before the second sale day, as well as pictures of my growing area.
There are many things that I could do better, and I keep working at them and at learning more about this business. I write this not for congratulations, but for the “newbies” . . . to let you know that Mike’s system really does work, if you do . . . and you don’t need acres of land to get there.
When Lyn shared this story in Our Members Area she got an incredible amount of feedback as usual. Take a peek at her replies to those who responded to her post;
Jamie: Thank you! I have followed your posts since I first joined the Board and learned so much. I was especially moved by your generosity in helping an ill BYG member with her garden, and by your candid descriptions of your struggles with potting soil last year. Thank you so much for sharing your experience . . . you really helped me to see what my own soil/plant problems were . . . and saved me from prolonging my grief on that count.
Irene: I love to hear from you. I have watched your posts, learned from your wisdom, and giggled with your humor. Thank you for all you share. I hear you about selling the smaller plants as soon as they are ready. After doing the math, I concluded that where I can sell the smaller ones, in true quart pots, I can sell $64-$80 in the space needed for a 16″ square tray, compared to $35-$42 per 16″ square tray for the trade gallons/”Mike pots”. That was a real eye opener!
Siobhan: Thank you for your good wishes. I look forward to hearing about your first sales in the future. Just follow Mike and his advice to the bank!
Mrinali: What can I say? Your kind words and constant encouragement mean so much to me, both because I like and respect you so very much and because you came to visit my little nursery last summer and have a real understanding of my space and layout.
Kathy and Tom: It was such joy to meet and share lunch with you last summer at Mike’s. As you may recall, when I saw pictures of your space, I drooled with envy. Seriously, I was so very impressed . . . not only with the size of your nursery, but also with all you had done to expand and develop it. You certainly had (and have) my attention and I do look forward to seeing you again.
Patricia: Thank you! I keep threatening to get back east again – to visit friends in South Carolina and, hopefully, to see Mrinali and her nursery. Forgive me for inviting myself, but I would love to call on you if I am in the area. Whadda ya think?
Sheila: Thank you! It’s always nice to hear from someone else who struggles with the space limitations.
Mike: Wow! I am sooo flattered. Yes, you can use my post and photos. See my note to Duston – and thank you for your encouragement.
Roger: To the contrary!!! I think I told you before that when I saw Mike’s video of your nursery and irrigation, it was the impetus for the way I designed my irrigation. You were my inspiration! And I loved visiting your nursery . . . learned so very much and enjoyed my time there. Thank you!
Sandy: Thank you! You are another of the BYG members that I have kept my eye on. In fact, I frequently print and file your posts because they are always so full of useful information and help.
Bob: Thank you. I have loved reading your posts as you developed your own nursery. When I started this business I realized that I had to make a decision about whether to just dip my toes in to test the waters or to jump in and go for it. I think you know what I mean . . . for me it’s the difference between playing to “not lose” and playing to win – both choices have their benefits and risks. You are such a great example of what it looks like to “play to win”, and I am thrilled to see you winning so hugely. You deserve every bit of it and are an inspiration to all of us!
I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous Spring!
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Just post them below.