Ask a Question forum: Transition the horticultural life

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Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Nov 26, 2013 2:33 PM CST
Hi. I am currently a teacher, but want to break free and make my living in the field of horticulture. This passion is consuming me! I discovered this "growing" desire after I got my degree in teaching. I wish I would have known this earlier! Now, I have three kids, and must continue working until I get sufficient income from this dream.

Has anyone been in similar situation and successfully switched careers? I live in suburbia in Minnesota and have 15x30, and 24 square foot hugel bed. I also have many perennial beds around my property. Eventually I want to move somewhere with some space to have more extensive gardens.

Thanks for any suggestions!
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Kindness should be a lifestyle!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Nov 27, 2013 3:17 PM CST
There are a number of books on how to start a backyard nursery .. you might check your library to start with. Once you start propagating plants you can start off by selling plants and seed on EBay and Craig's List. With sufficient stock available you can even start an online mail order business. Zone 9 Tropicals is a backyard endeavor. Also be willing to trade as well as sell.

You'll also want to invest in a good color laser printer for making tags that won't fade or run in the rain along with precise information on how to grow the plant.
"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

Unknown

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Nov 27, 2013 5:53 PM CST
Good advice, X! And color lasers aren't nearly as dear as they used to be. Was just looking into them. A bit more than I want to pay for my own purposes, but there appear to be some decent ones for under $300.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 28, 2013 3:05 AM CST
Not really sure if it is a nursery you want to start, but Venero gardens near the MN Arboretum is a great place. They are looking for a buyer as they want to begin a new chapter in their life, but I'm sure that Jay and Dory would be happy to talk to you about their experiences, whatever your intentions.
http://www.venerogardens.com/ They are good people. And if you're willing to go another 8 miles west, you can come visit me and see my gardens.

I might also point out that there are few work schedules like that of a teacher's that favor time off over the summer when the bulk of gardening is executed. As a hobby gardener it's an enviable position. In most of the horticultural trades, your time is most precious during the growing season, and you may find yourself longing for your past freedom with summertime opportunities. On the other hand, if you like what you do, it's not work anyway!

Good luck with all your decisions!
Name: Alex Volker
Ames, IA (Zone 5a)
Cactus and Succulents
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cherokeealex
Nov 29, 2013 11:36 PM CST
Hi! I don't have any advice, just wanted you to know that I'm in a similar position. I'm finishing a master's degree in microbiology right now, but I realized about a year ago that what I really want is to have my own gardening business.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
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Swayback
Dec 7, 2013 8:04 PM CST
Starting a small business is tough, of any sort.
I'd suggest to both of of you attempt to get your feet wet working at local establishments that you like, it will likely mean offering to volunteer there.

You will gain invaluable knowledge, and quite likely get a good belly full.

If you start down the paths that it sounds like you both are looking at, it'll be a long road.

I've been ambling along it for about 15 years now...not a penny to show...and never enough time...never! Thumbs up
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Cat Lover Birds Cactus and Succulents Butterflies
Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 1
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JuneOntario
Dec 8, 2013 9:03 AM CST
When I had a mid-life crisis and decided to switch careers from computer operating to horticulture, I kept doing my old job on a part-time basis while trying things such as garden design, helping out at a perennials nursery, and assisting in the office at a mail-order bulb merchant's. I quickly discovered that I was totally unable to either measure accurately or draw plans to scale, so I gave up on garden designing. Working at the nursery was fun, but incredibly hard work, and I regretfully decided that I couldn't cope with the physical aspect of it. On the other hand, at the mail order office I re-discovered my filing and organizing skills, I enjoyed talking to customers on the phone about their orders and answering their gardening questions, and I felt content in an office environment. I therefore gave up computer operating and chose to work in the "paperwork" side of horticultural organizations from then on. I'm retired now. I didn't make much money in the horticultural jobs, compared to my career in computers, but I was a whole lot happier! I guess I'd offer the advice that if job satisfaction is more important to you than money, then make the transition to horticulture.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 8, 2013 9:25 AM CST
Reid, did you lose interest in your life-style change?
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Anderwood
Dec 10, 2013 10:14 AM CST
Ken,

Sorry to not respond earlier. I appreciate what you have to say. I have decided that I can have the best of both worlds being a part time teacher.
In the summer I work at a greenhouse/nursery/farm/produce stand called Axdahl's Garden Farm, in Stillwater, MN. I take care of the plants where I work as well.

Thanks again!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 10, 2013 10:34 AM CST
Sounds like a workable solution. The world needs good teachers. I know it is fullfulling work. Some people, for whatever reason, are drawn to the soil. We like to get our hands dirty! Good luck.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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