The Business of Perennial Edible Plants


DSC01831We are down to the last three open houses this spring for the sales of Perennial Edible Plants  (May 17, 24, 31).  10am – 2pm.  3295 Compton Road.  Feel free to come and wander around the gardens and peak at our buildings, chickens, ducks, water systems, and energy systems.  No need to buy plants.  Note that this is a self guided walk around as we stay in the nursery area with the plants.  Please no pets unless they are well behaved and on leashes…our ducks get spooked.

Marketing.  

  • DSC01820Education regarding the benefits of perennial foods and food forests. Seems there is a much greater awareness of the benefits of perennial edible foods. 1. Keeping roots in the soils to prevent erosion in extreme rain events. 2. Less need for outside inputs like mulch and fertilizers. 3. Less irrigation requirements once established. 4. Less weeding and work once established. 5. More habitat for nature. 6. Less pests, more predators. 7. More soil life. 8. More sequestered carbon. 9. More abundance of food. 10.  More Beauty.
  • DSC01836What plants to stock? It’s been an ongoing challenge to try and figure this out and to stock our nursery with what people are looking for.  There seems to be no predicability or patterns in what people buy.  For instance, early in the season it was hard to keep up to the sales of sweet potato slips…now, it’s finally warm enough to put them out and last week, we didn’t sell a single one.  Anyways, we are now fully stocked with all four types of sweet potato slips.  Last year we sold out of some plants very early…so this year we stocked up on these same items…it seems the trends change rapidly.
  • Scarcity.  Seems we only need to mention that we have only 1 or 2 of something and boom…it’s sold.  So in light of that…we are almost sold out of everything.  Just kidding.
  • DSC01837

    Chinese Dogwood in Flower – edible fruit.

    Merchandising.  Placement of plants is important as well as the information on the plants…we are learning more about this all the time.  We must be successful, as people always seem to leave with more items than they came for.  In regular marketing I would feel bad about this, but in all reality, every edible plant that gets planted is MORE local food resilience.

  • 3 Olive trees, 2 bocking 14 Comfrey, 5 tea plants

    3 Olive trees, 2 bocking 14 Comfrey, 5 tea plants

    Value Added.  When people visit Eco-Sense (whether they buy plants or not) they come for a day trip and have conversations with us and other people on a wide variety of topics.  This builds community and it’s fun to connect with others.  This is our favourite part of our business…we love it.  People seem to really enjoy their visit and that makes us really happy.

  • Old sign

    Old sign

    Wood for future new sign

    Wood for future new sign

    Beauty.  We have a beautiful setting which really helps to bring people out.  Gord is going to be making a big and beautiful sign for our driveway entrance…here is a photo of the piece of cedar that Gord was given by his dad for this purpose.  Our last beautiful Eco-Sense sign was made by my dad…but it got shattered when the post it was mounted on fell over.

  • FEAR.  Yup, sometimes people need a good dose of ecological and climate change reality in order to give them the kick to make some changes.  For many people this means focussing on food, water, energy and lifestyle.  Getting started can be the toughest thing, but getting that one plant in the soil, buying local food from a farmers market, or talking to other people struggling with the same fears and challenges can be pivotal for some people.  So in light of that, here is a short video to motivate some action.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUOfWROvWestkWbBhZTk147w&v=8akSfOIsU2Y#t=11
  • Success with Hardy Kiwi...shades the western side of the house AND produces LOTS of fruit

    Success with Hardy Kiwi…shades the western side of the house AND produces LOTS of fruit

    Success.  Our second spring season has been an amazing success.  Thank-you to everyone for being part of our journey working to align our values with our passions with our income generating activities.  We have found the sweet spot.

Ann showing tomato roots

Ann showing tomato roots

This week.  We have lots of heritage tomatoes started from seed…Black Early, Black Prince, Black Plum, and Galena yellow cherries.  All doing extremely well in 1-gal pots and some even flowering (all potted up with lots of composted goat bedding manure – wonderful root structure).  Gord and I didn’t communicate very well and Gord thought that I hadn’t been able to find any Black Heritage tomatoes…so he ordered a big pack of Black Brandywine tomatoes…So, consequently we have lots for sale.  He also wanted to make sure we got some hot Habanero peppers…so we have some of those for sale too.  (As we proof read this on Friday we can say we have tomatoes already setting).

roof top squash garden.

roof top squash garden planted with sand on top to discourage wood bugs.  should have tried that with the peas.

Annual Gardens…Spring has been early and dry this year (anyone notice)?  Our annual garden is a bit late getting in, but we have made good progress this week.  We still have lots more kale to cut out and take to the chickens…they have eaten so much kale that their chicken poop looks just like pesto (I know horrible visual…but it’s true).  We still have to get the quinoa planted, long cucumbers, more carrots, beets, kohlrabi, bush beans, parsnips, more tomatoes, peppers, and the list goes on.  Our snap pea crop has been a disaster…all 4 planting eaten by wood bugs.  But the good news is that many of our perennial plants (nuts, fruits, berries, and greens) are starting to take off.

DSC01823Chickens.  Still no little chicks…first batch nothing happened, we don’t think the momma hen was turning the eggs.  Second batch due today…fingers crossed.  Momma hen #2 kept allowing other hens to come in and lay more eggs…OMG there are 16-18 eggs under her.  She has been doing a great job and sits with her wings out holding all the little eggs,  but they will hatch at different times.  After the first 8-10 hatch Gord said he will take the rest of the eggs to the lower greenhouse to put on bottom heat since they likely will have another week to go.  I had marked the original 10 eggs with a pencil, but all the turning has rubbed off my marks.  Live and learn.

And finally, here are a couple photos of parking at Eco-Sense.  We also have a loading zone right by the duck coop.

DSC01827

Parking by cob wood working shop. Path to nursery between two buildings.

DSC01826

Parking by house and rose arbour. Walk back down to nursery.

 

One response to “The Business of Perennial Edible Plants

  1. Jamie Wallace

    Great update…we have had a poor time with peas as well. I blame it on the warmer than normal temp. and sowing a bit late, but there has also been wood bug damage. Your property is a treasure filled with loads of inspiration.

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