Q: My family has a farm in Wilkes county. I have always had a desire to start a business growing plants of some kind, but I’m at a loss as to which type to grow. Perennials? Annuals? Field grown? Greenhouse? Much of the land is pine trees and my father is debating planting much of the balance in pine as well. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on the matter?
A: As a matter of fact, there are several resources from the University of Georgia which can help you decide. Your first job is to download Starting a Greenhouse Business. Although you may not end up growing plants in a greenhouse, you should closely consider the issues this publication raises.
Second, contact your local Extension agent and ask them to coordinate a meeting between yourself, Dr. Paul Thomas, Dr. Jim Midcap (both from the Extension horticulture department) plus Extension economist Dr. Forrest Stegelin. The five of you can meet in Athens to discuss various opportunities in the plant business.
Selling bedding plants generates income pretty quickly but the cut woody plant market(stems with flowers, greenery or berries) is also hot right now. Pines may be profitable many years from now but there are several other horticultural uses for your land that can generate significant income.