It’s no secret that money is a pretty important part of our everyday lives. Sure, it is not everything, but it certainly helps to make everything a little bit easier, a little bit more enjoyable.
I happen to need more of it.
I recently accepted a pretty awesome position at TUB (Technische Universitat Berlin). However, due to my foreigner status, I can only work a certain number of days. As such, I am taking matters into my own hands. This spring/summer/fall I am going to selling plants, produce, 3 types of sauces and a small assortment of baked goods. Like my blog, my business will be called The Sunshine Is Ours, but in German – Der Sonnenschein Gehoert Uns.
The first step to starting any business is having a plan. For this particular endeavor, it means knowing what I have, figuring out what I need and putting a price tag on everything.
What I do have is lots of seeds and lots of wood. Plus, a whole lot of determination. Other than that, I need to buy or build everything (although some things are already built).
Things that are essential to my endeavor:
Seed Starting Trays
- 4 seed starting trays @ 30 x 30cm/12 x 12” for use with ¾” blockers (max. 120 plants per tray); used for germination and standard crops.
- 16 seed trays @ 30 x 25cm/12 x 10” for use with 2” blockers (max. 24 plants per tray); used for plants that require a long period of time to grow before finally being planted outdoors.
- 6 seed trays @ 65 x 30cm/26 x 12” for use with 3 and 4” blockers; used for larger plants like perennials and tomatoes.
A Light Source
I am using 8, 62 x 62cm Louvre lights (like office lights) that I got second hand from an auto repair shop for 5 Euros a pop. I will have to calculate the cost of energy for their use. To save energy and keep costs reasonable, I will use a timer.
2 Germination Towers with 4 Lamps
This task is proving to be quite difficult. Luckily, I have some help from the ole’ ball and chain (haha…). However, it is shaping up. One tower is half built. It is 2m/6.5’ tall. The top shelf will be for germination. The middle two shelves will be for middle sized plants and the bottom shelf will be for the tallest plants. I will use chains to hold up the lights so that the height can be adjusted in accordance with plant growth.
A Seed Mix Appropriate for Soil Blocking
I still need to procure these components (like today). I need compost, coconut coir (it is really hard to get peat here), vermiculite, rock powder and top soil. I ordered a huge case of coconut coir last year, so it may be enough.
Exact Cost Per Serving of Edibles
I am going to make vanilla extract, barbecue sauce and spice mixes for ranch dressing and tacos. I will also make 1 batch of chocolate chip cookies, 1 plate of vegan brownies (tastes better than it sounds) and 1 loaf of banana bread. My goal during my upcoming break is to calculate those costs. The plant stuff is number one in my priority book right now. I will also have to figure out costs for packaging.
A Place to Sell
I am going to focus on direct marketing, so I will probably end up selling at the Boximarkt on Saturdays. I have a portable table which means my fees for selling should be in the 25 Euro department. Not bad.
A Hygiene Certificate
To work with food items in Germany, you need a Rote Karte. It more or less certifies that I know how to wash my hands and cover my mouth when sneezing. It’s pretty advanced stuff, but I should be able to pass.
Carrying all of my stuff here and there is not really an option by hand. I need a wagon. I have been scouring the classifieds looking for one. I am hoping that because there was something in the water for the last several years causing 90% of women of child-bearing age to pop a few kids out, it should not be a problem to find something second hand.
Just in Case
I am sure there are things that I am not thinking about, so I want to have a couple hundred Euros packed away in the event of emergency. It just seems sensible.
That is about it for now. I am heading on my way now to the recycling center with my suitcase hoping that they will fill it up with compost for me so that I can get my rear in gear and start checking more stuff off my list of “things to buy”.
Wish me luck and have a super day!