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Growing the Green


Growing the Green

I’ve kinda always been an “on my own” kind of person. I enjoy being self-employed. Some say being self-employed is a talent. I think it’s a combination of desire and dedication. It certainly helps if you know that God provides opportunity to those that seek it through faith and prayer. If you seek a talent – you will have one.

I’ve always had a talent for trading and buying & selling. Some say my problem is that I don’t charge enough. I’ve always sold things for what I’d want to pay for something rather than what the market would bear. God has always provided me with a way to sustain myself and I believe that’s due to my desire to make someone happy over any price point or competition. When I needed more money, always I prayed, and along came “something” I could sell or more of what I had was available – almost like the feeding of the five thousand in Matthew 14 with five loaves of bread and two fish.

My father was a farmer, selling blueberries, muscadines, apples, vegetables, and flowers at the local farmer and flea markets. As a kid, I helped pick the various items and he paid me a percentage of each – it was always higher than minimum wage.

As an adult, one of the many ways I enjoy side income money is selling flowers at the local flea market. When I moved into my first home that had a yard in 2000, my dad called me out to his farm and took me out to several flower beds. He gave me a dozen orange and yellow canna lilies and a dozen of several different color and variety iris bulbs. He told me to notice that it looked like we hadn’t even pulled up a single bulb – even though we had 8 grocery bags full of bulbs. He told me that if I’d plant them, that by the end of the summer, I’d have some to sell and if I continued to divide them – they could be a good summer income for me.

I did what he told me. I did sell a few that summer. By the next summer, I had over 300 flowers and bulbs to sell – all from about 60 – the year prior. I used it to supplement my income for years – going to sell the flowers and other items at the local flea market.

When I moved in 2007, I went to get more canna lily and iris bulbs from my dad. I planted those at the front of my new home at the walkway. By the next year, I had over $1000 in income from just those bulbs that I had gotten.

In 2016, I moved here to the Chattanooga area. I brought with me over two dozen iris bulbs and a dozen canna lily bulbs. Along the way I’ve picked up a few more. Just two weeks ago, I divided all of them up 3 to 1 from my original planting. Now, I plan to donate the proceeds this year back to Mustard Tree Ministries – back to God that provided me that extra income over the years.

How Can You Grow the Green?

How can you help Mustard Tree? How about growing some green like I did? Order a dozen iris or canna lily bulbs from a flower catalog or go to a garden store and grab a few. Maybe you know a neighbor that has some. Ask them if you could thin them out for them.

Some tips:

  • Both iris and canna lilies are known properly as “tubers” not exactly bulbs. They spread at a rate of 3 to 1 per 4 months and multiply year round in above freezing temperatures.
  • “Tubers” are relatively low maintenance- requiring no fertilizer and little water BUT they do like both and will proliferate faster in their first rooting with both.
  • “Tubers” like being planted with the top of the “tuber” exposed or barely covered.
  • Plants can be stored for up to 10 days in a plastic grocery bag with a damp paper towel on top.
  • Red canna lilies are pretty but tend to only flower for a short period. Orange and yellow canna lilies tend to bloom more frequently.
  • There are many varieties of iris. It is best to get the colossal size if ordering. It’s also advised to get a unique color outside of white, yellow, deep purple, or blue if ordering – ¬† cross pollination can sometimes reduce unique colors back to these four colors if planted within 25 feet of those four colors.
  • See pictures for examples

Contributed by Rus Smith

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