A Craigslist Venture

A Craigslist Venture

I’ve been taking the first steps into a home-based Craigslist selling business.

It’s bothered me for the past few years, that all my income is too removed from the reality of my life. My money flows in through a pipe between the US and Canadian economy, but what if something happens to the pipe? Or the companies on the other side of that pipe? Or the governments over here and over there?

I’ll consider myself more secure in my position if I can build a money generator over here, to supplement the one over there.

Since it’s my mission in life to produce the maximum possible with the barest minimum of input, I’ll be creating my Craigslist products using almost exclusively free inputs. Here’s a few of the products so far that I am trying.

Battery Banks

I’ve found a use for the 120+ lithium batteries I salvaged earlier in the year. My cost for each recovered cell is $0.90. Thrown into a $1.15 battery housing, and I have attractive power banks at about 2 bucks a pop. I can sell at $20 and still be the cheapest guy on Craigslist.

18650 battery pack

18650 battery pack 2 cell measurement
The ads are all up for these but I haven’t sold any yet. It’s possible I’m still charging too much, or the market is saturated. I’ll also experiment with my messaging. I’d rather not stoop to overpromising milliamp hours which is what my “competition” on Craigslist is doing.Jerusalem ArtichokesAn extremely productive crop that has a much higher selling price than potatoes. Typical prices at seed companies are 20$ for 6 or 7 tubers. If I can corner the market on these tubers in my city, it should represent a nice little cashflow with very little effort.

sunchoke - jerusalem artichoke

Red Wriggler Compost Worms

I paid 25$ for a half pound of these worms. These creatures have a doubling time of mere days. Therefor as long as I can supply them with enough biomass to support their exploding population, I can create money out of food waste just as fast.

red wrigglers - compost kit

My plan is to create “compost worm kits” with a 5 gallon bucket and sell those. I could probably ask 30$-40$ each. Total cost should be zero as long as I can keep getting my buckets for free.

With any of the above ideas, I’m prepared to create a website to sell the products through targeted to my area. Craigslist is more of a way to market test. I’ll also be able to mail everything out economically if needed.

How to Design a Community Garden

It’s only been two weeks since we moved in, but I’ve already been put in charge of designing community gardens at our co-op. I have a 7k Canadian peso budget and a copy of sketchup at my disposal.

After a few iterations, I have this.

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I’ve designed the different sized beds to appeal to different levels of competence. Gardeners just starting out can take a 4×4, and experienced gardeners who grow a lot can spread out into a 12×4. In addition, the 12x4s can be split in half to accommodate more gardeners.

Culinary herbs grow in the tall planter behind the bench.  Any resident of the co-op can take herbs from here. Its psychological ulterior motive is to trick residents into signing up for plot of their own.

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The Solar Audit

I came up with a method to design for the sun. In food gardening, sun hours is critical. Without sun, you can’t grow anything with calories in it.

Every hour on the hour, I took pictures of the area. Here it is at 11 AM.

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And here it is at 2 PM.

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By counting hours of sunlight in various places, I know what can grow where. I only put beds in the areas with a minimum of four hours.

Unfortunately, that’s still very little sunlight to work with. With the four and a half hours of sun we get on this part of the property. We can grow Broccoli, Peas, Beets and anything that’s a leaf – kale, salad and other rabbit food.

In my opinion, most people want a garden to grow tomatoes. And for tomatoes, six hours is bare minimum, and really you need eight for adequate results.

Here’s a chart Mother Earth News came up with that lists a number of low light plants that would still work here.

Crop Shade Notes Growing Tips
Arugula At least three to four hours of sun per day. Arugula welcomes shade, as this crop is prone to bolting as soon as the weather turns warm if in full sun.
Asian greens At least two hours of sun per day. Asian greens such as bok choi (also spelled “pac choi” and “pak choi”), komatsuna and tatsoi will grow wonderfully with a couple hours of sun plus some bright shade or ambient light.
Chard If you grow chard mainly for its crisp stalks, you will need at least five hours of sun per day; if you grow it mainly for the tender baby leaves, three to four hours of sun per day will be enough. Expect chard grown in partial sade to be quite a bit smaller than that grown in full sun. Baby chard leaves are excellent cooked or served raw in salads.
Culinary herbs At least three hours of sun per day. While many culinary herbs need full sun, chives, cilantro, garlic chives, golden marjoram, lemon balm, mint, oregano and parsley will usually perform well in shadier gardens.
Kale At least three to four hours of sun per day. You’ll notice only a small reduction in growth if comparing kale grown in partial shade with kale grown in full sun.
Lettuce At least three to four hours of sun per day. Lettuce is perfect for shadier gardens because the shade protects it from the sun’s heat, preventing it from bolting as quickly. Often, the shade can buy a few more weeks of harvesting time that you’d get from lettuce grown in full sun.
Mesclun One of the best crops for shady gardens. Grows in as little as two hours of sun per day and handles dappled shade well. The delicate leaves of this salad mix can be harvested in about four weeks, and as long as you leave the roots intact, you should be able to get at least three good harvests before you have to replant.
Mustard greens At least three hours of sun per day for baby mustard greens. Mustard grown for baby greens is best-suited for shady gardens.
Peas and beans At least four to five hours of sun. If growing these crops in partial shade, getting a good harvest wil take longer. Try bush and dwarf varieties rather than pole varieties.
Root vegetables At least four to five hours of sun per day for decent production. Beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and turnips will do OK in partial shade, but you’ll have to wait longer for a full crop. The more light you have, the faster they’ll mature. Alternatively, you can harvest baby carrots or small new potatoes for a gourment treat that would cost an arm and a leg at a grocery store.
Scallions At least three hours of sun per day. This crop does well in partial shade throughout the growing season.
Spinach At least three to four hours of sun per day. Spinach welcomes shade, as it bolts easliy if in full sun. If you grow it specifically to harvest as baby spinach, you’ll be able to harvest for quite a while as long as you continue to harvest the outmost leaves of each plant.