The Folly Of Starting A Retirement Business Too Early

By Laura Miller | November 16, 2021
Image by Eike Leppert
by Laura Miller
November 16, 2021

We all have our pipe dreams. Mine was to turn my two acre property into a small blueberry farm. You know, the “Found my Thrill on Blueberry Hill” thing. I figured this would make a nice little retirement-type business once the kids left the nest. 

After all, I love blueberries. Plus, they’re loaded with antioxidants which makes fresh, homegrown blueberries a very marketable crop. I knew it would take a few years for blueberry bushes to begin producing consistently. So as I rolled through my mid-50’s, I figured it was time to put this bucket list item into action.  

Planting Blueberries

Naturally, I started by purchasing blueberry plants. Every spring, I’d look wherever I found berry plants for sale. Knowing blueberries produce better when they cross-pollinate, I began collecting different varieties. I was even lucky enough to pick up the last four clearance-priced berry plants for sale at a local discount mart. 

Problem was, I couldn’t seem to keep blueberry bushes alive long enough to get them in the ground. Now I should explain that these young blueberries were mere sticks stuck in about a cup of dirt inside a plastic bag. When they hit the store shelves in late winter, it was much too early to plant them outside.

This presented a problem for me. You see, by the time I got home from my shopping trip and unloaded my groceries, it was late and I was exhausted. Thinking I would pot the blueberry bushes the next morning, I’d add a little water to the bag and place the plants on the windowsill. 

Blueberries in Containers

Yet, life happens. I found that if I didn’t pot them up immediately, the likelihood was high that the poor little blueberry plants would never make it out of the plastic sleeve. I can’t count the number of berry plants that have succumbed to this mistake.

Problem number two was impulsively buying plants to fulfill a dream that I was in no way ready to execute. Even as I potted my little blueberry bushes, I knew I had no permanent home in the garden for them. It was like putting the cart in front of the horse. I should have prepared a bed for the blueberries long before I purchased plants. 

Finally, I had to ask myself why, as an experienced gardener, was I making these novice mistakes? I truly believe it’s because this was a “someday in the future” dream of mine and not an actual plan for a garden project. Grasping at straws, or in this case innocent blueberry plants, made me feel like I was fulfilling that dream. 

The reality of the matter is that I’m simply not ready to retire. And a retirement dream should be just that. The dream of what we want to do when we no longer have work requirements filling up our days. And a blueberry farm is the perfect sort of dream for retirement.

So for now, I have decided to put this pipe dream on hold and stop impulsively purchasing berry bushes. Not only is my wallet growing fatter, but I’m certain blueberry plants everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. 

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