Money doesn't grow on trees, but Grant Thorpe is making it grow with his budding plant business.
The seven-and a half- year-old Turlock resident has launched Grant's Stand and is selling plants and succulents via social media. Grant isn't doing it though to line his own pockets. Rather, he is donating 100 percent of the proceeds to local charities.
Grant gets his gardening roots from his mother Amy Thorpe, who is the farm manager of Rising Sun Farm and Garden, a special education program for 18- to 22-year-olds operating on 18 acres in Stanislaus County.
"Since he was little, he's been out there working in the gardens with me," Thorpe said.
As his own green thumb developed, a conversation between mother and son began during their drive home to Turlock about him growing and selling his own plants. It was also during these drives that Grant got the idea of using the money to help others in need. For this month, the proceeds from his plant sales will be donated to Helping Hands Ministries.
"We would see the homeless encampment along the highway each day we drove home and I had to explain to him what it was and what it meant to be homeless," Thorpe said. "So, he decided he wanted to help the homeless with his first month."
Grant summed up his inspiration succinctly: "We have a home and they don't, so we should help them."
The first week of Grant's Stand proved to be quite the success. He sold seven pilea pepermioides, also known as Chinese money plants, for a profit of $5 each. He has raised $35 towards his $100 goal for the month. Now, he's selling lithops, a type of succulent that resembles an elephant's foot for $6 each and is growing a variety of pumpkin seedlings.
Growing plants is not just a passing fancy for the second-grader, who is going to get his nursery license next week from the Stanislaus County Ag Office. He can rattle off plant names the way some kids can tell you all the names of cartoon characters. He has his own vegetable garden growing with tomatillos, tomatoes, beans, bitter melon, watermelons and basil. And even though he likes growing vegetables, he's not exactly a fan of eating them yet. He said his preferences are for lettuce and radishes and absolutely no tomatoes and peppers.
"I only grow those for salsa," Grant said.
He has seedlings going of marigolds, which he says are his favorite flower because they "look like sunsets."
But his real joy comes from succulents.
"We went to Succulent Gardens and it was like the mothership calling him home," Thorpe said. "He went up to the counter and told them he was looking for an echeveria raindrop and they didn't have any out front, but they went and found him one in the back."
"That is my favorite succulent because it looks like real raindrops when you water them," Grant said.
For those who might be considering growing succulents, Grant advises to find a place that gets partial sun and shade and to water them every two days. And for the home gardener, Grant's advice is to mix in compost with the soil when planting.
"That helps them grow a lot."
For now, Grant's Stand is operating on Facebook, but soon, he will have an actual stand outside his Turlock home to sell his plants. He and his mom will deliver to Patterson and offer porch pick up for Turlock residents. To keep apprised of Grant's plant offerings, follow Grant's Stand on Facebook.