When your hands are deep in loamy soil amidst your thriving plants and flowers, do you wonder how to make money from gardening? Good news! You don’t need to be a farmer to make a living from gardening!
If blessed with green thumbs and access to gardening space (a dozen planters or a twenty by four-foot bed of soil will get you started), plus a dash of business savvy, you can make money from gardening – full-time or as a side hustle!
Read on for a virtual forest of money-from-gardening ideas!
- How to Make Money Gardening – Top 12 Methods Ranked
- 4 Step Process to Make Money Gardening On Nearly Any Homestead
- Gardening Business Start-Up Recipe
- 12 Ways to Make Money Gardening – Our Official List
- 1. Sell Salad Greens to Restaurants and Caterers
- 2. Sell Microgreens to Restaurants and Caterers
- 3. Sell Vegetables and Fruit to Neighbors
- 4. Sell Fresh Herbs to Restaurants and Your Community
- 5. Sell Edible Flowers to Restaurants
- 6. Sell Cut Flowers
- 7. Sell Seedlings
- 8. Propagate and Sell Cuttings
- 9. Sell Seeds
- 10. Specialize In Grow Bag Gardening
- 11. Selling Your Produce at Farmers' Markets
- 12. Get Organic Certification
How to Make Money Gardening – Top 12 Methods Ranked
|Our Rank||Profitable Garden Activities|
|1||Sell Salad Greens to Restaurants and Caterers|
|2||Sell Microgreens to Restaurants and Caterers|
|3||Sell Vegetables and Fruit to Neighbors|
|4||Sell Fresh Herbs to Restaurants and Your Community|
|5||Sell Edible Flowers to Restaurants|
|6||Sell Cut Flowers|
|8||Propagate and Sell Cuttings|
|10||Specialize In Grow Bag Gardening|
|11||Selling Your Produce at Farmers’ Markets|
|12||Get Organic Certification|
The table above represents our favorite ways to make money gardening. We’ll discuss these topics in further detail later in this article.
But first – consider the following.
You can make money from gardening by selling garden produce and gardening expertise. By identifying and fulfilling niche demands for garden produce and services, you can start a business growing and supplying organic foods, eco-wise gardening skills, and innovative gardening products.
Do you have any garden products you can sell now?
- Do you already have a garden that produces saleable items like organic vegetables, fruit, and flowers?
- Do you have business skills that can help you market your garden fruits and veggies?
With both, you have a fertile, organic foundation for a thriving gardening business!
4 Step Process to Make Money Gardening On Nearly Any Homestead
Here’s our straightforward 4-step process for making money with your garden – without needing a massive acreage.
Step 1 – Ask Local Produce Buyers What’s Missing In the Market
So, what’s the first step when starting a gardening business? Simple! Ask people what’s missing in their lives as far as gardening and healthy foods are concerned. This step helps you identify how you can contribute your gardening skills locally. That’s often the best place to start.
- Start with your neighbors and local businesses like restaurants, caterers, food vendors, grocery stores, etc.
- Don’t forget schools, hospitals, work canteens, and retirement homes!
- Visit farmers’ markets and check produce pricing. Chat with sellers and buyers for tips on in-demand produce ideas. You’ll be a seller there soon (more on farmers’ markets later in this article)!
- Watch YouTube videos on market gardening, permaculture, food packaging and distribution, and other niche gardening topics.
Step 2 – Make a List of Your Garden Assets + Skills
Draw up a list of value-added products and services you can offer customers. You can take things a step further by conducting a market survey.
- Ascertain the primary pleasure and pain points around the products and services on your list.
- Understand who your competitors are and how they operate. Determine what makes them successful and where you can offer a superior product or service.
- Conduct a SWOT Analysis of your business IDEA vs. your competition.
- It’s easy to become discouraged by the presence of established competition and rejections from prospective customers.
But remember the following.
- You’re simply researching and fine-tuning your gardening business idea at this stage.
- Every bit of market intelligence you garner is good (even if negative responses sting a little, they’ll show you where not to invest your time and money).
- Never lose faith in NATURE, your gardening talents, and YOUR business vision!
With a folio of market intelligence on your desk, you can now commit your plan to paper.
Step 3 – Define Your Garden Product or Service
Focus on a range of produce you’re confident you can grow successfully in bulk. Estimate the volume of production you can achieve every week. Calculate your per-unit production costs. Price your products competitively with a profit margin that covers your labor, transport, packaging, and stationery costs.
- Give your gardening business a name and a unique selling proposition (aka USP), a distinct value-add different from the competition – a stand-alone promise that fulfills a definite human need!
- An example of a Business Name with a USP may be, ‘Outdoor Happens Urban Organics – wholesome garden produce delivered directly to you!’
- Brand Your Business with an eye-catching logo and a memorable slogan!
Step 4 – Write a Gardening Business Plan
Your business plan will define your operations, customer base, pricing, packaging, marketing strategies, accounting system, and earning potential while mitigating financial risk by keeping you focused on the vital business success factors.
- Focus on The 4 Ps of Marketing – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
- A professionally-written business plan will be your roadmap and will help you access bank capital. (If and when you need a loan!)
- Get a free business plan template here.
- Competitive pricing, quality control, reliable logistics, and slick packaging are primary elements of business success. Highlight how your business plan excels in these areas.
- Any wise business will underpin its operations with sustainability front of mind. (Start small, limit risk exposure, and find your pricing sweet spot!)
Keep your business plan realistic, whether serving local customers or selling products and services online.
- Don’t over-estimate your earnings potential in your business plan. You may disappoint yourself and have your creditor sending you home empty-handed!
- Don’t hype your production capacity. Always under-promise and over-deliver – especially when it comes to customer retention.
Gardening Business Start-Up Recipe
Begin your gardening business with a clear roadmap (your business plan). Add unshakeable enthusiasm and people skills, and you’ll have a winning trifecta!
- If you sell fresh organic produce, keep your market local to ensure product freshness and optimized delivery costs.
- Only use certified organic seeds, seedlings, and cuttings.
- Use social media and personal networking (community groups, school PTAs, etc.) to market your gardening business.
The Easy Way to Start a Home-Based Plant Nursery by David The Good is an excellent all-in-one reference book for homesteaders starting a plant nursery from scratch. The book contains real-world insights into propagating plants, working with wholesale nurseries, marketing your plants, accounting tips, and more.
12 Ways to Make Money Gardening – Our Official List
We’re going to look at gardening business ideas that will yield rapid returns, healthy profits, and repeat business, including:
- Growing and selling fresh garden produce like vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.
- Selling seeds, seedlings, and cuttings.
- Offering your goods at farmers’ markets.
- How to get your business Organic Certification.
1. Sell Salad Greens to Restaurants and Caterers
Restaurants and caterers depend on the freshness of their greens – doubly so when serving delicious salads to their customers.
Fresh produce suppliers to restaurants typically buy from food distribution markets where the bulk of the merchandise has traveled long distances in refrigerated trucks, then unpacked at the market, reloaded onto trucks, and delivered to the customer. It’s a long and inefficient supply chain.
- Get to know what salad greens your local chefs want!
Here are some popular salad greens you can grow in your garden to supply to your neighborhood restaurants and caterers.
- Lettuce (iceberg, Romaine, butter lettuce, etc.)
- Bok Choi
- Beet greens
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
Learn how to grow and sell a salad mix that will give you crop flexibility and customer satisfaction!
To deliver the freshest, crunchiest salad greens, you will need a few special tools:
- A walk-in cooler
- A wash table
- A bubbler
- A salad spinner
- Drying fans
TIP: Restaurants are high-turnover, labor-intensive enterprises. They can’t afford late – or absent produce. So keep in touch with the chef, owner, manager, and buyer.
- Send them a weekly list of your harvested salad greens.
- Learn about the restaurant buying process.
If the restaurant patrons love the salad on the menu, there’s always that marketing silver bullet dubbed word of mouth! And it’s always ready to help boost your market share. 🙂
2. Sell Microgreens to Restaurants and Caterers
Trendy restaurants are wild about microgreens, a super-food with garnishing power! Ultra-nutritious and exotic, microgreens are quick and easy to grow. All you need is a controlled growing environment and attention to detail.
- Microgreens are seedlings of vegetable and herb plants.
- Most farmers harvest microgreens approximately two weeks after seed planting.
- Microgreens are high-turnover, high-profit garden produce perfect for growing year-round in a greenhouse, basement, or garage!
- You don’t need a garden at all!
- You will need seed trays, 100% organic fine potting soil, a water atomizer (a spray bottle works), and full-spectrum grow lights.
- A cooler or fridge and a wash tray will ensure your microgreens are fresh and clean when they reach your customers.
Here are a few in-demand microgreens:
- Swiss chard
Growing microgreens is big business these days. And urban farmers are driving supply, making it a highly competitive market.
To get the edge on the microgreens competition:
- Learn the nuances of these tiny crops as they grow in their seed trays.
- Learn about caring for microgreens with the best soil, water, air, and light ratios.
- Consult with your chef customers! Find out what they want and then cultivate the hottest microgreens!
Here’s an excellent video tutorial from Donny Greens on starting with microgreens.
- Donny earns upwards of $10K monthly selling microgreens in New York!
You can, too!
3. Sell Vegetables and Fruit to Neighbors
An upside to living in the city if you’re an aspiring market gardener is your proximity to your market. Your customers are right next door!
What household in your neighborhood wouldn’t fancy a basket of homegrown organic veggies and fruit delivered weekly to its door?
With the sorry state of store-bought fresh produce, an urban garden or homestead can grow traditional mealtime favorites with exotic supplements and sell them to people who need an alternative to corporate fodder.
- A ripe market exists with people living alone, elderly, and single-parent families. These potential customers generally don’t buy vegetables in bulk because they’ll go off before they can use them.
You can offer them tailor-made helpings of your healthy veg and fruit, including:
- Passion fruit
Slam-dunk. Plant quick-growing family favorites!
- And add herbs, salad greens, flowers, and microgreens to your pantry hampers if your customers want them!
- Watch this inspiring video on farming your backyard for a living.
Learn about your neighbors’ culinary tastes and get their pantries stocked with your fresh organic produce!
4. Sell Fresh Herbs to Restaurants and Your Community
Any chef will tell you – the fresher the herbs, the better the dish! You can steal a march on the big herb suppliers by getting friendly with your neighborhood chefs and home cooks using fresh herbs as your meal ticket!
Herbs are easy to grow and quick to harvest. Plant several varieties to offer your customers a gourmet spread of flavor, eye candy, and aroma!
Choose from Nature’s magnificent herb pantheon, including:
- Lemon verbena
- Bay leaf
- Curry tree
TIP: Cocktail bars love herbs like mint, tarragon, lemon verbena, and basil!
Are you fired up about growing and selling fresh herbs? Then, watch this DIY herb garden tutorial. (It’s fascinating)!
REMEMBER: Dried herbs can be reduced to powder to create exotic spices!
- Watch how to harvest and dehydrate herbs and package them as mouthwatering spices!
- Label packaging with your branded stationary!
One more tip! Harvest herbs in the morning to retain their essential oils!
Happy picking and happy crushing!
5. Sell Edible Flowers to Restaurants
The impact edible flowers have on a plate of food is priceless. The vibrant colors and delicate fragrances of jasmine and nasturtium flowers always steal the show. And that’s before they’ve tasted your specimens. We promise – the subtle flavors are magical.
The list of edible plants is extensive, giving you super scope for sales success!
Try these flowers for culinary sophistication:
The great thing about edible flowers is that many are the prettiest part of veg and herbs. For example, these flowers add value to the main course.
- Fennel flowers
- Basil flowers
- Chives flowers
- Broccoli flowers
And the list goes on.
- Market your edible flowers to confectioners and wedding planners, too.
- Package your edible flowers in clamshell punnets with your branded labels neatly stuck to the packaging.
Did you know – you can make edible flower ice cubes for festive cool beverages?
What can we say but more flower power to you? 🙂
6. Sell Cut Flowers
Looking for dahlias, roses, and carnations, anyone? Of course! A bouquet makes a room come alive! With your green thumb and fertile soil, your garden has the potential for a profitable cut flower business!
If you’ve grown pretty flowers before, you can supply exotic and traditional ornamental flowers to:
- Grocery stores
- Event organizers (weddings!)
- Roadside farm stalls
And there’s always the Farmers’ Market (more on that coming up).
- Watch this insightful video on starting a cut flowers business.
- And here’s an excellent how-to-profit from cut flowers tutorial from a true gardening doyen, Lisa Mason Ziegler.
Best of all, the start-up investment to grow and sell cut flowers is a lot less than a vegetable market garden.
Follow the cut flowers golden rule – harvest for maximum vase time!
7. Sell Seedlings
If you have limited yard space, you could grow seedlings in a greenhouse and attract customers who love buying plants for their gardens that have a head start.
You can cultivate plants for food, ornamentation, and landscaping. All you need is potting soil, seedling trays, and small pots.
- Here’s a comprehensive article on how to grow and market your seedlings for spring cash.
Seedlings are a lightweight and low-risk alternative to larger cash crops. Plus, they’re high turnover.
The more, the merrier!
8. Propagate and Sell Cuttings
Propagate and sell cuttings from high-demand vegetable plants, herbs, shrubs, flowers, and trees that grow well in your area. Here’s another low-risk gardening idea for entrepreneurs.
- Plant propagation is a cheap and easy trick to make money from your arduous gardening labor.
With some basic skills and materials, you can exponentially boost your plants-for-sale stock by snipping cuttings from plants or splitting plants already growing in your garden.
What you need to know about propagation:
First – let’s talk about cutting the stems. Stem cuttings for herbs should be at least 3 inches long, cut directly below a node (a leaf outcrop) at the base of the cutting. Only the top leaves should remain on the cutting for photosynthesis to occur.
- Watch this video on propagating basil for an idea of how it works.
- Stem cuttings for brown-stemmed plants can be around 8 inches, cut with a base node and a top node. No leaves are necessary for the cutting to take root.
- Watch this video to learn how to propagate a wide variety of plants.
- Splitting plants is a propagating practice applied to plants with multiple stems rising from the root base. Separate the stems (and roots) at the base of the plant.
- Watch this video for Propagation Basic Training.
What medium do plant cuttings grow in? Herb cuttings can initially propagate in water jars (mason jars with water work fine) and get transplanted into seedling pots with potting soil once roots have sprouted.
- Brown-stemmed cuttings can grow directly into potting soil. A root hormone works to promote root growth.
How much water do cuttings need? Cuttings in potting soil need to be watered regularly and kept out of harsh sunlight.
- The soil should be moist (like a wrung-out sponge) but not waterlogged.
Plant propagation is a type of plant surgery, so you need good shears, a steady hand, and a nurse’s patient care!
9. Sell Seeds
It starts with seeds, you might say, and that’s just the beginning! Knowing how to harvest seeds from the produce your garden grows is a business opportunity you cannot miss. Dry your organic vegetable and flower seeds and sell them.
To produce marketable seeds takes some skill. You need to know:
- When to harvest each type of plant.
- How to dry and package/store the seeds.
- How to curate/name each seed type according to genus and species.
- Where to sell the seeds.
Here’s a helpful video showing how to save vegetable seeds (cucumber, tomato, and pepper seeds).
Watch this video to learn which seeds to save and which to avoid selling.
A thriving organic seed-selling business uses special machinery to prepare the seeds for the market. See how to get it done here.
- Seeds should get dried when packaged and kept in a cool, dark place (a refrigerator works fine to store seeds long-term).
- Sell organic seeds online and at farmers’ markets.
Selling organic seeds can be a specialized business or a lucrative sideline to your fresh produce business!
Research and learn as much as possible to ensure your customers get the best organic seeds!
10. Specialize In Grow Bag Gardening
Imagine growing all the crops you need for a market garden in portable bags! You can, with organic fabric grow bags. Available in varying sizes, grow bags are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic planters and a great way to start a unique gardening business.
- Create a product list of popular vegetables and flowers suited to your local climate.
- Grow your range of plants from seed or transplant seedlings in grow bags.
- Sell the plants in the grow bags directly to customers!
Starting a grow bag nursery is an excellent idea for gardeners with limited space but oodles of talent for choosing popular herbs, vegetable plants, and flowers!
11. Selling Your Produce at Farmers’ Markets
The easiest way to introduce your gardening business to your local market is to display them at farmers’ markets in your area. Set up a gazebo with tables and attractive earthy decor, and merchandize your produce for direct sale to customers!
Selling at farmers’ markets is an excellent way to:
- Test your pricing.
- Get acquainted with customers.
- Get valuable customer feedback on your produce.
- Build your brand.
- Expand your customer base.
A stand at a farmers market is all about retail marketing. Your shop and products have to look inviting. And so do you and your sales team!
- Watch this video for tips on preparing for a farmers’ market.
- Learn how to sell at a farmers’ market.
The direct interface a farmers’ market stall affords will give you confidence. And it also offers mission-critical market intelligence, which helps your gardening business grow in leaps and bounds!
12. Get Organic Certification
Nothing speaks louder than ‘official’ certification backing a business and its products! In the gardening world, getting Organic Certification from the USDA for your produce and gardening methods is a fast track to success!
- Learn the steps to take to get the prized Organic certification.
Advertise that your business is Certified Organic on all your branding material – from produce labels to signage, online networking, and all the ‘merch’ your gardening shop sells (like T-shirts!).
Boost your credibility and revenue with a ‘best practice’ guarantee for your customers!
Making money doing the things you love is something most homesteaders dream of. But, unfortunately, most never get to do it. With your gardening talents and business sense, you can realize your dream career – being self-employed and running a profitable gardening business that feeds people the best way possible!
We’ve delved into 12 hot gardening business ideas that have transformed the lives of the people who leaped out of wage-slave drudgery into wholesome labor with plants and people.
You can do the same with these life-affirming gardening business ideas!
Good luck and happy market gardening!