Andy Fleming writing on homesteading…
Think you can’t make enough selling plants from your garden to support yourself? Think again.
Anyone with a little bit of land and some patience could easily profit by growing specialty crops and plants with high demand. Even a kitchen or windowsill garden is potentially profitable if you fill it with the right herbs and spices.
Many plants which sell for high amounts of money do so because they take some time to grow, so it’s best to start right away. That doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily turn a quick profit, as many other enthusiastic gardeners are interested in healthy starter plants that they can finish growing themselves.
Here’s a quick look at some of the plants you should consider if you want a garden with high cash potential.
1. Culinary Herbs
The quickest and easiest way to grow some profitable plants is to focus on an herb garden. You can easily grow most herbs in a windowsill or anywhere indoors with good access to sunlight. You can get bigger yields with a bit of yard space, but it’s not necessary; especially if you’re just starting out.
The profit potential for herbs comes from the fact that lots of people want access to fresh, local herbs to improve their nightly meals. There’s even more demand if you can get connected to a local “locavore” style restaurant. Artisanal pizza places are a dime a dozen these days, and they all want access to local ingredients.
Cilantro, oregano, basil, and chives tend to be the most popular herbs for cooking. You can dry herbs and sell them in one-ounce packets at your local farmer’s market for upwards of $2.50 each. It might not seem like much, but consider that a single seed can potentially yield an unlimited, self-sustaining supply of herbs if you “split” off the healthy stems and replant them in their own pot. Attract customers by packaging herbs with recipes (basil with pesto, for instance). You can also sell pre-made herb gardens by buying a few cheap pots and packaging them together with starter plants. Customers often find three or four herb starter-gardens very attractive.
Lavender is another herb that’s easy to grow in a small space, although it has a very different market than culinary herbs. This is a good thing. If you can grow both culinary herbs and lavender, you’ll diversify your customer base. Lavender is great if you’ve got some other artisans or craftsmen living nearby, as it can be made into oil, perfume, soap, or used in wreaths and floral arrangements. Lavender is one of the most versatile crops out there, and if you spend some time learning how to use it yourself, you stand to make even more money.
3. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are some of the most prolific members of the species, and they’re widely used in gourmet dishes. A single 10×10-foot space devoted to mushroom cultivation could yield upwards of $15,000 profit. You can even learn to grow mushrooms from their own spores for a self-sustaining operation. They make great growers in a small space as you can easily construct a mushroom terrarium from any plastic crate with a tight-fitting lid and stack them to maximize your space for growing. Check out our guide to Growing Mushrooms With a $50 Starter Kit for more info.
4. Landscaping Shrubs
Groundcovers and landscaping shrubs are very profitable and require little space or initial investment. Seedlings for shrub varieties like juniper and holly can be found for less than a dollar, grown in a 50c plastic pot, and sell for around $15. They have high demand for both homeowners and landscaping companies and only need about a square foot of space to grow in.
5. Elephant Garlic
Gourmet garlic varieties are considered vastly superior to the run of the mill garlic you find at the grocery store and retail for $6 to $8 per pound. Elephant garlic is particularly prolific, and can yield up to 1,500 pounds from a tenth of an acre. Garlic is also particularly hearty, and will hold up under a variety of weather conditions.
To take advantage of ginseng growing, you’ll need some time and space, but it’s hard to beat in terms of sheer profitability. The roots take six years to grow, but a half-acre crop of ginseng could net you around $100,000. During the time it takes the roots to mature, you can also make some quick cash selling harvested seedlings and “rootlets” to those that want to start their own growing operation.
A potted bamboo plant can retail for anywhere between $50 and $200 depending on the variety, size of the plant, and local demand. Bamboo has become so popular for homeowners and landscapers that growers regularly report difficulty keeping up with orders for plants. It’s also incredibly prolific, and healthy shoots can grow up to two feet in a 24-hour period. If you pick a variety that thrives in your local climate, it’s easy to profit from this popular plant.
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Image: ©iStock.com/CBCK Christine
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