By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Can you make money from gardening? If you’re an avid gardener, making money from gardening is a real possibility. But is gardening profitable? Gardening can, in fact, be very profitable but requires a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, garden money making can consist of simply earning a little pocket change to spend on new gardening tools or something else you enjoy.
Are you intrigued? Let’s explore some ideas for making moneyfrom gardening.
Here are some garden money-making tips and ideas to get youstarted, many of which require nothing more than your own personal gardeningexperience:
This article was last updated on
Read more about Gardening Lifestyle
Sue Oriel has started a business growing cut flowers to sell from her garden. It’s called Country Lane Flowers, which she runs with her friend and neighbour Stephanie Bates.
And although Sue’s garden is quite large – an acre – she only uses about a tenth of it for growing cut flowers, so people with much smaller gardens could grow flowers for cutting.
Sue has re-purposed her veg patch for growing cut flowers. She wishes she’d bought a bigger greenhouse, though!
She re-purposed her veg growing patch, which is around 50ft by 50ft, which is where she grows most of the flowers. Sue does also have some cutting flowers in the ordinary beds but she says that the growing mentality is very different.
She sells flowers to local florists and does locally grown flower arrangements for weddings, parties, funerals and more.
One of Sue’s homegrown seasonal flower arrangements. She also forages for elements, such as the teasel and has added rose hips from her wildlife hedge.
Practical tips and resources to get your garden started.
Growing a garden has the potential to reduce the amount of money spent on groceries, but this depends on the costs involved in growing the crops, types and amounts of vegetables grown, yields that are derived from the garden, and other factors. So, growing a vegetable garden can save you money, if done wisely.
It’s possible to spend a small fortune on a garden. The humorous book, The $64 Tomato by William Alexander, discusses one man’s quest for the perfect garden and how it ended up costing him $64 per tomato (among other things). This astonishing figure is the result of all of the input costs (tools and equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, water, etc.) associated with gardening. These costs can add up quickly, even for a small vegetable garden. The trick to saving money with a vegetable garden is limiting the costs while maximizing yield.
While saving money may be one of the benefits to growing a vegetable garden – let’s not forget that there are others as well. Gardens are a potential means to increase our confidence in food safety and security. We know where the food is coming from. We know what chemicals were used, and we essentially eliminated the whole transportation chain to get the food to the plate. In addition, gardening is good for you. It is a great form of physical exercise, and I haven’t met a nutritionist yet who didn’t think that fresh produce was healthy.
So, growing your own vegetables can be rewarding, regardless of the potential savings. But with a few tips, it can save you some money on a grocery bill or two. First – you have to know a couple of basics of growing vegetables.
There is a wide variety of vegetables that can be successfully grown in Michigan. As I walk through the produce section of my grocery store, there are only a few things I see that are difficult to grow. The location of the vegetable garden is crucial. Nearly all vegetables need full-sun and a well-drained soil. The vegetable garden also should be located near a source of water. Michigan’s climate allows production of both cool and warm season vegetables.
Cool season vegetables (carrots, beets, lettuce, cauliflower, etc.) are planted in early spring and harvested by mid-summer. Warm season vegetables (tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, squash, etc.) are planted after the danger of frost has passed and harvested by early fall. With proper planning, it’s possible to grow two or three crops in a given area during the growing season. Using the same space for two or more crops is called succession planting. Other techniques, such as interplanting and companion planting, are other ways to make efficient use of garden space. The more efficiently you use garden space and resources the larger the potential savings.
Below are several other important factors to consider when growing a vegetable garden to save you money.
Select vegetables that you like. This is simple – you are not likely to take care of - or eat - vegetables that you don’t like. So don’t waste your time or money planting them in the garden.
Select vegetables that can be easily stored or preserved. Selecting vegetables that have a long storage life or that can easily be canned or frozen is a great way to stretch your grocery dollar. Potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, and winter squash can be stored for several months when stored at the appropriate temperature. Other vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and sweet corn, can be preserved by canning or freezing. Preserving vegetables is a great way to enjoy the “extra” produce later in the year.
Select vegetables that are expensive to buy in the grocery store. To save money, grow more expensive items, like tomatoes and melons, or large quantities of vegetables that you purchase regularly. Consider vegetables like beans, beets, onions, spinach, broccoli, peppers, carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, peas, and Swiss chard. These vegetables provide the biggest returns on your investment of space and time in the garden.
Do some research and start with a plan. Decide what you want to grow and determine what will be necessary to be successful. Plan the garden on paper first. The gardening resources from Michigan State University Extension are vast. Visit Gardening in Michigan to learn more how to grow fruits and vegetables and Michigan Fresh to find fact sheets on how to can and freeze a variety of fruits and vegetables (look in the upper left corner of the page for the links). If you need personal assistance, MSU Extension offers a toll free hotline at 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
Research and consider ways to reduce your inputs. Collect rainwater for irrigation, especially if you pay for water. Add compost and well-rotted manure to the garden to improve the soil and reduce the use of fertilizers. Practice the principles of Integrated Pest Management to control insects and diseases, reducing your reliance on pesticides. Start with high quality seeds – most are relatively inexpensive, and most can be stored for at least one or two years. Find ways to reuse containers, flats, stakes, ties, etc. Remember that saving money with vegetables usually means keeping the costs as low as possible while still growing productive plants.
Start small. Like many things, gardening takes practice. Plants will require regular watering, maintenance and harvesting. Growing many different vegetables in a large garden can be overwhelming for new gardeners and can ultimately lead to failure. Limit yourself to just a few types of vegetables the first year. When you become more confident in your abilities and resources, you can increase the size of your vegetable garden and grow a wider variety of crops.
Finally, have fun growing your own vegetables. Encourage your neighbors to grow a few vegetables as well. Visit each other’s gardens and trade “extra produce” regularly. It’s surprising how something as simple as a vegetable garden can impact your life. and hopefully your pocketbook as well!
This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
Did you find this article useful?
If you are thinking about planting, or have already planted, your vegetable garden this year, you can also make a side income by selling your extra produce to others. Several online websites cater to “entrepreneur gardeners” who are interested in selling or bartering off their excess produce.
Once you complete your free registration with The Farmer’s Garden, you can use the site to post classified ads of your excess garden produce, homemade goods or gardening tools. Payments occur in person or through off-site third-party sites such as Paypal.
The Farmer’s Garden can also be used to post ads of your unused garden plot. This might be worthwhile if you can no longer garden but would still like to enjoy fresh produce from your own land.
On this site, gardeners can register themselves by inputting their names, addresses, and the produce they wish to sell. There are also fields to fill in regarding produce quantity, desired price, and selling time range. Much like Craigslist, you create individual listings for your goods and fill in specified areas with pricing, amount, and other information.
Payments and transaction locations are set between you and your buyer. Zukeeni does offer Venmo as an online payment option, however. Venmo is kind of like Paypal and can be linked to your bank account.
Zukeeni also offers lots of useful advice and tools to gardeners about what to plant for their geographic region (and when), non-chemical fertilizers and pesticides, watering schedules, planting layouts, and more.
Keep in mind that Zukeeni requires that all sold food be raised organically i.e., without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Prepared foods like jams and canned sauces need to comply with state and local food selling laws.
Craigslist has definitely gained a reputation for harboring unsavory characters that you would not want showing up to your house. Having said that, if you still wish to use this online marketplace, you can team up with a buddy and meet potential buyers of your garden produce either at your home or elsewhere in town. The benefit of this approach is that you’ll encounter a much larger customer base that will purchase your homegrown and homemade goods. Just be careful.
This site isn’t a gardening site per se rather, it’s a neighborhood site that helps neighbors communicate with one another about area events, crime and job opportunities. You can learn if your neighborhood subscribes to Nextdoor by searching here.
If your neighborhood does subscribe to Nextdoor, you can create postings that advertise your ultra local produce and offer it in exchange for money or other services (such as lawn mowing while you’re away on vacation).
What’s great about Nextdoor is that you’re more likely to get trustworthy clientele that pay you on the spot and even advertise your produce to others through word-of-mouth. You also won’t have to travel far to deliver your goods- in fact, your next door neighbor might just come to your doorstep to buy your tomatoes or cucumbers.
Many cities and towns feature co-op businesses, including grocery stores, that are operated by member shareholders. If you are a member of a co-op grocery, you can probably sell your excess garden produce to the store. For more information on getting started, you may wish to read the following guide.
Keep in mind that, if you do get accepted as a seller in your local co-op, some rules and regulations may apply to what you can sell and in what quantities. Many co-ops require that sold produce is raised organically. Other co-ops require large amounts of produce at set intervals, so you’ll need more than just an extra bag of carrots to get started.
Unless you have a sizable garden, you won’t make much cash from your unwanted/extra produce. However, you can make a steady, year-long income if you capitalize on your extra produce and turn it into jams, jellies and sauces first. For example, a bag of heirloom tomatoes may fetch you just $10 however, once those heirlooms are transformed into marinara sauce, you could get $10-$20/jar.
You will need to read up on your state’s cottage laws before you start selling prepared foods. However, most states allow a given amount of home-prepared foods to be sold to the public without the need for health department inspections and/or commercial kitchen use.
If you don’t want to bother with food preparation, you can also earn more money by offering something to the public that’s not seen in most grocery stores. For example, the common Roma tomato is a dime a dozen in August. However, heirloom Black Crim tomatoes are hardly, if ever, available at the grocery store. If you plant just these tomatoes and sell them even in August, you are bound to find many interested parties.
Try UFO plants. At one house I have perfect UFO plants that get me upwards of 80 k in one harvest every 3 days. (about 800 for each fruit) Around $8000 from each plant. They have different value everyday.
I also grafted them to daisies and I get UFO harvests daily. $360 - $800 each. That's about $6400 per plant plus 2 daisies from a perfect daisy/UFO plant.
I really like the gardening and, yes, you can make a lot of money!
I have one household where no one has a job - they just have a huge garden, write books, make paintings, license music - richest household in my game by a long way!
I never thought gardening could be so profitable. but it is! I grafted plants and made a dragonfruit plant. I planted the fruits until I got 60 plants of dragonfruit. I harvest my plants every other day and I make 20 000 simoleon each time. On top of that I have 3 plants that produce cowberries. I plant the cowberries and sell them right after. Each cowberry plant is sold for 475 simoleon, thats about 1500 more every day.
So I just wanted to let you know that gardening is very profitable. For anyone who like to play without any cheats, that's awesome! My sim will soon move into a gigantic mansion!
I haven't quite got a grip on it either. It is either very clever or very undeveloped, IMO
I have some households that just work for a living (ie just follow a career) and it takes them a long time to start getting real money. Some careers are better than others and it depends on how many in the household work, but I have found that the households where they don't work but produce become the richest. The former households, tend to be a little work and no play. mind a lot of peeps like that in our simulat..err..I mean in real life.