Growing plants for profit is a great way for anyone over 55 to turn their gardening skills into serious cash. While most of us immediately think of vegetables or salad greens, the most profitable plants are specialty crops that are not always found in a home vegetable garden. Many specialty crops can bring as much as $80,000 per acre, and are quite easy to grow.
Pick your own hours …
Best of all, most specialty crops can be grown without a full-time commitment, which makes them ideal for anyone over 55. If you have a few extra hours a week, then you can be a specialty crop grower. Here are seven specialty crops worth checking out:
1. Lavender. Growing lavender for profit can be a great way to turn your love of herbs and gardening into an solid income from selling lavender plants and the value-added products you can make, such as dried lavender bundles, lavender buds, aromatherapy products, skin-care products, sachets and herbal pillows. There are dozens of products that are easy to make and in demand by consumers who love the scent of lavender. Once planted, these long-lived plants will continue to produce hundreds of blooms every year for 15 years
2. Flowers. If you are looking for a high-value specialty crop that can produce an income in the first year, take a look at growing flowers for profit. A flower growing business has almost unlimited possibilities, from bulbs to cut flowers to dried flowers – often called “everlastings”, for their long life. It doesn’t cost much to get started growing flowers for profit either – just a few dollars for seeds and supplies. Most small growers find lots of eager buyers at the Saturday markets held in most towns.
3. Microgreens. These tiny plants are used as a garnish for main dishes, or served as a mini-salad. Unlike most other food crops, micro greens are quick to grow, ready to sell in just two weeks. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, so micro greens are a perfect crop for urban farmers who may not have access to a patch of dirt. Because micro greens are expensive, selling for $20 to $30 a pound, growers can produce a solid income in a very small space, such as on indoor shelving that uses vertical space more efficiently.
4. Ground Covers. Due to high labor costs and water shortages, ground covers are becoming the sensible, low-maintenance way to landscape. Growers like ground covers too, as they are easy to propagate, grow and sell. Bringing profits of up to $20 per square foot, ground covers are an ideal cash crop for the smaller backyard plant nursery.
5. Herbs. Growing the most popular culinary and medicinal herbs is a great way to start a profitable herb business. The most popular culinary herbs include basil, chives, cilantro and oregano. Medicinal herbs have been widely used for thousands of years, and their popularity continues to grow as people seek natural remedies for their health concerns.
6. Landscaping Trees and Shrubs. With individual plants bringing as much as $100 in a five gallon pot, many small backyard plant nurseries are enjoying success on a small scale. Those that specialize in unique or hard-to-find tree and shrub varieties can charge premium prices and still sell out each year. The secret to success is finding a “niche” that you enjoy, and then growing the varieties that simply can not be found at your average plant nursery.
7. Mushrooms. For those without space to garden, growing mushrooms for profit can produce a great return in a small space. Exotic mushrooms, such as oyster and shiitake, make sense, as they can be grown indoors without soil. Oyster mushrooms, for example, produce around 25 pounds per square foot of growing space in a year’s time. At the current price of $6 a pound, that’s $15,000 worth of mushrooms from a 10’x10′ space! Exotic mushrooms do not travel well, so small local growers will always have an edge over distant producers. At our local Saturday market, the oyster mushrooms are also the first items to sell out.
These are my favorite profitable plants, as they all enjoy strong demand year after year, yet can be grown by anyone who has, or can learn a few basic gardening skills. Given the right care, these specialty crops can grow into a sizable income for you. To discover more, visit: www.profitableplantsdigest.com and www.profitableplants.com