In this guide we will discuss how to make money from herbs and vegetables you grow from home.
Front yard farmer’s markets are a common sight in rural areas. Just travel a few miles out of town in late summer and find two or three selling fresh tomatoes, peppers, corn and other vegetables. The owners of these little stands are making money selling their home-grown produce and today, locally grown food is making a big comeback.
Grocery stores, restaurants and individuals are scarfing up locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs at a fantastic rate, so if you have a garden, why not take advantage of it? There is no reason people should have to drive out into the country to get a basket of fresh, home-grown produce.
The first thing that must be done is to check with the local municipality to see if a license to make money from your garden is necessary.
Some municipalities charge a fee for garage sales, so it is better to be safe than sorry and end up paying a fee that is often double or triple what the license fee would be. Getting a license is usually an easy process. Just fill out paperwork, pay the fee and you are ready to go.
The next thing that must be done is to check your home insurance policy. If you are selling outside of your property, this is not necessary.
But, if you plan to have the public come on to your property to purchase home-grown produce or to come on your property in any fashion, you need extra insurance to protect your home. If someone were to slip and fall with an injury on your property, you could be liable.
Now, on to how you can make money from your home-grown herbs and vegetables.
Selling Seeds and Plants
If you start or save your own seeds, you probably have a surplus and don’t need all you save or start. Package up seeds in paper envelopes with a nice design on them. It isn’t hard to find a pattern or use a picture taken on your cell phone to develop a pretty package that will catch buyer’s eyes.
If you plan on selling seedlings, plant them in regular seedling trays or pots. Pots or trays must be spotlessly clean when ready to sell. Water seedlings before they go on sale so they look their best.
Use your freelance graphic artist to make signs for what each type of seedling is and how to grow it, glue or tape it to a popsicle stick and stick it in the dirt of the tray or pot.
Gardeners do not often need instruction on how to plant seedlings, but this one little step shows you take interest in your business and it looks nice.
Cluster seeds and seedlings in starter packs. One must-have combination for any garden is tomatoes, peppers and basil. These companion plants enhance each other’s flavor and keep pests away. Sell a salad pack with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Selling Produce from the Garden
Always be sure to inspect anything you want to sell and make sure it is in pristine condition. It should not have any bruises or indication of rot. It should be washed off and sparkling.
Put produce in nice containers, like baskets or colorful plastic bowls. You do not have to give the container to the buyer. Just pour everything into a paper bag once it is sold and reuse the container.
You do not have to have a roadside stand to sell produce. Contact local restaurants and grocery stores. Often, they will buy produce in bulk to sell or use at their location. Also check with the local farmer’s market.
Purchasing a table and selling there is often worth the effort. Prices for tables are reasonable and you can make up the money you paid for it by selling. Another option is to check with local craft fairs and flea markets for a table. Most will allow produce to be sold.
Herbs are a big seller, and this seems to be ageless. Sell plants, seeds, fresh herbs and dried herbs. If you have room to dry your own herbs, you are in luck. You just need a big garage or barn with little indirect light coming in.
Air dry herbs by hanging them from the rafters from the stems inside brown paper lunch bags that keep out the dust. Other herbs need to be dried in other ways like with a stove or dehydrator. Basil is one of them because it turns black when air dried.
Dry herbs and put them in re-closeable Mylar bags or small jars. Make herbal tea blends and box them up to sell. Be careful about medicinal herbs. Make no claims that they work on different medical conditions.
You can say they “may” help certain conditions, but check local ordinances to see if there are any restrictions. Saying that willow bark tea will banish a headache can lead to a law suit especially if the buyer is allergic to the tea. Always include a disclaimer on the package about allergies.
Dry or fresh herbs aren’t the only thing you can do to make money. Also grow flowers that dry (i.e. strawflowers) and make potpourri to sell. Make soap, candles and pressed flower and herb cards and paper to sell at craft fairs.
Teach or Rent
Check with your local garden center, the library, YMCA or YWCA, schools and churches to see if you can give lessons or seminars on gardening. Teach on topics like saving/starting seeds, transplanting, garden plans, maintaining gardens and cooking with produce from the garden.
Many apartment dwellers wish they had a garden. If you have a large property, rent out gardening plots for those people. They rent the plot, plant and tend it and reap the harvest. Another way to make money is to rent yourself out as a gardener.
You can tend a plot on your own land for elderly or disabled folks that can’t garden themselves but want the satisfaction of watching their plants or just grow a garden on their property. They pay you to do the gardening.
Other Money-Making Suggestions
Grow garlic and braid it or sell individual bulbs. Local grown garlic is a hot commodity and individuals, restaurants and grocery stores may buy it from you.
Host a Farm to Table event. Those that have large garden areas and can cook using their own produce might want to do this event.
Make sure to check with your municipality for legal issues. You will be cooking and selling food for people to eat on your property and you may need a license and check from the health department. You can always move your farm to table event to another location, like a church that has a great kitchen.
Grow and sell pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and such during the fall. You would not believe how much money you can make around Halloween and Thanksgiving for these items.
Offer your services to till land if you have a good tiller. Backyard gardeners often do not have the funds to buy a tiller of their own and will purchase your services.
Do not limit yourself to selling in your front yard or at a farmer’s market. Set up an online account and sell online. Avoid selling fresh produce this way unless you are using a Facebook account that is local.
There are many ways to make money selling your home-grown produce, seeds and transplants. Make your garden work for you.