Being a real farmer is, at it’s heart, about being a businessmen. No matter how much you love the land, your crops and your animals, if you can’t bring in the money to sustain it, you’ll risk losing it all. But even for small scale farmers doing it more as a hobby in their gardens, there’s room to turn an interest into a profit making enterprise depending on what you grow. At the end of the day, whatever you are producing is a good and, depending on what it is, you can probably find someone willing to pay to take some of your excess.
You can find customers for what you grow either at your front door, direct to other peoples homes or businesses, or even setting up a stall in the local market. Here are a few ideas of things you might consider growing for profit in your garden or small holding.
Gourmet Mushrooms – When growing on the small scale direct to store, you must remember that your primary competition in most cases are the large supermarkets. Given their size and purchasing power, it is nearly impossible to, point for point, beat them on products that they carry. The trick is to exploit niches that supermarkets don’t or can’t fill.
Gourmet Mushrooms are one such niche. Varieties such as Shiitake and Oyster can produce significant amounts of high value mushroom in a limited amount of space. Their high value means that supermarkets rarely carry them, and the typical buyers of such a mushroom value the freshness that only local growers can provide.
Bonsai Plants – These ornamental trees sell well, are easy to grow and are beautifully compact. Bonsai is the technique of keeping a plant artificially small, not the growing of a particular species of plant, allowing the grower to produce a variety of different kinds of trees. Different products you might consider growing to sell include “starter” kits of young trees, as well as fully matured older plants for collectors and individuals wanting a plant ready for their home or garden.
Herbs – From domestic cooks to professional chefs, it’s easy to find a buyer for fresh herbs. Even practitioners of herbal and traditional medicines and their patients are eager consumers of herbs grown locally. There’s a huge range of different herbs you can grow, and because they typically don’t need much space, you can easily diversify across different plants helping to spread the risk that comes with investing in a single plant.
Flowers – Saying “it” with flowers continues to be a popular thing, whatever “it” happens to be. There’s a huge range of different plants you could grow, from Roses to tulips or even daffodils and there is lucrative money to be made targeting special holidays that are symbolized by a flower, say roses for Valentines day.
But be careful – bringing your flowers to market generally means uprooting them from the soil and, once that happens, you only have a limited time to sell them before they inevitably wilt and fade away.
Catnip – If you’re on the Internet, you’re probably already aware of the remorseless march of cute felines on all corners of the world wide web. With the domestic cat fast becoming the number one pet throughout the world, that just means the market for Catnip is going to grow and grow as indulgent owners spoil their pets.
Catnip is cheap to plant, easy to grow and can be sold wholesale to pet stores or direct to individuals. Indeed, entire companies, such as the maker of “Cosmic Catnip”, emerged simply from one man wanting to grow catnip for his own cat.