By Dick Handscombe Practical holistic gardener and author, originally writing as ‘Greenfingers’.
Economic times are not likely to improve for some time especially to those who do not have unique commercially employable skills and pensioners. But for those with green fingers who like growing things there are always things that can be bartered or sold.
The thing is to chose something to do or grow that requires minimal outlay, minimum risk of growing failures and will satisfy an existing but rarely met market.
Ten Ways to Make Money from Gardening
Selling Herbs to Restaurants
Herbs are always in demand by restaurants. Make a tour of local restaurants that are well known for good food that do not have a market garden and find out what herbs they use and whether they would welcome a regular supply of fresh organic herbs. Most will have a drier so you won’t need to do the drying for non seasonal use. Most of what they need will be easily propagated from root cuttings to quickly establish sizeable clumps or a line alongside the vegetable plot or along the side of a path or drive or are easily raised from seed.
Sell Herb Collection and Flower Window Boxes
Find an inexpensive supply of plastic window boxes and plant up herb collections for sale to the general public in a local market.
There are thousands of windowsills that need brightening up on hotels, office buildings and homes. Develop a few unique, attractive and low maintenance seasonal plantings designs for ‘spring and summer’ and ‘autumn and winter’.
Make up samples and visit likely customers and again try local regular markets or just concentrate on markets around Easter and Christmas time. It’s surprising how a hobby can grow into a full scale business
Check with local health shops whether they would be willing to advertise window boxes or other inexpensive containers of organic long cropping cut and come again salad leaves and the fast growing root crop radishes..
Plant up and hire out similar window boxes in your neighbourhood. When crops are finished customers bring back the window box or phone up for a replacement.
Grow Plants to Sell
Grow attractive perennial plants that expand fast and can be propagated from root cuttings or self seeding and are seen as different. At talks we find a regular demand for interesting sages such as pineapple and velvet sage, passion flowers and sweet peas, golden marjoram and edible kalenchoes and perilla used in shiso foods and infusions said to be beneficial regarding spring allergies such as pollen.
Sell Comfrey Plants
With more and people growing their own vegetables there seems to be a regular demand for comfrey plants. Get hold of a dozen plants and split them twice a year and you will soon have a patch big enough for your own needs and cutting of cuttings for sale to local vegetable growers without having the bother or cost of potting them up and caring for them until saleable. Grown around the edge of your own vegetable patch they will also deter snails from entering.
Set up a Growing Circle
Set up a ‘Growing Circle’ – with each member specialising in growing a specific type of vegetable or flowering plant for swapping between each other and selling on to non members.
Grow Angling Worms in Your Compost Heap
When you make up new compost heaps introduce a layer of damp newspaper every six inches as you layer green and dryer material. When you empty the compost heap you will find that families of red earth worms have moved in and breed in these constantly damp areas ready to be collected and sold to local competition anglers. Make friends with the local fishing clubs.
Pine Cones can be Money!
If you have pine trees with a large annual fall of cones these are often barterable or saleable to flower shops at Christmas time and to flower arranging clubs. Taking that further find out which dried plants are difficult to source or expensive and start growing for the local flower arranging groups.
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