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The Gardening Business for Backyard Growers

Put Your Backyard to Work for You with

For gardeners and plant lovers, it’s good to know that you can actually earn by doing what you love: planting, gardening and growing.

Okay, so chances are slim that you will get wealthy from gardening and selling produce from an averaged sized backyard. And, we would never advise to leave your secure job until you’ve replaced your income through your new business.

However, there are other wealth benefits to consider from starting your own “growing” business. With gardening, you’re also feeding your family. That’s called “phantom” income, where you benefit without it being an actual dollar in your pocket. You benefit by the dollars you’ve saved.

Your garden is feeding your family and earning additional money for you, while providing a business that allows tax deductions of all your business expenses. That’s hard to measure beyond the revenue earned, yet it still adds up to benefits, and there are so many more.

As entrepreneurs keen on the freedom the entrepreneurial life provides, and interested in business and business building, we’re fascinated with this topic. Apparently we’re in good company because whenever we write about earning from gardening or small scale farming in some form, those are always our most popular articles, and those are the kinds of books many in the GardensAll audience are most interested in buying and learning from.

Have you ever thought of making some extra cash from your backyard garden space? Many local growers earn a living by selling at Farmer’s Markets. Those who do the best are constantly adding to their offerings. And it’s a natural fit.

Let’s say you decide just to sell tomatoes in your first year, tomatoes being one of the most profitable crops to sell. So you go all out and grow lots of tomatoes. Tomatoes have a shelf life, so what happens if you don’t sell them all in a given week? Well, you can make salsa, can it and sell that. You can make other things too, such as homemade spaghetti sauce—marinara, and diced tomatoes, tomato soup, etc. Now, each week you have additional items people can buy from you from your one tomato crop.

That’s just one idea that—like the garden—sprouts into many, which produces many. That’s thinking like nature.

Nature is abundant.

We found another story of possible profits from a backyard gardener that we’re sharing here. LOVE this story!

At Profitable Plants they’re talking about more than that just gardening for profits, they’re talking about starting a Backyard Nursery!

money garden

How to Start a Profitable Backyard Plant Nursery

Excerpted from

Starting a backyard plant nursery can be a wonderful way to turn your love of plants and gardening into cash. It’s one of the best ways to “bootstrap” a few hundred dollars into a good income.

When people think of a plant nursery, the local garden center usually comes to mind. Fact is, most garden centers produce very few of the plants they sell. Instead, they purchase their plants from specialty nurseries, who actually grow the plants.

You’ll find specialty plant nurseries ranging in size from tiny backyard nurseries to giant regional wholesale nurseries, who might supply retailers in several states. That’s the beauty of  the plant nursery business – there’s room for everyone – from “mom & pop” part-timers to corporate giants.

“There’s room for everyone, from mom and pop part-timers to corporate giants.”

And it might surprise you to find out just how many of the corporate giants got started  as backyard growers with just a “shovel and a wheelbarrow”.

The secret to making good money with a backyard plant nursery is to specialize in plants that are in demand and can be container-grown to save space. A relatively new development in container growing – called the “pot-in-pot” system, allows growers to produce larger trees and shrubs without the back-breaking hand digging and high water consumption required by field growing. For smaller plants, container growing saves time, water and transplanting.

Growers who live in a small town or rural area can also make a good income focusing on wholesale plant sales to retail nurseries and landscapers around their region. A local grower who specializes in ornamental grasses sells her entire year’s production to retail garden centers in a city 90 miles away.

One of the best “perks” about having your own plant nursery is being able to buy wholesale at deep discounts. There are hundreds of wholesale nurseries that specialize in what are called in the trade “plugs, liners & whips”, which are different types of plant starts. All you’ll need to do is re-plant them in a larger pot – say a 5″ or 6″ size – and wait a year or so for the plants to grow to saleable size. The profit margins are amazing – you’ll find starts for 25 cents that can be re-sold in a year for $5 – a 2000% markup!

Growing for profit is a definite hedge on inflation.

But it gets even better! Once you’ve got your “mother” plants, you can easily propagate more by cuttings or root division, and reduce your plant costs to zero. This can really make a difference with groundcovers and ornamental grasses, for example, because most buyers need dozens of plants, not just one or two.

Wow! Is your mind racing as to possibilities? For more, visit

Next, business ideas for Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers.

Business Idea for Millennials and Gen Y


This is a very viable business possibility for anyone, with a little land. From millennials with families wanting to have at least one stay-at-home parent to baby boomers and seniors… this is something anyone with a patch of land and a love of plants—and that’s YOU because you’re visiting a gardening site—can do!


Business Idea for Baby Boomers


This idea is especially beneficial for baby boomers looking toward an uncertain retirement income. Many baby boomers already own real estate, so they have lawn they can give up to a crop that can actually earn revenue for them. And… where else can you go to earn 2000% return on your investment?

Before you tear out from your seat to start making plans and potting plants, research is important. We start with some of the most profitable plants to grow, next.

Some Most Profitable Plants to Grow

Excerpted from


1. Ginseng – If you have a small vacant plot and a touch of patience this plant can reap huge rewards. Why patience? Because growing ginseng can take up to six years, as you will have to wait until the roots have fully-matured to harvest them for consumption. If that is well-beyond your timeframe, you can also sell young “rootlets” to other growers to bring some return on investment within a manageable time-frame. Over the six year period, growers can make as much as $100,000 on a half-acre plot from seeds, rootlets and mature roots. With ginseng, early birds most definitely do not get the worm.


2. Gourmet Mushrooms – They also yield an incredibly high return per square foot. The two most popular gourmet mushroom varieties are oyster and shiitake, which are usually available fresh or dried in most grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets. Of the two options, oysters are especially productive. They can produce up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing space area each year. When selling direct to the consumer, such as restaurants or at Farmer’s Markets, oysters can bring in $7 per pound. That means a 10 x 10 square foot patch of mushrooms can bring in $17,500 per season.2)


3. Bamboo Unlike trees and many shrubs, this plant matures quickly and can bring in huge profits for growers. And maturing fast is an understatement; bamboo has been known to grow over two feet in one 24 hour period. So if you decide to go with this plant, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Bamboo is growing in popularity as a landscaping plant, and growers say their product is only increasing in demand each year. You may assume bamboo only grows in tropical climates, but these towering plants also thrive in hardy, sub-freezing weather. While the culinary uses of this plant are limited, landscapers are increasingly using bamboo as a hedge, screen, or shade plant. Many bamboo nurseries are reporting solid sales of potted bamboo at prices up to $200 per plant.

shutterstock_3586563714. Herbs – Considering many herbs can grow on windowsills with limited light during winter months, this bodes well for growers looking to incorporate a plant that doesn’t require excessively demanding attention. The herbs in highest demand are fresh culinary herbs for grocery stores and restaurants. Farmer’s Markets are once again an excellent place to offer these plants. One way to offer them is as a 4-herb windowsill size garden that is purchased ready-to-snip. Growers may also snip and package themselves – dried or undried – for patrons looking for instant enjoyment. There’s nearly no end to the choices of herb to grow, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks.3)

The 10 Most Profitable Herbs to Grow

Excerpted from

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Marsh Mallow
  • St. John’s Wort

Now, this article from ProfitablePlants.com4) did not have a date, so if growing herbs for profit is of interest to you, best to do a little research to make sure these are still the best-selling herbs. We suggest starting with your country agricultural extension office. Some of them publish free reports like this that are specific to your growing region and market.

If you’re interested in connecting with others who are growing for profit—or planning to—you’re invited to join our Facebook group: Planting for Retirement.

Cover Photo Source: Trent Johnson5)

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