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Gardens are ideal labs for innovation. They’re the perfect place to try new things and refine the techniques that you’re already using. With a little ingenuity, gardening can also be a clever way to expand your wallet. While many people plant a garden with the thought of saving a little money, there are several paths a savvy gardener can take to capitalize on their interest to make money.
Discovering How to Make Money Gardening
Gardens are as unique as the people who tend them. While there are many ways that you can use a garden to grow your bottom line, there’s no one strategy that’s guaranteed to fill every gardener’s wallet.
To find the right opportunity, consider your garden carefully. Be honest as you evaluate its size and potential. Think about your time and resources. What are you willing to invest? Then, explore ideas for how to make money gardening.
Sell Your Harvest
The most obvious way to make money is to simply sell your harvest. If you just want a little extra cash, you can take whatever your garden produces to market. The best way to go about this depends on what you have to sell:
- Gardeners who live on a well-traveled road may choose to set up a table or stand at the front of their property and sell their goods on the weekend.
- People with large harvests of perishable produce will want to ensure that they get their goods in front of lots of buyers. Taking a table at the farmer’s market or community yard sale can be a good solution.
- Growers with fruits and vegetables can reach out to local restaurants and grocery stores to see if they’d be interested in purchasing the products that they have to offer.
- Gardeners who produce beautiful blooms and decorative stems often do well at farmer’s markets. Connecting with florists can also provide an outlet for the inventory.
Before you set up your table, head off to the farmers market, or reach out to the other business owners, check the internet to determine what the rules are for selling your wares in your location. Towns and homeowners associations may have limits about selling from your home. Some states require permits for raw fruits and vegetables, but flowers are unregulated. Some set monetary thresholds, so gardeners with small inventories are unlikely to trigger any oversight. Others don’t have any requirements to sell homegrown produce. Since the rules vary so widely, it’s vital that you do your research before launching any business venture.
Do your sunflowers make everyone smile? Are your tomatoes the talk of the town? Does everyone ask how your watermelons and pumpkins grow? Both novice and experienced gardeners like the idea of getting their plants off to a great start, so they’re certainly interested in snagging the best seed. If your plants win praise, consider cashing in by selling the seeds. Some states require licenses to sell seeds. Check the rules with your state’s Department of Agriculture.
If seed packets seem boring, add flair to your seed sales by crafting seed bombs. Typically used for floral seeds that won’t receive formal planting, seed bombs seal a mix of potting soil and seeds inside a clay shell. The seed bombs can be tossed anywhere that’s vaguely hospitable and ignored. As the protective clay shell breaks down, it manages moisture and shelters the soil and seeds until roots are established so that the flowers grow.
Growing plants from seed takes patience and skill. Starting with a plant offers eager gardeners a much-appreciated shortcut. Selling plants or cuttings can be a handy way to connect with members of the gardening community and make extra funds.
Selling plants may be more complicated than you expect. Again, many states require licenses to sell plants. However, you’ll also need to learn about plant patents. As the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office explains, plant patents protect distinct or new cultivars for 20 years. During that period, no one is allowed to sell them without the permission of the patent holder. Doing so can result in hefty fines. To stay out of trouble, you’ll also want to avoid selling banned plants.
Rent Your Garden as a Backdrop
Gardeners aren’t the only ones who enjoy getting outside. Artists are often enthusiastic about finding interesting spaces, and many are willing to pay for the privilege.
Is there a photographer who takes senior portraits for local students? If there’s an area of your garden that’s perfect for pictures, they may be interested in negotiating with you for the chance to offer some outdoor packages. Likewise, local artists may appreciate the opportunity to try some sketching or en plein air painting.
Peddle Pictures of Your Garden and Its Products
There are countless songs, poems, and stories praising the beauties of nature. Advertisers are eager to cash in on the human urge to connect with greenery, so pictures of fantastic gardens and the plants and greenery that combine to make them are in demand.
Shutterstock currently has more than 2 million royalty-free images of strawberries available. The site, which says it’s paid out more than $1 billion in the last 15 years, accepts submissions. A good smartphone or digital camera is all that’s needed to fulfill the technical requirements, and your garden could provide plenty of source material for images. You would start earning when your work is licensed.
Sell Foodstuffs like Jams and Jellies
Jams, jellies, and preserves are farmstead favorites because they offer a tasty way to transform perishable fruits and veggies into long-lasting foodstuffs that won’t require refrigeration. Pickles and hot sauces are newer entries that are quickly gaining popularity.
Increased shelf stability is the reason many opt to sell items like these. While transforming the things you grow in your garden into products takes more effort than simply selling the raw material, selling items with longer shelf lives gives you more time to market your goods. However, you’ll need to investigate the rules for selling homemade food. These vary by location.
Sell Garden-fresh Candles
You don’t have to be a good cook to transform the fruits of your garden into highly desirable, shelf-stable goods. A gorgeous, fresh-smelling candle is something that many people will pay for, so if you can consistently deliver high-quality candles using items from your garden, you could have a lucrative sideline. Candles are shelf-stable, so they’re easily stockpiled until you find a suitable audience. Farmer’s markets, craft fairs, and online shoppers may all be interested, especially around the holidays.
Although candles may seem simple, there are rules you’ll need to follow to ensure your customers’ safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers a basic guideline, but states have differing regulations, so take some time to investigate the rules for your location.
Potpourri is a mixture of dried plant materials that releases a pleasant aroma. While it should be kept out of reach of small children and animals, it’s often presented as a safer alternative than scented candles since there’s no need for a flame to release the scent. There also seems to be less regulation, although you should always check your state’s rules. Potpourri could be the perfect product for a patient gardener who enjoys working to find the right blend of ingredients to deliver the best scents.
Sell Garden-fresh Soaps
If you want to make money, selling soap can be a great way to clean up. In 2022, the global value of the industry of $43.31 billion, and it’s expected to grow to 67.18 billion by 2030, according to Fortune Business Insider. The same source notes that “consumers in North America are inclined toward the use of premium products, and they are greatly fascinated with herbal and organic products that are usually highly priced.”
Incorporating flowers, herbs, or other ingredients from your garden can help you develop a brand that will stand out and attract buyers in what can be a crowded market. Take time to review the regulations to determine whether your product falls under the purview of the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s best to know the rules that you must follow and what words you can use on your labeling.
Create Arrangements for Sale
If you have a gift for presentation, consider using the raw materials in your garden to create arrangements. The possibilities depend on what your garden grows:
- Floral arrangements using fresh-cut flowers. These are perfect for homes, restaurants, and special-occasion centerpieces. They can range from elegant to simple.
- Floral arrangements using dried flowers. An autumn favorite, arrangements of dried flowers are more subtle, but they last longer.
- Corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets using fresh-cut flowers. Students attending special events and wedding parties delight in having floral favors to enrich their celebration.
- Container gardeners of fresh flowers. People who cannot maintain a full-sized garden are often thrilled to have a miniature one for their porch, patio, or living room. Assembling pots of compatible florals as container gardens is frequently a winning strategy. These attractive pots can sell well at farmer’s markets and other public sales.
- Container gardeners of herbs or small veggies. Kitchen gardens aren’t as flashy as flowering gardens, but they appeal to cooks. Putting together herbs or small veggies like peppers, or cherry tomatoes can be a profitable combination.
Be a Consulting Gardener
If you’ve got a relatively small garden, you may not have enough raw material to make selling it worthwhile. You’ve still got a valuable product: your knowledge. When everyone is in awe of what you can accomplish with your green thumb, build a business by helping others achieve similar results. You could provide garden designs, offer basic garden set up services, make private lessons available for novice gardeners, or deliver advice when an established gardener is stumped by a problem.
Write an E-book
In the past, getting published required running a gauntlet of agents, editors, and publishing houses. Now, you can go that route. Or, you can opt to self-publish. Some authors opt to craft their e-books independently by arranging for things like editing, cover art, formatting, and marketing on their own. Others prefer to use comprehensive services like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Sharing your gardening knowledge in an e-book offers many potential advantages. For starters, if it’s done well and marketed properly, it can be a source of income that helps to establish you as an authority and boosts your other endeavors. In addition, it may provide passive income in the future. Because e-books can be inexpensive, they don’t need to be lengthy, however, you’ll want to be certain that your work is accurate, knowledgeable, and useful. Having it checked for grammar, spelling, and formatting errors is also smart. These issues can detract from a reader’s experience and result in negative ratings, which could hurt your credibility and the book’s sales.
Offer Lessons in Your Area
Craft stores, garden centers, and even libraries are often eager to lure patrons in with free or low-cost classes. Community colleges will hire people willing to teach art seminars or gardening classes.
Passing on what you’ve learned can be rewarding. While interacting with students may seem intimidating at first, it helps you refine your teaching style and your lessons. You’ll get a chance to discover the best pacing and see what explanations make sense to your students. You can also use their questions and class discussions to tell where further clarification is needed.
Create an Online Class
For the fall 2021 semester, more than 60% of students at post-secondary institutions that grant degrees took online courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Roughly 30% took exclusively online courses. Meanwhile, others were exploring their interests via online learning organizations that don’t necessarily hand out traditional degrees. Some of these groups only share content from those they deem experts, but others will allow anyone to join their ranks of instructors.
If the idea of teaching appeals, consider creating an online class for a platform like Udemy. You’ll need to assemble an appealing lesson and craft a quality video. Then, follow the steps to upload the video to the platform. With Udemy, you retain control of your content. You’ll also have access to tools to assist you with marketing and branding. It takes time to build a following. However, if you are successful in gaining an audience and continue to add new classes, online classes can be a handy source of passive income as students find you and consult your earlier lessons.
Establish a Gardening Blog
Setting up a gardening blog gives you a chance to share your joy and your knowledge. More importantly for your goal of making money from gardening, it’s an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority on the subject and advertise your projects. Keep your blog active and informative, and you’ll be able to use social media to connect with your audience as well.
The internet is a big place, so it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. To get the most from your blog, you’ll need to keep providing great content regularly. Mastering essentials like search engine optimization, or SEO, and website security will also help. If you network with others in the gardening community and see your community grow, you may encounter new opportunities, including the option to monetize your blog or social media by incorporating advertising or sponsored posts.
Avoiding Scams Targeting Those Who Want to Make Money Gardening
Whenever you’re trying to break into a new business venture, you must be wary of scammers and others who would take advantage of your lack of experience. Many find the scammers easier to identify. Products and opportunities that are simply unnecessary or bad ideas can be harder to spot. Still, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
When you want to make a profit, bargains are especially tempting. However, falling for a fraud won’t help your bottom line. As you’re shopping for supplies or services for your new venture, shop smart:
- Do your homework. Vet vendors as needed by reading reviews, checking their websites, or visiting the Better Business Bureau.
- Know red flags. Prices that are far too good, websites full of errors, strange quantities, time limits, and absences of return policies are danger signs.
- Recognize the lure of the exotic. Scammers often promise rare or strange colors, flavors, or sizes of plants. Photoshop is readily available, so seeing isn’t believing.
Know the Rules
When you’re working to make money from your garden, you’re working to establish a business. Businesses of all sizes are governed by various rules and regulations. Learning what these rules are, ensuring that you’re in compliance, and keeping all the necessary records can protect you from both costly fines and scammers.
Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Gardening businesses do too. Much like a plant that flourishes in one soil and climate will struggle to thrive in a different situation, strategies for making money with a garden should be tailored to the garden and the gardener to achieve the best results. If you’re interested in cashing in on your love of gardening, don’t hesitate to explore your options thoroughly. There are certainly plenty of attractive opportunities.