Easiest Way To Launch A Market Gardening Business

Market Gardening

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

It is not as daunting of a task as it may sound to transform your gardening passion into a profitable business. If you have a passion for gardening, you can turn that passion into a profitable business by engaging in market gardening. This is the kind of labor that doesn't feel like work at all!

Because there are no significant costs associated with purchasing machines or chemicals, the fact that you make money from this activity is more of a reward for the effort and enthusiasm you put into it. In addition, market gardening is a natural stepping stone to this shift if you wish to change your lifestyle to one that is more agriculturally based.

We will assist you in getting prepared for the establishment of your market garden with this comprehensive guide. We will lead you through all you need to know about market gardening, from assisting you in gaining an understanding of what a market garden is to assisting you in selecting markets. Therefore, get up and get ready to cultivate some financial wealth in your garden.

Market Gardening

What Exactly Is The Art of Market Gardening?

The practice of market gardening typically takes place in relatively small plots of land and involves the cultivation of a wide variety of crops, flowers, and fruits for sale. You can begin with as little as one acre of the property when you're just getting started, but you have the option to gradually increase that amount.

When compared to a home garden, market gardening is a far more involved and significant activity; nonetheless, it is in no way comparable to large-scale agriculture. Since you may consider it to be a modest venture, there is no requirement for large machinery, pesticides, or chemicals to be used in its operation.

Manual effort of a fairly strenuous nature is essential for accomplishing this task. Even so, if you have a passion for gardening, you will like this book. To get started with your own market garden, you do not need to be a professional farmer or have any kind of formal degree in farming.

Market Gardening

A cursory examination of the past reveals that market gardening is a return to an earlier model of agricultural subsistence. This is evident from a review of the history of the practice.

The Origins And Development Of Market Gardening

In order to provide food for the expanding population beginning in the 13th century, you can develop small vegetable plots into larger vegetable gardens.

New edible plants were brought to Europe in the 16th century as a result of explorations that included maritime trips. The subsequent trend that came to prominence was market gardening or vegetable gardens.

During this time period in Paris, ornamental gardens were even converted into vegetable gardens.

Agriculture was automated as a result of the major changes brought about by industrialization in the 19th century. During the 20th century, it rose in tandem with the continuously expanding human population.

What followed was an increase in rivalry, the beginning of the employment of middlemen, and an increase in the utilization of various forms of mechanization, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Market Gardening

But now, due to shifts in food patterns as well as concerns about the environment, market gardening is becoming an option once more.

The main idea here is that market gardening can satisfy the ever-increasing demand for natural and organic products. In point of fact, this is a textbook illustration of the saying "health is wealth"!

What Kind Of Crops Can Be Grown In A Market Garden?

Planning what you will cultivate in a market garden is necessary because setting one up requires you to do so. Your individual tastes will determine whether you focus on growing fruits or veggies in your backyard garden.

There are a variety of considerations to take into account when selecting crops for a market garden because its primary purpose is to supply the neighborhood marketplace. However, this does not exclude you from cultivating whatever it is that you have in mind.

You don't need to delve into a treasure trove of specialized information in order for your market garden to be successful; all you have to do is select the appropriate crops to grow.

Market Gardening

This is something that is dependent on the conditions and preferences of the market in your area. You need to take into consideration a variety of criteria, including the potential returns on investment, the level of demand, and the available growing space for each crop.

The fact that you are able to cultivate a wide range of plants makes market gardening one of the most attractive career options.

 try to steer clear of crops that flood the market and are already supplied by huge farms if at all possible.

In the following parts of this post, when we discuss this topic in greater depth, we shall do it as follows: Let's talk about what you can cultivate in your market garden for the time being.

1. Mushrooms

If you're just getting started with market gardening, mushrooms are reliable partners to have by your side. They often require very little room, can be grown at low cost, and result in significant financial gain.

You don't need to worry about the weather is appropriate. When using the appropriate mushroom kit, it is possible to cultivate mushrooms inside bags.

This provides you with the opportunity to control the temperature, humidity, and light levels in accordance with their requirements.

It's important to keep in mind that the crop cycle for mushrooms is only six weeks long because they develop so quickly.

Mushrooms of the gourmet variety, such as oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms, are quite popular in restaurants, among chefs, and in specialized food stores.

Because button and Portobello mushrooms have been oversaturated in the market with industrial suppliers, you might want to consider going with them instead.

A useful hint is to make use of straw or sawdust as a substrate that has been sterilized in order to avoid contamination from the spores of wild mushrooms.

2. Lavender

lavender

When it comes to market gardening, this lovely blueish-purple plant is not only attractive to the senses of sight and fragrance, but it is also a plant that can provide a significant amount of revenue.

When it comes to cultivating lavender, you won't need to worry about breaking the bank.

Lavenders typically do not require the addition of fertilizers or irrigation. It is possible to propagate new lavender plants using cuttings taken from elder plants. In addition to this, you may make money off of this plant at any time of the year.

Florists are an easy market for you to sell it to, regardless of whether it is fresh or dry. Making lavender essential oil from fresh lavender flowers is a viable option, and this plant dries up quite easily.

You can use dried lavender to make decorative items for the home, such as elaborate flower bouquets, stunning wreaths, potpourri, and other items.

After all, who doesn't want their homes to be filled with the calming beauty and intoxicating scent of lavender?

lavender

Aside from that, you may use lavender to manufacture a wide variety of products with added value. These products include essential oils, aromatherapy products, skincare products, and herbal tea, and you can even use them for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

Growing this plant requires very little financial investment, particularly when one considers the many ways in which you can use it in a variety of contexts. Lavender, a plant that is cherished by a great number of people, can not only beautify your garden but also improve the quality of your life.

Although it's not difficult to cultivate, lavender does best in soil that drains properly.

3. Bamboo

This cold-hardy plant is highly prized not just for its flexibility but also for the ease with which it can be maintained, much like lavender.

There are varieties of bamboo that are hardy enough to make it through the winter, even when the temperature dips below freezing.

It will take your brand-new bamboo plant between 8 and 10 weeks to reach its full height after it has been planted. On the other hand, it can take a bamboo plant anywhere from three to five years to achieve its full maturity.

Bamboo

Aside from this one requirement, you do not need to replant it each year, and you will witness it snowball and grow back on its own as well as on its own as it is a form of grass.

Bamboo is capable of producing its own naturally occurring antibacterial chemicals. This is wonderful news since it indicates that bamboo plants require very little intervention from pesticides.

As a plant for landscaping, bamboo is particularly popular due to its ability to look stunning when grown in beautiful pots.

It should not come as a surprise that the demand for bamboo is only continually expanding as a result of the numerous applications of bamboo, which range from the preparation of bamboo shoots to the fabrication of hedges, screens, furniture, kitchenware, flooring, and now textiles and fabric.

4. Ginseng

Ginseng is most well-known for the medical benefits it provides. Panax ginseng, sometimes known as Korean ginseng, and American ginseng are the two most common varieties of ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

Ginseng

The wilds of the Northern and Eastern United States are where you are most likely to come upon it.

If you want to grow ginseng on a modest scale, it won't cost you much, if anything at all. In your backyard garden, you can cultivate ginseng.

But since ginseng cultivated in the wild or in an environment that simulates the natural environment is in such high demand, growing it under forest cover is preferable.

The fact that wild-grown ginseng is becoming hard to come by has contributed to an increase in demand for the product. Because mature ginseng roots may only be collected after a period of six years, purchasing ginseng is a good investment in the long run.

However, farmers can also make a large income from the sale of younger "rootlets" of ginseng, which can be found in the ginseng root.

It is not necessary to spend a great deal of time caring for your ginseng, other than a few hours once or twice every week.

This herb garden requires very little space but nevertheless brings in a respectable amount of revenue each year. Even while seed output in the third year may not be very high, it will continue to rise with each passing year.

Ginseng

Ginseng is also utilized in the preparation of herbal tea and energy beverages, in addition to its application in Asian cuisine. You will have the opportunity to expand into other markets as a result of this.

Because of both its growing scarcity and its consistently strong demand, its price is only likely to continue to go up in the market.

5. Saffron

There is a good reason why saffron is referred to as the "red gold." It is both extremely valuable and extremely expensive, making it one of the most valuable spices.

The flaming-red stigmas of the crocus flower are where saffron gets its color. Saffron is only produced in trace amounts by each individual bloom. However, even a limited amount of area can support the growth of a significant quantity of blossoms.

saffron

This is a very simple crop to cultivate. It does not require much, other than sandy soil that is light and has good drainage. Summers and falls that are both warm and dry are ideal for its growth. However, a little rain won't make a difference at all.

A helpful hint: you can utilize every part of the crocus flower. Make homemade potpourri and cosmetics using flower petals as a decorative element.

You can either increase your productivity by using the bulb of this flower, or you can sell it to other farmers.

Saffron is well-known for a number of reasons, including its flavor and color, its medical significance, and even its use as a dye that is long-lasting. Because of the high prices, it fetches on the market, and saffron is an extremely profitable crop that can help your market gardening enterprise flourish.

6. Microgreens

Growing microgreens can provide you with a low-cost entry point into market gardening. In addition, you don't need any prior knowledge of gardening or any extra room in order to grow your own microgreens. Even at full maturity, these plants do not take very long (around 10–20 days).

Microgreens

Microgreens come in an incredible diversity of unique and unusual types, all of which may be grown at home. It is recommended, however, that you nurture common ones such as sunflower, radish, basil, arugula, or pea shoots in order to get the greatest results.

Microgreens are easily marketable, particularly if the people who buy from you are already familiar with the product.

A helpful hint: microgreens are simple to cultivate. You may either cultivate them the traditional way by placing some soil in a tray or experiment with growing them hydroponically.

In point of fact, you can get your feet wet with microgreens on a tiny scale, and then if you decide to grow, you can put those seeds away. They can also be grown either indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference.

Microgreens have become one of the most lucrative plants as a result of the increased demand for organic and healthy food. This is why microgreens have found their way into the food trend.

Caution: It's best to avoid keeping microgreens for an extended period of time. When they are sold fresh, they taste the best.

7. Heirloom Tomatoes

There is always the possibility of cultivating common plants in your market garden. On the other hand, you might discover that the market is already saturated with what it is that you want to cultivate.

You might play it smart and try to differentiate yourself from the competition by offering customers a different type of the same plant.

In this context, selling heirloom tomatoes can be a highly successful way to set oneself apart from the competition.

It's important to note that the wrinkly surface and varied colors of these rocks make for a really arresting appearance. Each heirloom tomato is distinct from the others in terms of its color, flavor, and taste.

In contrast to the ordinary tomatoes that you can obtain in the supermarket, these tomatoes have a distinct flavor that appeals to the customers.

These tomatoes have a price tag that is twice as much as what is typically paid for tomatoes. Put them in hoop houses so that you can receive a better harvest.

Tomatoes

You have the option of trying a number of different types, including Costoluto Genovese, Brandywine, Green Zebra, Stupice, and Black From Tula.

They reach maturity in roughly sixty to ninety days and are becoming an increasingly popular choice among consumers. The meaty flavor of Costoluto Genovese makes it an excellent candidate for use as a sauce for pasta.

Caution: Because of the thin peel on their fruit, heirloom tomatoes should not be transported over long distances or stored for a lengthy period of time.

8. Salad Mix

Some popular choices for salad greens are romaine lettuce, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, and spinach. You could either sell these on their own or put together your own salad mix with them.

The salad mix market has seen significant growth in popularity in recent years. After harvesting them, you will be able to sort them according to the requirements of your clients, the types you grow, and the various times of the year.

Salad mix

A helpful hint is to incorporate mache and Asian greens into your mix, and this will get you a lot of favor. Making a living off of selling salad mixes provides you the freedom to express your creative side.

You might even use some edible flowers in your dishes, such as pansies, pea blooms, bachelor's button or cornflower, tulip petals, borage, beebalm, violets, or hibiscus.

It doesn't take very long for greens to reach the point where they can be harvested, and in most cases, it takes no more than a few weeks. You can protect the cabbages from flea beetles and other unwanted insects by employing the usage of a lightweight row cover.

You may even build tiny mixes for stir-fry and sautés to match your salad mix. You might also incorporate microgreens into the mixture if you grew them yourself.

Your primary customers for these blends are going to be Asian and Southern restaurants, as well as grocery stores and wholesale vendors.

9. Cut Flowers

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You may not realize it just yet, but even while you sit by the window and watch the gorgeous heads of your flowers bob up and down in the garden, you are already running a small business. When starting out in market gardening, one of the best things to focus on is growing cut flowers.

Flowers are not particularly demanding, and they are not particularly expensive. Many types of flowers can be grown in a wide variety of environments, and you won't need anything else aside from the standard gardening implements and seeds you already have.

The returns from flowers are obtained in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to this, during the growing season, they bring in a reasonable amount of money. You can cultivate flowers as a side hobby, as a full-time occupation, or even in conjunction with your vegetable garden.

You can sell them in attractive bunches and bouquets, or you can sell them separately, whichever works best to charm your customers.

Locate a variety of markets where you can sell your flowers. You might sell them to florists, wholesale markets, roadside vendors, or farmer's markets directly.

flower

Tip: As a local producer, you have the opportunity to purchase flowers that are not ideally suited for transportation. You will be able to carve out a unique space for yourself in the market if you sell "premium cut flowers."

You could want to investigate flowers such as sunflowers, dahlias, peonies, lisianthus, ageratum, and zinnias for this purpose.

Yarrow, ageratum, larkspur, salvia, scabiosa, and snapdragon are some other flowers that might bring in a good profit. The cultivation of a wide range of variants of these flowers will result in a substantial increase in revenue.

10. Woody Decorations

Wooden ornamentals present themselves as lucrative offer not only because of the rising demand for them but also due to the fact that they do not require any laborious care to maintain their appearance.

When planning a market garden, it is important to select plant species that do not require a significant amount of growing space. However, you should be careful to select ones that produce a sufficient number of stems so that you can make a profit.

Woody Ornamentals

Your woodworking skills have the potential to bring in a steady income for you throughout the year. You need just experiment with animals of a variety of species.

Tip: Some species that are an excellent place to start include beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana), weigela (Weigelia Florida), hydrangea, and forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia). All of these can be found in the United States.

Compact types, dwarf varieties, and garden height woodies are suitable alternatives. Additionally well-liked are boxwood hedges.

However, an assortment of colors and textures, such as the new color variants of hydrangea and the vivid colors of rhododendrons, is certain to entice customers.

Tip: When it comes to establishing woody plants, one of the most important considerations is weed control. Covering the ground with landscape fabric and then applying layers of organic mulch on top of the fabric is an excellent strategy for dealing with this issue.

The Ten Easy Steps To Getting Started With Your Own Homegrown Market Garden

Market Gardening

In this part of the guide, we will break the process of market gardening down into ten manageable phases in an effort to make it more accessible to you.

Step 1: Locate An Appropriate Piece Of Land

When it comes to growing produce for commercial sale, this is the first step. You would want to locate land that you could live on permanently or for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to acquiring land for oneself, you will need to exercise extreme caution due to the many different considerations that go along with it.

Important aspects to take into account include the asking price of the land, the total area of the land, whether or not the site is suited for growth, and the accessibility of water.

In addition to this, the distance of the land from your current residence is an important consideration. It is in no way desirable for you to be exhausted before you have even begun your work.

Step 2: Carry Out Your Investigations

Market Gardening

It is impossible to be successful in the company without first completing an in-depth study. You need to first research the market demand for the items you intend to offer in order to make an informed decision about which plants to grow.

In order to get an accurate assessment of the market, you need to talk to the farmers who sell their wares in the nearby farmer's market. Your research into the market will also tell you what you can contribute to the market in order to attract more customers.

In the same way that we saw with the heirloom tomatoes that we discussed before, these goods end up being more desirable than normal tomatoes.

A solid business strategy is to establish a list of possible customers. If you want to deliver superior service to your consumers, you need to be knowledgeable about the services that your competitors offer.

This will also provide you the opportunity to satisfy any consumer need or want that has been left unsatisfied for such a long period of time.

Step 3: Make A Plan For What You Will Grow

planting crop

Your choice of crops ought to be based on more than just your own individual preferences. It ought to be contingent on factors such as the demand in the market, the preferences of customers, and the fertility of the soil.

When deciding what kinds of plants or flowers to cultivate, it is best to first determine how much it will cost you to raise them and how much money you stand to make from each harvest.

While there are some crops and flowers that may be grown at a low cost, there are others that need a great deal of attention, manual labor, and financial investment just to bring in enough money.

A limited amount of land is often required for market gardening. The selection of plants and flowers that don't need a lot of areas to develop but still yield a lot of harvests is a profitable business strategy.

Step 4: Establish A Production Schedule

When you plant with the intention of selling your product, this is known as market gardening. You must first establish that you are capable of continuous output before you can be certain of a constant supply of income. Because of this, developing a production schedule for your crops is absolutely necessary.

Harvest plant

Create a production calendar for yourself by thinking about what you want to plant, how many days it will take for your crop to reach maturity, and when you want to sell the products, you grow.

You will be aware of the appropriate time to begin planting, which is typically determined by the date of the first fall frost and the date of the last spring frost. You will also be aware of which plants will be available for seasonal production and which plants will be available throughout the season.

The fundamental objective of developing a production schedule is to enable the efficient operation of your garden output while at the same time satisfying the demands of the market.

Step 5: Classify The Available Workforce And Equipment

Market gardening is dependent on manual labor. However, the quantity of land you own and the types of crops you cultivate will determine whether or not you need to hire outside labor.

If you want to increase your output, you might need the assistance of labor from outside sources.

However, if you do not want to use any outside assistance, you will need to carefully organize your production. If you are just starting out in market gardening, it is recommended that you focus on cost savings as your initial goal.

Cutting back on the amount of outside labor you need will help you save money in the beginning stages of your business.

You can get started with gardening using fundamental implements such as a shovel, hand trowel, spade, rake, and hoe if you are just beginning.

You can improve the effectiveness of your work by utilizing specialized machinery such as precision seeders, wheel hoes, and so on.

Both drip irrigation and trickle irrigation are extremely common in agricultural settings. In most cases, you won't need any sort of heavy equipment to engage in market gardening. Because of this, there is a better chance of succeeding despite having a humble beginning.

Step 6: Raise Your Level Of Productivity

The concept of market gardening is predicated on the idea that it provides consumers with food that is natural, unprocessed, and fresh.

Market Gardening

Therefore, increasing productivity must be done in a natural way, regardless of the method you choose.

Fertility of the soil is necessary for this to occur. You can save money on fertilizers by substituting them with organic compost generated from chicken poop, green manure, yard waste, used coffee grounds, and other organic materials.

The application of a layer of mulch not only contributes to the fertility of the soil but also inhibits the growth of weeds.

Row coverings, low tunnels, and hoop buildings provide the crops with protection from both the searing heat and the piercing cold of the snow.

They are so tough that they can even resist blizzard conditions.

Because you can alter the environment under which plants grow, it is possible to harvest crops even when they are not in their natural growing window.

Step 7: Record Keeping

Market Gardening

It is essential for establishing the flow of your business to keep detailed records of the harvest, as well as the types of crops planted, where you planted those crops, and when you planted them.

It is important in managing pests as well as measuring the amount of manpower and equipment that is necessary.

In addition to this, it acts as the foundation upon which you can compile information and determine which crops are profitable and which are not.

Step 8: Harvest

After being picked, your product will be ready to eat in its whole. When it comes to harvesting, a great deal of manual labor is required.

You could try using simple hand drill-powered mechanical harvesters and secateurs in order to make this operation less tedious and more efficient.

Harvest plant

Step 9: Involves Cleaning, Packing, And Storing The Items

When it comes to market gardening, quality is of the utmost importance, and this is the key factor that sets it apart from production on a large scale. Be sure to give your product a careful and thorough cleaning.

You should wash it in clean dishes and under running water. In the event that the plants have a tough covering on the outside, you can need a scrub brush.

When it comes to storage, you won't go wrong with walk-in coolers or refrigerators, high-quality bins instead of plastic and mesh bags, and other options like that.

Customers are more likely to make a purchase if the packaging is nice and appealing. You can now confidently get in your car and head on over to the market.

Step 10: Select Your Target Market

Market Gardening

When you engage in market gardening, the majority of your sales will be composed of fresh food. There are several different markets where you could sell your products directly.

You could begin by selling your wares at local farmer's markets. You will even have the opportunity to acquire new customers in this location.

It's possible to be successful with on-farm markets, roadside stands, and tailgate marketing as well.

Developing relationships with the chefs who work in restaurants will result in numerous beneficial outcomes. In restaurants and even grocery stores, you can discover regular clients to do business with.

In addition, the development of various marketing tactics for market gardeners, such as subscription marketing (for instance, CSAs), and food circles, has been quite helpful.

Where Can Market Gardeners Sell Goods?

When it comes to market gardening, you don't need to worry about the industry, transportation, retailers, or middlemen and intermediates.

Market Gardening

The fact that market gardening allows you the opportunity to sell your products directly to customers is the activity's most significant benefit.

The Direct Selling Method

You have the potential to increase your earnings by doing business directly with customers.

Direct sales can take place in a variety of settings, including farmer's markets, home deliveries, roadside or on-farm stands, grocery shops, and restaurants, among other venues.

Farmer's Markets In the Area

When you first start out in the realm of market gardening, the greatest place to sell your product is at one of your community's farmer's markets.

Harvest plant

These types of markets are typically very busy with customers. Make sure that your product's packaging is spotless and appealing if you want to sell it at restaurants and supermarkets.

Whole Markets

Keep in mind that you are making a wholesale transaction when you deal with institutions of higher learning, retail food shops, and eating establishments.

When you sell to wholesale markets, you eliminate the need to invest the effort and time required to set up shop at farmer's markets and roadside stands.

Other Markets

Many more new paths have opened for market gardeners. Market gardeners now have access to additional resources, including CSAs (community-supported agriculture), U-pick operations, and food circles, all of which were developed in recent years.

If you combine this development with the growing demand for natural and organic foods, you will be well positioned to succeed as a market gardener.

Note that market gardening is a more lucrative business strategy than selling to wholesale markets because it allows you to sell your products directly to end users.

Best Market Gardening Books

Are you interested in beginning a career as a market gardener but need more information? Look at the books that are listed below. They may prove to be an enlightening read!

A Love That Will Pay Off

When it comes to market gardening, you can quote the old adage, "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." On top of that, doing what you love for a living can be quite lucrative.

You've just entered the appropriate industry if you've always had the idea to launch your own company but lacked the courage to actually do it.

Market gardening can be an excellent option, regardless of whether you want to begin on a modest scale or grow gradually.

However, you shouldn't let any notions of the romanticism of market gardening fool you. After reading this post, we can all agree that although it's gratifying, it can also be a lot of hard work.

Due to the labor-intensive nature of the process, the potential returns on your investment are directly proportional to the depth of your affection.

Now that you have the knowledge that is necessary for market gardening, hold on. What was that noise? That rototiller of yours is already turning the soil of your future!

Let's go over some of the most often asked questions regarding market gardening so we can dispel any worries or concerns you might have.

Frequently Asked Questions