They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and when it comes to gardening, many people would agree.
Gardening is a cherished pastime of many and people will gladly spend hours a day working in the garden for nothing other than their enjoyment.
If you’re a keen gardener and have always wondered about the possibility of making money doing what you love, there might be some options out there that can help you do just that.
Rather than quitting your job and becoming a full-time gardener or landscaper, there might be other options that can earn you some cash on the side.
How do you make money gardening?
If you know how to garden and do it well, there are some money-making opportunities like selling plants, herbs, and seeds, renting out garden space, and creating your own culinary oils and mixes.
You might not earn enough to make a full-time living, but you could make some extra money, so it’s worth looking into it.
There are loads of opportunities to make money your favorite pastime if you’re ready to take your hobby to the next level.
We explore all of the possible avenues, the start-up costs, and the legality of it all, so you can learn how to make money gardening and get some extra cash in your back pocket.
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Can Gardening Make Me Money?
Gardening is a great way to earn money on top of your regular paycheck, and if you’re good enough, you could even throw in your regular job.
There are a few options for making money, some better than others and some more time-intensive than others, so check out what’s possible:
- Sell plants and cuttings;
- Grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs and sell them from home or at a farmer’s market;
- Create herb and spice rubs, oils, and other condiments to sell;
- Performing general gardening tasks for people in your neighborhood;
- Sell dried seeds or newly sprouted seedlings;
- Make tea blends and sell them;
- Create homemade tinctures, salves, and skincare products using fresh ingredients from your garden;
- Leasing out part of your garden to someone else if you have enough space;
The Initial Costs and Investment
Any potential business needs a plan in place to work, and your initial investment will be one of the most important things to consider.
This amount will vary though, depending on what it is you want to do to make money and what you already have established at home.
Space is the most important thing to consider if you’re going to make money from gardening, as you’ll need a larger-scale setup than just a regular hobby gardener.
With enough room for rows of vegetables or plots to lease out to others, the rest of the costs will be minimal.
Other purchases will include additional gardening accessories and tools, seeds and plants, lighting, pots, greenhouses, or other structures.
You’ll also have to factor in potential costs for licenses and permits depending on what you plan on doing and what the local regulations and laws are in your start.
Any self-run business takes effort, so be prepared to put in a lot of your own time towards growing and maintaining your new venture, as this is where the biggest investment will be.
You’ll need to be knowledgeable in what you’re doing, market your business, and spend time dealing with customers and clients, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment.
Is It Legal to Sell My Own Vegetables?
Although it might seem simple enough to sell some carrots you’ve grown at a farmer’s market, there are rules and regulations in place and some gray areas to consider.
These are just a few of the laws in place regarding selling your produce to others, so keep these rules in mind:
- Selling at a farmer’s market will require certification from the state which you have to apply for, but in some cases, like Texas, there’s no permit required. For those that do,this is to ensure the quality of the goods being sold and, in some cases, they will need to inspect your food.
- If you plan on selling vegetables from home or dropping them off to customers, there are no laws in place on this and it doesn’t require a license.
- If you’re going larger-scale and want to sell produce to local businesses like restaurants and cafes, there’s a good chance you’ll need a business license to do so legally.
- Shipping vegetables within your state or to other states may be prohibited by law, or the produce might need to be inspected. Before attempting to do this, you should check the local laws in place for pest management.
- Organic vegetables will need certification to prove that they meet regulations and this is an added cost, as well as further regulatory checks to adhere to.
- Cottage foods are those that have been prepared using your own vegetables, fruits, and other homegrown produce. Some states require licensing and regulations whereas others try to make it easy to sell, especially with products like cakes and bread that aren’t usually hazardous.
Gardening as a Full-Time Job
If freelancing isn’t your style, you might look to a career path in the gardening industry instead.
These are some of the most popular jobs to do with gardening that are possible, ranging from those that need minimal know-how to those that are fully-fledged careers requiring education and experience.
- Nursery worker: Working in a nursery will see you performing tasks like watering, weeding, pruning, and selling plants to others. You’ll need to be knowledgeable on all things gardening related.
- Landscaper: A landscaper is a hands-on role that requires you to design, plan, and maintain gardens. This could be for private residences or large parks and gardens.
- Horticulturist: There are many types of horticulturists and specialties to work in but
- Florist: If you love flowers especially, working as a florist allows you to be with them all day. Florists grow and maintain flower gardens, create displays and arrangements, and deal with floral design.
- Botanist: A botanist studies plants including all aspects of biochemistry and ecology, so if you prefer a science-heavy gardening role this could be up your alley.
Earn Some Green in the Garden
When gardening is your passion, the thought of turning it into a viable money maker seems like a dream come true.
However, unless you plan on earning small amounts of cash on the side, it can be a challenge to get a full-time business up and running with just your hobby to get you by.
There are lots of opportunities within the realm of gardening for making money though, so all you have to do is think of what you’re passionate about and go from there.
Whether you make your own herb blends to sell at the markets or sell plants and cuttings to locals, you can earn some decent money with gardening.
Those wanting to take it up a notch to a full-time career will need to invest a lot more time and money into the process, or find permanent employment in the gardening industry.
However, if you know that working in the outdoors and being a full-time green thumb is your calling, nothing should stop you from achieving your career goals.
Gardening can be an interesting alternative to earning money but it might not always be viable as a full-time job.
If you’ve been considering adding ‘professional gardener’ to your CV or just want to earn some extra cash on the side, you probably have questions, and we’ve got the answers to the most commonly asked ones to help you out.
A nursery license might be required to sell plants, depending on what you’re growing and how much of it you sell.
In some cases, it’s okay to sell things like cuttings, annual plants, tropical plants, or cut flowers without a license, but you should check the laws in your state before you proceed.
Some online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay allow sellers to list plants but it requires further research to do it legally.
There are also restrictions on the types of seeds and plants you can list, and these must meet seller guidelines that have been developed with state and federal agencies to reduce the spread of pests and disease.
If you only want to grow the plants that will earn the most money, there are some known to be more profitable than others.
Bamboo, ginseng, mushrooms, ornamental grasses, and flowers all earn a good profit compared to the costs and effort needed to grow them, so would be a good choice for making more money.