You can start a home business growing plants in your backyard to sell. Start-up costs are less than $100 and the mark-up is huge. You only need a poly tunnel or greenhouse if you want to grow flowering plants.
Most towns have a local market where local people can take their produce to sell. That is the origin of the market concept, a place where sellers and buyers can meet. Check out what prices plants sell for on your local market and how much competition you would have.
If you intend to sell flowering plants, tomato, cucumber or pumpkin plants then you need a large greenhouse or poly tunnel. The greenhouse will enable you to have marketable quality plants early in the season, which is when people want them. Without a greenhouse or poly tunnel your plants will be pathetic and retarded and nobody will buy them.
If you live in a frost pocket, or on top of a hill the temperature will be lower than the average for the area and your young plants will always lag behind those grown in the valleys. In this case concentrate on longer life plants such as pampas grass or bamboo
Research Your Plant Growing for Profit Venture
Find out which plants are in demand by asking people locally and by checking what plants are being sold online. The most common plants will be common because they are profitable. Check costs of seeds, compost, fertilizer and pots. Check if you will have to pay tax.
What Plants Should You Grow
Your research will probably tell you that certain groups of plants offer more sales opportunities and more profit than others.
Bamboos, herbs, landscape shrubs, trees and ornamental grasses are some of the most profitable niches.
Soft fruit plants are constantly in demand. Blackcurrants and redcurrants are extremely easy to grow. Every year you need to cut back old stems (canes) on these bushes. If you stick a stem in the ground it will grow roots, without you doing anything else at all. Once it has rooted you can transfer it to a pot and these potted blackcurrant canes sell for $2-4 each.
Raspberries throw up new suckers each year that are nearly indestructible. Pot the suckers on and keep for a year to sell at a healthy profit.
Think about your market. When do people buy herbs? When do they buy shrubs and trees?
Herbs are very easy to grow. Just sprinkle a packet of seed on a bucket of compost and you will soon have hundreds of seedlings that you can transplant into 6 inch pots ready to sell. Put about 20-30 seedlings in a pot for a healthy looking pot of herbs.
Growing Landscaping Shrubs
Learn to take cuttings from shrubs, that way you will grow larger plants faster than growing them from seed. Some shrubs are exceedingly easy to grow in this way like honeysuckle, dog wood, hypericum and weigela.
Cut off hardwood stems about 8 inches long and stick them into a bucket of compost. You will know when the stems develop roots because they will not come out of the soil easily. Transplant the rooted cuttings to 4 inch pots and sink the pots into the ground. This enables the plant to develop a compact root ball typical of pot-grown plants, yet protects against drought because the buried pot loses little water.
Other shrubs are easily grown from seeds. Plant a few berries from a skimmia bush and in four years time you will have saleable bushes to sell. Skimmias grow slowly, but that is why they are expensive in nurseries. Grow them in the ground for the first few years then transplant to large pots a year before you plan to sell them.
Lavender bushes always sell well when they are in flower and are extremely easy to grow from seed.
Lilac trees/shrubs can be grown from seed easily enough, though it will be six years before your young lilac trees are large enough to sell.
Grow pampas grass from seed to saleable size in three years.
Grow bamboo from small plants that you buy by mail order or online. Alternatively you can split side shoots from larger plants and grow on the side shoots.
If you have a cellar then grow oyster or shitake mushrooms for sale.
How Do You Sell Your Plants?
Farmers' Markets, Country Markets and Saturday Markets all allow people to sell their own produce. Sometimes you will need to make a commitment to be there every week, so build up a good and varied stock before you make an approach.
You need to have plants to sell in January as well as in May and this takes a lot of management to achieve, especially without a greenhouse or poly tunnel. Start without the poly tunnel and consider buying one from your profits. It is only the early spring plants that you will not be able to grow to marketable size and quality without a poly tunnel. By the time you have grown your shrubs on for 3-5 years and started selling in May your profits by November should allow you to invest, at least in the large greenhouse that will bring on your spring plants by February.
Where Do You Start?
Make a month-by-month list of plants you could sell from January to December. If it is a flowering plant, you will only be able to sell it when it is in flower. If it is a berried shrub it will sell best when the berries are ripe.
Early spring could include bulbs grown in bowls or pots. Winter could include shrubs that flower at that time of year.
To succeed at a Farmers' Market venue you need to have about ten products to sell at any one time. You need to plan what these will be for every month of the year. Visit local markets to help develop your own ideas.
Keep an eye out for discount tables and umbrellas that you will need as well as the actual goods to sell.