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Ways To Make Money From: Gardens And Growing

Gardens And Growing

THERE ARE MANY GARDEING opportunities you can get involved in quickly, often without any prior knowledge, experience or capital. Some things you can grow in your own garden and sell through a local shop or even by mail order, while there are other products you can make and sell at premium prices, such as garden ornaments and furniture.

And remember, you don’t necessarily need a garden, or even an interest in gardening, to make money from it. Here’s practical guide to profitable gardening products, services and opportunities you may wish to get involved in.

  1. Grow and sell plants, flowers and vegetables

Growing and selling plants, flowers and vegetables is a superb second income opportunity that could eventually grow into a full-time business. They are always in demand, so if you have sufficient expertise, space and materials there is money to be made here.

Note that by law home producers cannot sell seeds, bulbs, tubers and rhizomes as they can’t adequately be treated against pests or diseases, so you may only sell fully grown or growing items.

Perhaps the best way to begin is by growing and selling indoor plants. This is a lucrative market and requires little capital, time and attention to reap excellent profits from your efforts, It’s worth concentrating on exotic, unusual and rare plants that require more time and efforts to grow than more commonplace species. You could capture an untapped market and perhaps even have a monopoly on your hands.

The equipment you’ll need includes compost or sterilized soil, flowerpots, a large bench or table to propagate on, a trowel, a dibber and pebbles for drainage.

To sell your plants, flowers or vegetables you could negotiate with local retailers to supply them regularly or sell them yourself at markets and boot sales. Smaller items could be sold door-to-door – selling holly and mistletoe in the way is an excellent idea at Christmas.

Another possibility is to set up a stall by a busy road. Commuters will pay premium prices for flowers and vegetables because of the convenience factor.

  1. Mail order flowers

Perhaps surprisingly, there are plenty of opportunities in mail order for plants and garden products.

Rare and unusual plants and flowers – that people can’t get from their local garden centre – are excellent mail order items. Customers could be generated by advertising in the gardening sections of the national newspapers and in specialist magazines. A flower or plant-of-the-month club could also be set up in this way, sending out a new item each month to enthusiasts – roses, orchids and bonsai trees are ideal.

A mail order business serving amateur botanists might be lucrative, supplying rare samples and equipment. Obviously, you will need to take great care with packaging.

  1. Flower and plant delivery

Interflora is an internationally-known franchise, but don’t believe they have the home delivery market sewn up. There’s nothing to stop you setting up a local flower delivery service along with same lines.

You could work from home and advertise in local newspapers and shop windows. All you have to do is to take orders over the phone, add a message to the customer’s choice of bouquet – you could grow your own flowers or source a cheap local supplier – then deliver them as required.

The business market may be even more profitable. Some image conscious firms pay well to be supplied regularly with exotic plants for their offices and waiting rooms. Try putting together a catalogue and taking it to the biggest and most upmarket companies in your area. Table flowers may be regularly required by more modest businesses as a way of brightening them up, so it’s also worth contacting restaurants, hair salons, doctors, dentists and other professional offices Aspidistras, ferns, begonias and violets sell particularly well to businesses.

  1. Dried and pressed flowers

Pressed or dried flowers can be sold directly to garden centers, wedding specialists, florists, flower arrangers, craft workers and clients.

Dried flowers make excellent centerpieces for weddings, christenings, Christmas and other special occasions. Unlike fresh flowers they won’t wilt and die, and so offer a permanent reminder of the happy day.

Alternatively, you could use dried flowers to make floral displays and all manner of attractive carft products. Greetings cards, pictures, bookmarks and flower arranging kits are ideal items for selling via gift and souvenir shops, or at markets and boot sales.

You’ll need a source of heat plus a spare room, shed or attic if you want to dry flowers yourself – cut your flowers in the evening and hang them up to dry immediately. Check your local library or bookshop for more information on drying and pressing flowers. The necessary equipment can be obtained from gift shops and specialist craft magazines.

  1. Hydroponics and hydro culture products

Hydroponics, also known as hydro culture, is a method of growing plants without soil. By rooting the plants in granules containing the nutrients necessary for growth it removes the guesswork from watering and feeding and dramatically increases the plant’s chances of survival.

Although $300 million a year is spent on house plants in the UK alone a large proportion of these die within a few months of purchase, so it’s no surprise that hydro culture products have taken off in such a big way. You could profitably develop your own products, set up a mail order hydro culture sales operation or even develop a mail order school of hydroponics.

  1. Mini-garden making

Bottle gardens make attractive gifts that require minimal maintenance, so there is big money to be made making and selling them to garden centers and nurseries, florists, gift shops and other retailers.

The more unusual the bottle the better – look out for oddly-shaped, colored and antique bottles at jumble and car boot sales. You could also make ornamental mini-garden displays featuring plants and figurines placed in a box, bowl or tray.

  1. Cacti

The cactus is an ornamental plant with great sales potential, being easy to look after and coming in many weird and wonderful varieties. They are easy to grow and could be sold by mail or to nearby retailers.

Alternatively you could put smaller ones in a tray and sell them door-to-door. A further idea is to make products like paperweights, ornaments and bookends with live cacti growing out of them.

  1. Killer plants

Carnivorous plants like the insect-eating Venus Flytrap, sundews, butterworts and pitcher plants have their own niche market. They aren’t merely interesting plants to have around, with their weird and wonderful shapes and brights blooms, but are excellent insect killers too, being non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Demand for killer plants is on the increase, so there is good business potential in growing these plants and selling them via garden centres, nurseries or even by mail order for exotic and rare species.

  1. Herbs

Locally grown herbs have all sorts of potential sales outlets. Hotels, restaurants and chefs like to use freshly picked herbs for their dishes rather than the dried varieties found in supermarkets, so will pay well for supplies. Herbs are much sought after by craft workers too, to make things like lavender bags, herbal infusions and treatments, and pot pourri.

You could even develop your own range of products and sell them via retail chains, garden centers, gift shops, hotels and restaurants, supermarkets and so on. Herbs are easy to grow straight from seed and require little attention once established.

  1. Mushrooms

Since they are a year-round delicacy, the market for mushrooms is extremely large. Potential customers include local greengrocers and market stalls, hotels and restaurants, and private householders. Attract regular clients by setting up a market stall or, better still, approach them directly.

Since the actual mushroom season lasts only six to eight weeks, growing them all year round requires planning ahead. Mushroom spores can be used for growing and should be maintained at a temperature of around 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit – a good quality compost must be used at all times. Mushroom trays should be placed in a dim, well ventilated spot, so a cellar or spare room is ideal.

Useful information on growing, advertising and legal matters can be obtained from the Mushroom Growers’ Association. To enable others to get into mushroom growing you could develop and sell special growing kits.

  1. Bees and bee products

Keeping bees is an enjoyable hobby but could be a profitable business venture too.

Freshly made honey commands good prices at supermarkets, grocers, farm shops, market stalls, restaurants, tea shops and hotels, and you could even sell honey at gift shops or by mail order. British honey sells well abroad too, but note that your honey must conform to certain standards and must be sold in either screw-top jars or plastic containers.

You’ll only need a few hives for a small part-time operation, but a serious investment will be required to develop a full-scale honey making enterprise. As well as hives you’ll need frames, separating machines, a bee-proof boiler suit, veil and gloves, and most important of all, bees. Second-hand hives and other equipment are often available at farm auctions.

Ideally you should have experience of beekeeping before embarking on a business venture. All sorts of useful information available from the British Beekeepers’ Association, including books, lists of nearby bookkeeping groups, local bye-laws and beekeeping courses.

  1. Novelty garden products and ornaments

Various kinds of novelty garden products can be fairly simply made and / or sold profitably.

Gnomes are the classic garden ornament. Although not to everyone’s taste, they go down well with gardeners and collectors alike and are easy to make using special moulds.

Victorian chimney posts can be picked up cheaply at car boot sales – by adding a coat of paint they can be sold as attractive garden flower pots. Other items you could make from stone or wood are fountains, animals, fairies and statues, wishing wells, monuments, signs, gates and pillars.

  1. Gardening maintenance services

All manner of gardening maintenance services can be set up very easily and require little in the way of prior investment or skills.

The main services in demand include cutting and manicuring lawns, weeding, garden clearing, planning, harvesting / picking, tool maintenance, green house / shed cleaning, fence mending and houseplant minding.

You may wish to start a general service, dealing with any form of gardening maintenance you have the time, tools and expertise to deal with, or concentrate on particular tasks. Private householders obviously represent a significant market – target your marketing towards well-off areas (look for houses with large gardens) and the elderly, who may not be able to cope with the more physical tasks on their own.

You could advertise in local shops, deliver leaflets door-to-door, or even call in person. Ideally you want to build up a core or regular clients who use your services all year round.

Businesses are a good source of trade as they often (particularly at large offices and headquarters) have grounds with lawns and flowers that need maintaining. Or you could pitch your business to local councils, who often contract out services to private firms.

An alternative idea if you can’t – or don’t wish to do outdoor work is setting up a ‘dial-a-gardener’ service. You place ads in local newspapers and shops, take the calls of interested clients and use teenagers and retired people to do the actual work, taking a commission on each job.

  1. Hedge trimming

Hedge trimming is a task that requires a certain amount of skill, and can be marketed as a service in its own right. One way to make money is to look for houses with overgrown hedges and offer to trim them for a small fee. Don’t forget to make another appointment when you’ve finished – the aim is to build up a regular base of clients.

More money can be charged by doing artistic hedge clipping, trimming hedges into different shapes, this service could be targeted at well-off country estates, hotels, parks and businesses.

  1. Garden landscaping

The art of arranging lawns, plants, trees, flowers and other features to create an attractive garden is known as landscape gardening. It’s an attractive and lucrative business, as clients pay big money to have their gardens and estate re-designed.

You need to be qualified to call yourself a landscape gardener – contact your local careers centre to obtain details of colleges offering suitable courses. Certain elements of garden landscaping, however, can be carried out with minimal previous experience and investment. For example, kerb extruding machines can be obtained that produce continuous concrete garden edging in a variety of colors without damaging existing plants.

  1. Educational products and services

There are all kinds of educational products and services you could develop to educate people in different area of gardening.

You could utilize your own specialist knowledge or create products in partnership with gardening experts. Cassettes, videos, ‘how to’ booklets and correspondence courses could all be sold by mail order, gaining customers by advertising in the gardening sections of newspapers and the specialist gardening press. Setting up local classes on subjects like vegetable growing and flower arranging could be beneficial too.

Advertise at local schools, church halls and community centers, which you can hire out for your class, and approach community organizations – especially retired persons’ and women’s groups.

  1. Compost and fertilizers

Fertilizer and compost is in constant demand by people wishing to get the most out of their garden or plot. Selling things like compost, peat and horse manure is at worst a good way of making some extra cash, but may make a profitable business if you can supply significant amounts.

Sell your goods via nearby markets, grocers, nurseries and garages.

  1. Garden furniture

Garden furniture is an ideal product to make or sell the more rustic the better. Benches, picnic tables, bird tables, and fences are fairly simple to make out of wood. You could use offcuts of wood from a local builder’s yard or even logs from your own garden to make them. Ensure they are suitably treated to protect them against weather and pests.

These items should sell at a decent profit at garden centers, nurseries and other retailers.

  1. Equipment and tool hire

Setting up a gardening equipment and tool hire firm is likely to be a worthwhile operation.

The most lucrative items will be things like rotators, chain saws and lawnmower tractors, which can be hired out for significant sums on a daily or weekly basis. They will be in big demand with householders and businesses, who are unlikely to own such items. Window boxes, tubs of plants and hanging baskets could be hired out to offices, pubs, restaurants and exhibition organizers.

  1. Garden plot rental

If you have a garden or a plot of land that you never use and haven’t the time or the inclination to cultivate if yourself, why not rent it out as an allotment? You can make a little extra cash and might get some free flowers or vegetables out of the arrangement!

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