Growing herbs for a profit is the perfect side business if you love gardening and using home-grown herbs in your own culinary endeavours. When sharing something you already have a passion for, your enthusiasm and knowledge practically sell the product. Choose to grow herbs that are familiar, but also choose alternatives to those readily available types of herbs. Sweet basil, for example, is very popular and available. The plant can be found easily in nurseries and garden centres. Have a few containers of this herb, but also offer lemon basil, Thai basil, cinnamon basil and Genovese basil. Learn everything you can about each of the herbs. Print a paragraph or two of information and several recipes using each type of herb. Have them available with the purchase of the herbs.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Seed trays
- Commercial potting soil
- Herb seeds
- Water bottle sprayer
- Clear cling film
- Humidifier (optional)
- Nursery containers
Plant your seeds indoors the first year. In later years, with your success, you can get a small greenhouse to grow your tender seedlings. To start, all you need is a little space in a fairly comfortably warm room.
Fill the top part of a seed tray with commercial potting soil. This type of soil is great for seeds, because it is free of any plant fungus, bacteria, diseases and weed seeds. Fill the seed tray compartments up to a half inch from the top.
Spray the soil with water just to moisten. Mix the soil until each seed compartment has completely moistened soil.
Read each type of herb seed packet for planting depth instructions. The packet will also tell you how long that particular herb takes to germinate. Plant the seeds at the depth suggested by the manufacturer. Every type of seed will be different. Push a bit of soil over the top of the seed hole.
Cover the seed tray with clear kitchen cling film. This will keep the soil warm and moist, which is the perfect environment for seed germination (sprouting). Check often to see if the soil is starting to dry. If it is, give each seed compartment a light water spray.
Slip the top part of the seed tray over the bottom tray that will catch any excess water. Make sure you mark each tray with the type of herb that's planted there. Place the tray near a sunny window.
Remove the cling film as soon as the seeds start to germinate. Continue to give them a water spray as the soil begins to dry.
Transplant the seedlings as they reach a height of 3 to 6 inches. Put them in the containers in which they will be sold. Offer different sized containers, some with single plants, some with three or more of the same herb in one pot and some with a combination of different herbs. It's best to offer your customers choices in sizes and prices.
Harden off your herb plants after the last frost in your location. Place them outdoors in a protected location for a couple of hours. Increase the outdoor time each day, until they have spent the night outside.
Sell your herbs at Saturday markets, farmers' markets and festivals. Approach local nurseries and garden shops about selling your herbs wholesale. Make sure you know how much you have spent to grow each container herb so you will charge enough to make a profit.
Tips and warnings
- As your business grows, consider working on small herb cookbooks, professional packaging, a name with a logo and other things that will bring you into the professional marketplace during the winter months.
- If you believe the indoor air is too dry, after germination run a humidifier for 20 minutes every morning.
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