I’ve checked and double checked, but neither of my thumbs are green.
I wish they were because there’s money to be made with those green thumbs.
Over the years I’ve read gardening books, joined a permaculture club, and slaved over a Square Foot Garden, managing to grow a few things here and there, but by no means are my thumbs green. If I had to supplement our family income with what I could grow, we’d soon be starving.
However, if you can nurture a nearly-dead, Home Depot 75%-off tomato plant to blossom and produce, these money-making ideas are for you.
1. Sell compost
When I used to live in Phoenix, we would occasionally make a trek out to the far east side of town and buy organic compost from an enterprising family who had a large farm. Customers could bring their own containers, like a plastic bin, for example, and farm workers would fill it with compost. It was a quick way to get our raised garden beds filled with good, healthy soil, and, I’m sure, the farm owner made a killing.
Are you able to produce more compost than you really need? I’ll bet if you got 2 or 3 good compost piles going, you could offer it to neighbors and friends at a low cost, and they would know, for sure, where it came from, unlike the stuff sold at big box stores.
2. Sell seedlings
Years ago when I took a gardening class from a master gardener, she told us that the seedlings sold in a lot of nurseries and the big home and garden stores weren’t the varieties that necessarily grew in the area. They were just what customers wanted and would buy.
If you can grow healthy seedlings and they represent varieties that actually grow in your part of town, not necessarily the grow zones, which can be very generalized. I’d love to buy tomato seedlings, for example, that do well in my shady backyard and humid climate.
3. Sell your garden design services
Not everyone has the knowledge and skills to plan a well-organized garden that takes advantage of the movement of the sun, microclimates, water sources, and the specific varieties of plants that will do well there. If you’re an experienced gardener, bonus points if you’re an official Master Gardener, you just might have a skill that people will be willing to pay for.
About 10 years ago, I befriended a woman who sold produce at a farmer’s market, along with her homemade soaps, and she told me that her garden had been designed by 2 master gardeners. In Phoenix gardening circles, this couple was well known, I guess. I never forgot that conversation because every year when I looked at my own meager harvest, I thought about how nice it would be to hire pros to come and design a foolproof garden.
4. Offer your homegrown, organic produce as a delivery service
Does your garden grow way more food than you and your family can eat? If so, consider starting your own food delivery company, offering a weekly or biweekly basket of fruit, veggies, and herbs to paying customers. If you raise chickens, you could possibly add a dozen fresh eggs as well.
One similar service that I know of has a website that is updated weekly so customers know what to expect in their next basket. In fact, when I filmed this video promo for World War Z, we used that same garden and kitchen for the set. As you’ll see, it’s gorgeous and is a nice side business as well.
5. Teach gardening classes to homeschoolers
As a long-time homeschooling mom, I have paid for all different types of lessons and experiences over the years, including archery, rifle camp, and etiquette lessons. If there’s one thing I know about homeschoolers, it’s that they are constantly looking for learning opportunities for their kids.
Just this past spring, I paid a mechanic $140 so my 2 teenagers could work with him on an engine rebuild of an old Toyota Camry. The kids learned the parts of an engine, helped replace the brakes, and did a whole lot more. With your green thumb, maybe you could offer gardening classes to a homeschool group or individual families.
6. Use homegrown herbs to create products for sale
Herbs grow quickly in the right environment. At one point, my basil and rosemary bushes were so large that I could barely grow anything else in my front courtyard. Are your herb plants going crazy? Well, why not begin harvesting and drying them, and then using them as ingredients in homemade beauty products, preserves, and soaps? One friend of mine has been making the most amazing varieties of jellies and jams and often, herbs like lemon balm and mint are the main ingredients. She even makes jams of marigolds and gardenia.
7. Teach classes for a local nursery
People love to learn and if the pro really knows what they’re talking about, they’ll pay for that education. If you have a favorite plant nursery and are known to the owners and managers, that may be a source of income for you if they are willing to have you teach classes for their customers. The beauty of this arrangement is that you are paid for your time by the owners, but inevitably, your students will turn right around and buy plants and gardening products. You can bet on it.
Many people are looking for ways to earn a little extra money. If you happen to have a green thumb and some gardening knowledge, you may be able to grow money on trees, almost literally!