If you have a decent greenhouse and green fingers you can make money by propagating seedlings then selling the grown plants at local car boot sales and garages. A lot of people do not have the skills to nurture seeds into life and choose to skip this stage and buy already established seedlings. Do the hard work for them and make a tidy profit.
Set up is reliably straightforward and cheap. As well as the greenhouse you will need: good quality seed compost, seeds, trays, watering can and other basic garden equipment. All seedlings will need warmth, light and water but there should be other instructions on your seed packet or on websites such as the Royal Horticultural Society.
You can make in the region of £ 600 a week by propagating seedlings, with just a few hours' work a week. However, the work is seasonal – mostly between February and October. The amount you make also depends on how much space you have to grow the plants. The more space you have, the more you can grow and the more money you can make.
Rent out your garden as allotments
'Grow Your Own' is increasingly popular among people of all ages in towns and cities across the country – and if they have not got a space of their own they're looking for land to get stuck into. Enter you and your garden. Waiting lists for council lots are huge and if you've got the extra space you can make extra cash by renting it out to others.
First of all you need to make sure you've got the space to accommodate someone else's plants. You need to have enough to feel comfortable giving a proportion of it away, so if you're particularly private and only have a small garden this might not be for you.
Access is also a big issue. It is much more practical for people to be able to have access directly to your garden, rather than traipsing through your house all the time. If you do not have a side gate, think about whether you will be comfortable with your tenants accessing their plots through your home or if you can provide any alternative access.
Let it be known all around your area that there are plots up for rent. You can do this through word-of-mouth or by putting up an advert in your local newsagent, library – and do not forget to post an ad online! Sites like Gumtree are good places to start.
Once you've found someone who wants to use your garden, make sure you draw up a basic contract for all the tenants to sign – nothing complex, just some straight rules stipulating exactly when the garden can be used, and for what purposes.
For loads more help and advice on exactly how to do this, get in touch with the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.
Growing money plants: edible flowers
Plenty of restaurants, health food stores and gourmet food shops sell and use edible flowers for cooking. A rise in health-conscious home cooking means a sizeable market exists for sellingible yummies directly to consumers in their homes.
There are around one hundred different flower varieties deemed edible. Roses, violets, pansies and nasturtiums are all popular and saleable edible plants you could grow.
To get started, you'll just need:
- Some varieties of popular edible flowers.
- Organic pesticides and fungicides.
- A designated plot in your garden.
You can buy edible plant seeds in packs of 50-100 seeds for about £ 1.50 to £ 2.50, depending on the type of flower. It's very easy to get them sent directly to you through the post.
Most retailers of edible flowers sell them as a punnet for around £ 12-15 each. A standard punnet is about 130mm x 170mm and can hold a few dozen small flowers and about a dozen larger ones.
Medicinal plant nursery
Just like growing edible plants in your garden, keeping a medicinal plant nursery as an income-generator requires very little comparable effort and maintenance.
For a low-maintenance option, try perennials that do not require annual planting or germination. Medicinal herbs and plants are great because they can flourish in the shade or harsh sun, and require little water or attention.
The market for selling medicinal herbs is more likely to be a domestic one. Your knowledge of their use is just as important in selling the plants as the plants themselves. It's therefore important to research well beforehand into all of the medicinal plants and herbs you're interested in growing for sale and distribution.
Remember: even though these plants are generally considered safe to use as a natural homeopathic medicine, you should always evaluate their risks and benefits to certain people and their illnesses, especially when used in conjunction with other prescribed medicines.
You can buy medicinal herb and plant seeds in packs of 50-500 seeds for an average price of £ 1 to £ 2. Price varies very for some of the rarer seeds, so expect to pay at least an extra £ 1 for these.
A small fresh single plant from your garden can be sold with a 9cm pot for about £ 2-3 depending on the seed variety you're using. A small 50g bag of cut and dried dandelion root will sell for about £ 1.80.
Starting an organic market garden
Feel like moving a stage further up the garden path? Establish your own garden as a market garden.
Staple and seasonal vegetables are a good entry point. There is an ever growing demand for locally grown, organic food. Remember to stick to the basics first before you start trying to grow more exotic foods. Selecting produce that is in season and can easily be grown in your local conditions will be easier and require far fewer resources to grow.
Advertise locally, with flyers and business cards that you may put up in other local shops and eateries. It's a good idea to hold weekly or monthly markets.
You do not have to go it alone – join forces with other local productive gardens in the area and turn a profit together. Talk with neighbors and see if they are willing to grow some produce in their gardens: if they are you could hold a monthly street market.
Running a market can require a lot of time investment (as will gardening all the produce). Be mindful of how large a market you can actually handle and how much time and money you have to invest.
Also consider the size of the project. A small garden farm will likely cost you several hundred pounds to initially set-up whilst a much larger one could run you several thousand pounds.