Used for thousands of years in Asian cultures as a healing herb and tonic, this plant brings in so much profit for growers it has been dubbed “green gold”. Even George Washington saw the potential of this plant; ginseng profits helped finance the Revolutionary war against the British. If you have a small vacant plot and a touch of patience this plant can reap huge rewards. Why patience? Because growing ginseng can take up to six years, as you will have to wait until the roots have fully-matured to harvest them for consumption. If that is well-beyond your timeframe, you can also sell young “rootlets” to other growers to bring some return on investment within a manageable time-frame. Over the six year period, growers can make as much as $100,000 on a half-acre plot from seeds, rootlets and mature roots. With ginseng, early birds most definitely do not get the worm.
2. Gourmet Mushrooms
The fungus among us grow practically anywhere in the right conditions. They also yield an incredibly high return per square foot. The two most popular gourmet mushroom varieties are oyster and shiitake, which are usually available fresh or dried in most grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets. Of the two options, oysters are especially productive. They can produce up to 25 pounds per square foot of growing space area each year. When selling direct to the consumer, such as restaurants or at Farmer’s Markets, oysters can bring in $7 per pound. That means a 10 x 10 square foot patch of mushrooms can bring in $17,500 per season.
Unlike trees and many shrubs, this plant matures quickly and can bring in huge profits for growers. And maturing fast is an understatement; bamboo has been known to grow over two feet in one 24 hour period. So if you decide to go with this plant, make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Bamboo is growing in popularity as a landscaping plant, and growers say their product is only increasing in demand each year. You may assume bamboo only grows in tropical climates, but these towering plants also thrive in hardy, sub-freezing weather. While the culinary uses of this plant are limited, landscapers are increasingly using bamboo as a hedge, screen, or shade plant. Many bamboo nurseries are reporting solid sales of potted bamboo at prices up to $200 per plant.
Growers can prosper from incorporating herbs into their garden. Considering many herbs can grow on windowsills with limited light during winter months, this bodes well for growers looking to incorporate a plant that doesn’t require excessively demanding attention. The herbs in highest demand are fresh culinary herbs for grocery stores and restaurants. Farmer’s Markets are once again an excellent place to offer these plants. One way to offer them is as a 4-herb windowsill size garden that is purchased ready-to-snip. Growers may also snip and package themselves – dried or undried – for patrons looking for instant enjoyment. There’s nearly no end to the choices of herb to grow, including a broad range of ethnic herbs for serious cooks. For beginnings, here’s a list of the top 10 most profitable herbs you can grow.
5. Medicinal Marijuana
For growers with capital to invest upfront, medicinal marijuana (or legally-grown in Washington and Colorado) can be as profitable as Apple stores. That’s right, as profitable as the most profitable company in history. Apple made about $4,650 in sales per square foot in 2013, and a dispensary in New York state could net anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 in revenue per square foot that same year. As more states follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado, and the taxation for this crop is figured out on a state-by-state basis the market price may diminish slightly. But make no mistake, a 2014 article from Fast Company found that marijuana is the world’s most lucrative cash crop. For those ahead of the curve (now!), the potential income from this controversial plant is immense.
Gardening is certainly not all about making money, but it's sure is nice to do once in a while. Whether you’re looking to start a new business, add to your current offerings, or just generate some additional cash-flow, these five options can bring big returns for savvy gardeners. Looking for the perfect greenhouse to start this process early and grow deeper into the season? Rimol has the setup for growers of all experience levels and needs. Click here to check out the many, customizable options.