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Low on Money? 7 Ways to Make More Green with Green

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When you think of side hustles, ways to make a little extra money, you may conjure up images of things like selling clothes you don’t wear, walking dogs, babysitting, or even baking and selling cookies. But, have you ever considered taking your love of plants, gardening, and homesteading (even urban homesteading) and using it to turn a quick profit?

Believe it or not, there are many ways to develop a thriving business around plants. Houseplant sales alone have grown in the past three years by almost 50% into a billion-dollar business. 

What could you do with an extra $1,000 or even $3,000 a month? Do you have an extra 15 hours a week that you could devote to building a plant business? If so, what are you waiting for, get growing and selling?

Here are seven ways that you can turn your passion into profit.

Seeds

Seed saving is effortless and is a great way to ensure that you will have healthy and happy plants in your garden year after year. Plus, it is an easy way to make a few extra dollars on the side. Keep in mind, hybrids, which are made by crossing plants of two varieties, don’t usually produce offspring that have the same traits as the parent plant. For seed saving, use open-pollinated varieties. Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds that have been handed down from one generation to another. To ensure that you have the purest seed, plant only one variety of each type of plant – this prohibits cross-pollination. Purchase high-quality heirloom seeds and save some each year – some for you and some to sell. Take pictures of the parent plant and include a little information with each seed package. People appreciate the time taken, and gardeners all understand the value of high-quality seed and won’t mind opening up their pocketbooks a little. Sell seeds in packs of 10-20.

Fesh or dried culinary herbs

With more people embracing the value of home cooking, herb interest is on the rise. Sell fresh herbs at your local farmer’s market or online, or sell the entire plant, potted up nice and pretty. You can even make a small wooden box and place freshly potted herbs inside. These pretty window herb gardens are insanely popular these days and take very little time to make.

Herbal salts and sugars

One of my favorite ways to preserve and enjoy all the benefits of herbs is to infuse them in salts and sugars. Although I rarely use added sugar or salt, adding my favorite herbs make treats that can be used in specialty drinks, baked goods, or personal care products.  It takes about a week to fully infuse salt and sugar, but the resulting product will last for up to 3 months. This is a great item to sell around Christmastime when people are looking for a special gift for their plant-loving friend.

Infused Vinegar

Making herbal-infused vinegar is easy, and the combination of ingredients you can use is almost endless. All you need is vinegar and your choice of fresh or dried herbs, a container to store the mixture, and basic kitchen utensils.

A high-quality apple cider vinegar like Bragg’s is recommended, as ACV offers extensive health benefits and can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, promote heart health, and encourage better digestion. Plus, it is an effective antimicrobial. If you plan to use it for cooking, white wine or red wine vinegar can be used. Distilled white vinegar should never be used as it can be derived from petroleum and offers few health benefits.

You can use just about any fresh or dried herbs or a combination of both. Keep in mind that dried herbs impart a stronger, deeper flavor, while fresh herbs provide a lighter, more delicate taste. Herbs that are especially nutrient-rich such as nettle, dandelion, red clover, and chickweed are all great choices. For culinary use, garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, hot peppers, tarragon, dill, and basil are popular options.

Use pretty bottles and cute labels for your vinegar, and you will be amazed at how many people will purchase them.

Cut flowers

Everyone loves fresh flowers! The perfect place to sell cut flowers is at your local farmers’ market, but you can also approach local restaurants, grocery stores, and florists. Flower farming is fun, relaxing, and hugely profitable. Choose the best flowers for cutting including, daffodils, sunflowers, tulips, carnations, delphinium, gladiolas, English lavender, lilies, and roses. Take your business a step further by selling full arrangements in beautiful containers. Another popular idea, if you have some space, is to have your own “Pick-Me” garden where people can come and pick their own arrangements. Offer beautiful vases for an upsell, and you have an enjoyable and lucrative business all growing season long.

Garlic

Most people know garlic as a food and flavoring. Native to central Asia, many cultures use garlic for both culinary and medicinal purposes. This bulbous perennial is related to onions and has bulbs containing several cloves. Above ground, garlic leaves are long and grass-like. They develop an edible scape with a flower cluster on top that can be removed to stimulate bulb growth. People love garlic and will pay a good price for healthy bulbs. Not only can you sell the bulbs, but you can store garlic and sell seed garlic to people who want to grow their own.

Teach classes

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy sharing my love of gardening with others. People are eager to learn, and hosting workshops and classes -either in person or online is a great way to share your knowledge and make a little extra money at the same time. Sometimes local schools, garden centers, or even community centers will host education events, providing space and helping with advertising.

When it comes to making green using green, these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. The most important thing is to do something that you love and that you love to share. The rest will just blossom naturally!

Happy growing,

-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener

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