Do you love gardening? Would you also like to have some extra cash in your pocket? If the answer is “Yes!” to both questions, then you should seriously consider starting a micro-farm.
You don’t need acres and acres of farmland or expensive equipment to get started. In fact, an urban micro-farm can thrive on half an acre or less. Turn your boring, environmentally unfriendly lawn into an edible oasis by growing one (or more!) of these super-profitable specialty crops.
Professional farmers call gourmet garlic “the mortgage lifter” because of the incredible per-acre yield. This isn’t the ordinary white garlic you find in the supermarket, but “hardneck” garlic. The larger cloves, and milder, more complex flavors of these garlic varieties make them prized by home cooks and chefs alike.
Garlic is naturally disease resistant, thanks to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, and surprisingly easy to grow.
While many of the most profitable crops are edible, landscaping plants also offer a good return on investment. Bamboo can be grown in large plastic pots, which both prevents it from taking over your yard and makes it a snap to sell to landscapers.
Culinary herbs like oregano, basil, chives, and cilantro are a great cash crop to grow in your new micro-farm. Use organic gardening practices and you can sell your harvest for more money (and help out the environment while you’re at it). Culinary herbs–either fresh cut or as potted plants–sell great at farmers’ markets.
You can also sell herbs in bulk to local restaurants.
Few people dream of becoming mushroom farmers when they grow up, but specialty exotic mushrooms make big bucks. Unlike the other cash crops on this list, mushrooms are grown indoors, so you can keep your business going year-round.
Most home farmers start out with oyster or shiitake mushrooms, which grow quickly and are always hot sellers in the market.
If you want a decent side hustle plus all the salad you can eat, then plant arugula. Salad greens are always popular in restaurants, and bunches of exotic lettuce or microgreens will be snatched up at farmer’s markets.
While greens don’t have quite the same return as garlic, for example, you can devote a quarter of an acre to growing salad for yourself and sell the excess for a profit.