Starting a backyard herb nursery can be a wonderful way for herbal beginners to turn their love of plants and gardening into extra cash. It’s also one of the best ways to “bootstrap” a few hundred dollars into a steady part time or full time income. Growing herbs is an ideal money making business for stay-at-home moms, retired folks who want to supplement their retirement income and anyone who loves to garden.
Herbs have been used in cooking, medicine and cosmetics for thousands of years. Now herbs are being rediscovered, as people around the globe seek a healthier and more natural lifestyle. Herbs also provide a link to our past – a time when life was slower, simpler and almost everyone had a backyard herb garden.
Herb use has grown dramatically in recent years. Today, you’ll find cooks using more fresh herbs. New medical research has shown many herbs can be used as healthy alternatives to expensive drugs. Walk into almost any retail store, and you’ll find herbs used in an amazing variety of products – soaps, candles, teas, medicines and bath oils, to name just a few.
It’s important for new herb growers to find a “niche” that fits both their experience level and their local marketplace. Plus – it’s easy for a newcomer to get overwhelmed by all the choices. You can focus on growing herbs, making herbal products, growing herbs for the fresh-cut market, growing and drying herbs – the list goes on.
One of the best niches for beginning herb growers is container grown herb plants. Growing the most popular culinary and medicinal herbs insures that the demand will be there for your product. Popular culinary herbs include basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary and tarragon. Popular medicinal herbs include calendula, Echinacea, lavender, mullein and St. John’s wort.
To save space, time and water, herb growers can use containers that are ready to resell, such as 4 inch or 6 inch pots, when the herb plants reach salable size. Just a small backyard growing area can produce a good income. One herb grower, using only 800 square feet of growing space, was able to produce 3,000 herb plants, which she sold at the local farmer’s market for over $18,000.
In addition to growing potted herbs, many herb growers sell “value added” herb products, like “theme” collections of herbs in larger pots, such an Italian herb garden, a Tea Time herb garden or a windowsill herb garden for the kitchen. Pet lovers can’t resist pet friendly herbs in pots, such as calendula, used to treat skin irritations, or Echinacea, a flea repellant and immune system booster, or the always popular catnip.
During good time or bad, having your own herb business is one of the best income producers. Even if you have a job, you should be developing a way to make an extra income. Growing herbs for profit is a business that can provide extra income working just a few hours a week at home. To learn more, read Growing Herbs for Profit.