Are you looking for ways to make money from your vegetable garden?
Good news! Today, I’m going to give you 5 ways to make money from your vegetable garden.
I’m going to share my own experience with starting a vegetable garden business. I know many other vegetable gardeners who have different experiences, and there’s a million ways to make money from your vegetable garden. But today, I’m gonna share with you how we do it.
I’m gonna give you kind of the ins and outs of our business and our business model and kind of share with you how I grew this business from a lonely stay at home mom, just trying to sell a few zucchini to a pretty well known in our area, pretty reputable, veggie grower. And we now make pretty significant money from our vegetable garden. So sit back relax as I share with you my story of how to make money with your vegetable garden.
Listen to the Podcast:
My First Dollar from my Vegetable Garden
So like I mentioned, I was a lonely stay at home mom with two little girls. And my garden was kind of my outlet. I’ve always been a gardener. I’ve ever since I could remember toddling out with my mom, and my grandma and their gardens. I’ve always helped pull weeds and pick vegetables, and plant vegetables and all of those things. Since I grew up in the garden, it’s kind of always been like home to me. It’s always kind of been kind of my outlet. And even so, in my job as a researcher at the University, I worked for the horticulture department, they’re allowed me to be part of their research trials on certain vegetables. So every year with that I’m given zucchini seeds, yellow squash, tomatoes, peppers, sweet and hot and sweet corn. And I’m allowed to plant them and then do whatever I want with the vegetables. But I have to record some research on the plants and how everything’s growing, and send it back to the university. So when I first kind of got started with this, my goal was to just have enough for us to put up for the winner. And hopefully help us save a little money. I was thinking we could just put it in our pantry. And I could Can I could make and can a bunch of sauces and tomato products for us to put in storage. So that was my that was my start. That was my thinking. I never, ever thought to make money with my vegetable garden. Because for one thing, it seemed overwhelming. And a second thing. I had no idea even how to start. That year though, was a really good growing year and I grew way too much of everything.
And it was a really great year the weather was perfect, and the soil was good. The nutrients in the soil were good, and so are my plants took off and produced a ton of vegetables. And the vegetable that got it all started was the zucchini. Zucchini was finished first. And I realized that after buckets and buckets and buckets of zucchini, not only were we tired of it, my freezer was as full as we wanted with the zucchini. And so I decided to put out a little post on Facebook, asking if anybody wanted some for sale, and I put the price at like 50 cents per zucchini. Because I didn’t know what to charge. I did get a bite. One of my friends commented and said she would stop by the garden to get some zucchini later on that day. So when she did get there, she was really impressed with how the garden looked. Like I said it was a really good growing year. And she was impressed with the quality of the zucchini. And she also mentioned that I should possibly consider setting up at the farmers, the local farmers market. She set up at the farmers market and gave me some information on how to do it. So basically, the farm next farmers market was in just a few days, and I could get a hold of the lady in charge, find a tent and figure out how I was going to set up my table and I only had about three or four days to do it. So it was a pretty quick turnaround.
Setting Up at the Farmer’s Market
And along with that. My husband didn’t really he wasn’t really too sure. I wasn’t really too sure. But he really wasn’t too sure about it all but I decided to take a chance because again I was a lonely stay at home mom, what did I have to lose?
So that the next week I had a pop up tent, I had an $80 pop up tent and a bucket of squash. And two small kids in town. I mean, my girls were a toddler and brand new baby, just three or four months old. So I had a tiny baby and, and a toddler.
And we all loaded up and we went to the market. And that first market was quite interesting. I didn’t know what to expect at all, I just kind of set up I didn’t even I don’t think I even expected to sell anything. But people started coming over and looking over my squash. And they, they were buying the squash from me. And I just could not believe it was in shock. And from there, over the next five years, I have learned so much about selling, and marketing and but most importantly, it’s all been kind of a mindset about, it’s all been kind of a mindset shift and a mindset shift about how I think of my own products, and how I think of myself too. So here are some things that I’ve learned through that experience, always have quality over quantity, and treat your customers like gold. If I were to go through every single year, the ups and downs of this business, this episode, this podcast episode would probably be a couple of hours. But so to make it short, those are the two main things that I’ve really learned. And quality over quantity is way more important, I’ve learned it’s more important to have to pick through when you’re when you’re going to market or setting up at a stand, pick through your product and pick out the best and keep the rest for you or sell it at a discount. Because you definitely want to have quality to build up your reputation as a grower. Okay, so along with that, I have a list of different ways that you can sell vegetables, farmer’s market is not the only way. So if you have extra veggies, veggies for sale, there’s several different ways that you can do it.
Important Things to Note about Farmers Market
Okay, one of the ways I’ve mentioned is farmer’s markets. And going more a little bit more into that setting up with the market, there’s usually a market manager. And she usually has a contract, or with some rules for you to read, and then fill out and there’s usually a fee for the season. So you make sure that you read through everything, make sure it all works good for you. Especially pay attention to the part about the sales tax. And look into sales tax, if you want me to I can go into more on sales tax. It’s very dependent upon where you are in your state, I pay retail sales tax monthly into the state. And it’s all kind of figured into my prices at the market. So that’s how I do it. There’s a few different ways you can do it. But I can go into that more later on through the season through the series. Okay.
Making Money with a CSA
So another way that you can sell your another way you can sell your veggies is by a membership or CSA. We started our CSA membership three years ago, four years ago, and it was kind of started when another Farmers Market member decided that the CSA program really wasn’t for them. And that he would give it to me if I was interested. So he would give me his members, and contract and everything, all the details. So I wouldn’t really have to set up anything new. So I did I started the CSA, and I actually enjoy it a lot. The members sign up early and early in the year about March. And the deadline is the end of May right before the season starts. Then the way my membership works, as I’ve learned there’s, again, a million different ways to do it. But how I do mine is that the members pay ahead of time for the entire season. They have four different packages to choose from either 12 week or 20 week, and that allows them to kind of pick and choose how long they want to do it for. I also have a Facebook community that they can join. They can share recipes, I can share with them, what they’re getting each week and kind of the delivery schedule. I also found that we really like to do home deliveries. Instead, we do offer farm pickups, but the farm bill the home deliveries, makes it really convenient for them and that’s another reason why I like to have all the money up front ahead of time. So I don’t have to go looking for them. When I need a payment. It’s already all in. So that makes it really convenient for both them and me
Okay, and then every week through the season for 12 or 20 weeks, I go ahead and I deliver to them fresh veggies every week. So that’s kind of the, that’s kind of a little synopsis on how I run my membership. I again, I really like it, it’s really convenient, and an easy, good way to get rid of vegetables also.
Alright, so the third way that you can make money from your vegetable garden is to have a you pick, if you have one field full of something, you can invite people out and let them pick their own. One thing to keep in mind with this is the liability of people coming out to your farm and spending time there. So you might want to check into that make sure you have good insurance, just in case something would happen. But I’ve been to you pick fruit farm strawberries, blueberries, I’ve seen where people have you picked tomato patches, peas, green beans, I mean, the possibilities are endless. And it’s just another good way for you to make a little money. And it’s just a really good way for your veggies, your your veggies to get picked and for you to make money.
So along with that, kind of with the you pick and the farmers markets, you could have a direct, you can have a far roadside farm stand, I know several road, roadside farm stands that are always stocked. And actually, it’s a self service on your honor system. So basically, they have prices on everything for you to pay, or pay what you can. And all you do is you go and get what you want. And then you put the money in a little box. And then that’s it. It’s on it’s the honor system. And it’s really simple. I’ve heard really good things about honor systems, that people, there really are more good people out there in the world than not so good people, and they will pay according to what your prices are. And sometimes I’ll even pay more. So that’s really cool, too. I have not tried this on our system stand. But I’ve had lots of friends who have and I’ve never heard anything bad about it so far. So it might be something for you to try.
The last piece that I’m going to talk about. The last way to make money from your vegetable garden that I’m going to talk about today is direct sales to stop to stores or other farmers. If you have a super big, big garden and you just had a bumper crop, you might consider getting into some stores. Or you might consider getting selling to other farmers who sell at farmer’s markets. Sometimes if we have customers wanting something and ours aren’t ready yet, like such as sweet corn, we’ll go over to a neighbor farmer who has sweet corn and also sells. And we’ll go and buy from them. And then we’ll sell at the farmers market. So that’s a possibility. The one thing they always give us a little discount, since they know we’re selling. And that’s always nice, so that we can make money, it’s about helping each other out. And that’s what we do we help each other out, we farmers in our community. And that’s how we make this all work. So that is an jab another way that you can do it. And you can work with local grocery stores, or even little restaurants cafes, to get your produce in there as well. So these are just four or five ideas, I think I mentioned five, five ideas that you can use to make money with your vegetable garden.
How do You Know if You’re Making Money from Your Vegetable Garden
Of course, there’s always the gardeners who want to sell who wants to just give produce away. And that’s okay, but just keep in mind that there are lots and lots of people willing to help you out to pay for their produce from you. If you just put your prices out, put it what you have available, and you can definitely definitely make money from your vegetable garden. How do we know if we’re making money from our vegetable garden? Well, two years ago, we finally started tracking, we didn’t know how much we were making. And then we started tracking on Excel. My husband created an Excel spreadsheet that I will possibly have in the shop soon. And I will link to the show notes when I have it available. But basically it’s an Excel spreadsheet week by week of our sales and includes our membership and all of that and if I can figure it out. I will have to make it form fillable i can i can link it up into the show notes and you guys can have it for free.
Okay, what is the future of our garden business look like?
Well, the future of our garden business Looks very bright, I think that we’re building a good reputation. And people are really asking before we even put out contracts or anything for sale, when and what we’re going to have coming soon. And so I see that as a really good sign that things are going well. Also, I hope that coming there with our kids growing up, they’re going to be more help, actually, my older girls are so much help now. And they’ve been really helpful this year with the membership, getting bags ready, and helping deliver, they’ve been really great for that, and the members enjoy seeing the girls and talking to them. So the ultimate future of our business is for them actually to take over part of it. We hope that that is something that they’re willing and able to do in the future, to help them learn good business skills, and to give them a little bit of income as well to put away. So that is kind of the future of our business. Just keep growing and growing. And hopefully, our girls will be interested, interested enough to help us and help us more in the future, and maybe eventually take a bigger interest in it. Friend, that is all for this week of what I have four ways to make money from your vegetable garden. I know it was pretty straight and to the point. But again, I want to make these episodes short. If you have any questions if you need anything more for me, I can go deeper into this topic.
I didn’t know how deep to go today. And so if you want more from this topic, please please please feel free to contact me. Again, you can go to formfit living.com, you can find the contact me tab. It’s up at the top under under important information. And while you’re over there, you can type in make money from vegetable garden in the search bar and the show notes page will pop up. Feel free to share it to anyone who is interested in this topic and who needs to hear this message. If you never want to miss a single episode again, you can go to Apple podcast or Stitcher or Spotify and find the rural women inspired podcast hit the subscribe button and you’ll never miss a single episode. You can also leave us a review, we would love to hear from you. And again, if you need anything from the series. If you want me to go deeper into a topic, please feel free to let me know I would be more than happy to talk more about anything that you have on your mind.