How to Succeed With Herb Farming for Profit

Herb Farming For Profit
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Why Herb Farming for Profit?

If you’re considering herb farming for profit, then you’re in luck. Herbs are in high demand, they don’t require a ton of growing space, and they can be sold in a variety of ways.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the reasons why growing herbs can be profitable and how you can get started selling them.

Fresh Herbs are in High Demand

Fresh herbs are in high demand because they are vital in certain recipes. For example, if you want to make dill pickles, you need fresh dill.

Also, tender herbs like dill, basil, and cilantro don’t last long in your refrigerator, so they have to be replenished when they go bad constantly. This means people are always buying herbs at the grocery store.

Availability and Pricing Issues

This past summer, dill was a hot commodity for a few reasons.

On top of the “normal” supply issues, we also faced a shortage of dill because of the extreme heat in many parts of the country.

Dill is a tender herb that does not grow well in hot and dry conditions.

Unfortunately, much of the United States faced hot and dry conditions, so many existing sources of dill that people relied on were unavailable.

Picture of flowering dill plant.

Supply chain availability issues can be your friend if you can capitalize on those issues by growing herbs on your herb farm.

Profitable Herbs Don't Require a Ton of Growing Space

Herb plants are small compared to other plants like vining squash or tall indeterminant tomatoes.

My market garden has 2.5-foot wide beds 20 feet long, for 50 square feet per bed.

In a single bed, I plant two rows of basil with the plants 9 inches apart, for a total of 54 plants.

Fresh, green Basil plants.

Each plant yields 9-12 oz of basil leaves throughout the season so that single 50 sq foot bed can pay me up to $1000 per season.

That is an unreal amount of profit from just 50 sq feet.

Grocery Stores Rarely Carry Enough Variety

Let’s assume that your local grocery store doesn’t have any supply chain issues and that have all its typical herbs in stock.

The problem is that their standard variety is not that great.

You’ll find one option of the common fresh herbs like Italian parsley, rosemary, dill, cilantro, basil, thyme, oregano, and that’s it.

That may be good enough for most people, but there are many folks out there who would buy other varieties if they could.

By herb farming for profit, you open up vast possibilities for your customers, including:

  • thai basil
  • cinnamon basil
  • lemon basil
  • chammomile
  • catnip
  • borage
  • fresh cumin
  • ginseng
  • lavender
  • bee balm
  • lemon grass
  • Marjoram
  • mountain mint
  • stevia, and many more.

There is a Thriving Local Market for Your Herbs

When you are a dependable source for the typical herbs AND the exotic herbs, you won’t have to worry about people being willing to buy your product.

When you’re growing and selling herbs locally, there are several sales outlets you can develop. Let’s look into each one.

Farmers Markets

Most areas have a farmer’s market within 15-20 miles away. Farmers markets are a great way to get started in your local market.

There is a built-in market and a steady stream of people walking through the market that are guaranteed to be exposed to your products.

The traffic by your booth is precious and is worth paying for as you get your herb farm started.

Local Restaurants

Restaurants love to add fresh herbs to their dishes and are always looking for sources and additional backup sources of those herbs to keep the items on their menus.

The protein may usually be the most expensive single component of the plate, but the herbs and other greens are essential as well.

By building a reputation of being a dependable source of unique, delicious herbs, you allow your restaurant clients to create new recipes that will set them apart from their competitors.

Making yourself important to them is a great way to develop and build a loyal clientele.

Get a foot in the door by packaging samples of your product and dropping them off with local restaurant owners.

Online Store

You can sell herbs via an online store as well.

I have an online store that I use to sell products from my market garden. It took me around an hour to set it up, and with it, I can sell anything I want from the market garden before picking the produce.

I can wait until I sell the items and get paid for them before I pick and pack them.

This means the culinary herbs and other products I sell are as fresh as they can be. My customers can’t get products that are fresher than mine, and I take great pride in this point.

I also sell potted plants, seedlings, and dried herbs using this online store when they are available. It is straightforward to update your offerings based on what’s available in the garden.

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a great way to sell fresh produce locally. It’s easy to use, ubiquitous, and a quick and convenient way for people to buy what they need.

Be sure to accurately describe your herbs, the unit size, the selling price, the accepted payment method, pickup terms, and good pictures demonstrating the unit size and what your customers will receive.

Profit Potential for Your Herb Business

Now that you know what you can sell and where to sell, let’s talk about the profit potential of these herb crops.

The list of profitable herbs is long since most herbs can be sold for a profit.

A single plant of basil, for example, can produce 15 oz of basil leaves, which will easily sell for $2.00/ounce. That single plant will bring in at least $30. As I stated earlier, you can grow over 50 plants in a 50-square-foot space, and those plants will yield leaves that can sell for well over $1000.

Factors to Consider When Planning Which Herbs to Grow

You’ll need to decide what is most important to you, but you’ll want to consider several factors when determining which plants to choose for your farm.

How Easy is it Start from Seed

You’ll need to decide what is most important to you, but there are several factors you should consider when first deciding how to set up your herb farm.

One of the most important factors is how easy or difficult it is to start the plant from seed.

When a plant is easy to start from seed, you’ll make more profit from the plant AND you’ll be able to grow unique varieties of the plant.

One particular plant, Lisianthus, is a beautiful flower that is so difficult to start from seed. I love how beautiful it is, but I won’t grow it because it’s so difficult to grow from seed.

Where I live is zone 7b/8a, and Lisianthus is a perennial here. I buy my transplants from Plant Gem because they will come back and grow yearly.

Can the Plant Be Direct Sown?

Another essential factor to consider is whether or not the plant can be direct sown or whether it needs to be started indoors and then transplanted into the garden.

If the plant can be direct sown, you won’t have to start indoors under grow lights. This is a huge money saver because the space under your grow lights is precious real estate, and you don’t want to start trays of seedlings if you could plant the seeds directly into the soil.

Some popular plants that like to be directly sown include beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, carrots, and others.

Herbs that love to be direct sewn include cilantro and dill.

Some popular plants that need to be planted indoors in controlled conditions and then planted out into the garden when they are several weeks old include lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, onions, leeks, basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano.

How Much Room Does the Plant Need to Grow

The amount of space you’ll need will be one of the first things you’ll need to consider.

The good news is that most herbs are somewhat compact compared to other plants, so you’ll be able to plant your plants relatively densely, which will improve your yields, increase your profit, AND cut down on the weeds that grow.

There are many books on intensive planting that you can read to learn more about this concept.

How Much Water Do the Plants Need

Some plants require more water than others. Most plants like around an inch per week but can get by with a little less than that. Investigate drip irrigation systems to put the water right where you want it.

A side benefit of drip irrigation systems is that weeds don’t grow where there isn’t any water, so your weeding requirements will reduce when you use drip irrigation.

This Drip Depot Drip Tape Irrigation System for 15 Rows is an excellent choice for the beginner herb farmer.

Storage Conditions Needed After Harvest

You’ll want to make sure you have a place to store your herbs between harvest time and selling.

Each herb’s preferences are too much to list here, so Google “Ideal storage conditions for _____ post-harvest” to determine exactly what the ideal conditions are for your herbs.

Post-harvest conditions are vitally important and can make or break your operation.

Nothing is worse than perfecting your planting, growing, fertilizing, watering, and pest management, only to ruin it all because of post-harvest conditions.

Most Profitable Herbs to Grow

Basil Plants

Basil is an incredibly versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes.

It has a subtle flavor that pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes, making it an ideal choice for any occasion.

Fresh basil leaves are often finely chopped and used as a garnish or added to sauces and salads.

Dried basil is also extremely popular as an ingredient in soups, stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, Italian cooking, and more.

Person planting a basil plant in the garden.

Another great way to utilize basil is by using it as filler in flower bouquets or arrangements.

Many people like to combine different herbs with their flowers when creating beautiful floral displays; basil adds a nice touch with its unique aroma and vibrant green color.

You could even package up small amounts of fresh or dried basil leaves into bundles or sachets to sell separately from your other products!

Easy To Grow And Harvest

Basil is an incredibly easy plant to grow and maintain; it does best in warm temperatures with plenty of sunlight (around 6-8 hours per day).

Depending on the variety you choose, some need more water than others but all will do well when given regular watering sessions every couple of days.

Basil comes back quickly after being harvested; each plant can be harvested multiple times throughout the season. That means you’ll have plenty of product ready to go.

Basil is truly one of the most profitable herbs out there; not only is it versatile and easy to grow/harvest but it also has immense potential for profit.

With so many varieties available plus its vibrant aroma/flavor profile, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider adding this herb to your herb garden.

Whether you decide to sell fresh leaves for use in recipes or dried leaflets as filler in flower bouquets – there are numerous ways you can make money off this popular herb! So why not give it a try?

Fresh Oregano

A bundle of freshly picked oregano

Dill

Three bundles of lavender with purple flowers.

Lavender

Three bundles of lavender with purple flowers.

Curled Parsley

A large bundle of freshly picked curled parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley

A bundle of freshly picked flat-leaf parsley

Fresh Cilantro

A small bundle of freshly picked cilantro.

Profit Potential Per 1000 Square Feet of Garden Space

For a garden of 1000 square feet, let’s see how much money you can earn from an herb farm:

If a garden of 1000 square feet has 50 square foot beds, that gives you 20 beds.

If each bed has a profit potential of $500-$1000 per bed, your herb farm can bring in between $10,000-$20,000 of income in that 1000 square foot space.

That’s pretty good money for a farm of much less than 1/10 of an acre!

Conclusion

Herbs are a great choice for the beginner herb farmer because they don’t take up a ton of room and bring in a nice profit. In this blog post, we’ve listed some of the most profitable herbs to grow and shared some essential information about selling herbs that every beginner herb farmer needs to know. With just a little bit of research, you’ll be able to get started on your very own herb farm!

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