Many people want to start their own business but have no idea where to start. An excellent idea is to start a veggie garden. There are a few things you will need as well as time, patience, and a bit of knowledge. The good news is that you do not need a lot of money. Like all businesses, you will need to work hard for it to be a success but a veggie garden is one of the easier businesses to start with little to no money.
Why start a veggie garden?
Firstly, we all need vegetables, yourself, your family, and the people that live around you. They are an important part of your diet and it is important to eat a good amount of vegetables. Sadly, they have become very expensive in most parts of the world. This is a trend that is going to continue.
The first benefit of having a veggie garden is that you should always have fresh healthy vegetables for yourself and your family. This will save you a lot of money while making sure everyone has a healthy diet. In fact, homegrown fresh vegetables are often much healthier than those you buy in the shops.
The main reason to start it as a business is that vegetables are always in demand. People need to buy them often and cannot go without them. What is also great is that it does not need much money to start.
Let’s take a look at what you need and how to go about starting a veggie garden business.
What do you need to start a veggie garden business?
There are a number of thongs that you will need before you can start your veggie garden business:
The first, and most important thing you need is land. It does not need to be your land but it needs to be safe and secure, preferably relatively flat, and with decent soil.
If it is not your land, you will need to come to some arrangement with the owner of the land. You could possibly pay him in stock from your vegetables.
There is always land that is not used so if you do not have enough of your own, you need to be creative in how to find and use land legally and fairly. There is always a way.
Ideally, you want land that is close to where you live so that you can keep an eye on it. It is also best if the soil is good and there is water nearby. You also need plenty of sun.
The size you need will depend on how big you want to grow the business as well as what you intend to plant. Some vegetables need lots of space to grow while others can do well in a small space.
If you only have a small space you will have to be creative but you can still grow a good amount of vegetables.
- Basic gardening knowledge
What is great is that most vegetables are pretty easy to grow. You do not need to be an expert but you will need some basic skills and knowledge. You can read books or research online if you have access.
Another option is to volunteer at a local nursery, garden center, farm, or with other vegetable growers. This way, you can learn for free from people that are already doing well.
- Marketing knowledge
Once you start to grow more than your family can eat, you want to start selling the vegetables that you grow. That is when it becomes a business and you start to make money not just save money.
Give some thought to what people around you spend their money on and what vegetables will be in demand. There is no point growing something that no one wants to eat.
Think about how you are going to sell them. This can be done by using signs and a bit of word of mouth and people come to you. You could also set up a stand on a busy road or sell to shops.
The best option will depend on what you are growing and how much you can produce. You will make more selling directly to the public than selling to a shop as the shop also needs to make a profit.
Your plants will need water if they are to grow well. If you are in an area with good rainfall, that is helpful but you cannot be dependent on nature. You will need a steady source of water for the seedlings and the vegetables as they grow.
Good soil is important for a good crop of vegetables. If the soil is poor you will need to spend some money on compost or soil.
You can make your own compost which is a skill you should learn. Kraal manure is also very good for your plants and if you are lucky you can get it for free or a very low price.
Getting the soil perfect is a very important step before you start planting so do not neglect this. Make sure it is free of weeds, has good nutrients, and drains well.
Make your own fertiliser by making your own compost. You can also use cow dung or manure from other animals. Just see what you have and use it. Donkey and horse poop makes a good compost!
- Basic equipment
You do not need to spend a fortune but basic equipment such as spades, a rake, cutting tools, and other equipment will be needed. You might also need a wheelbarrow and a hosepipe.
You can always start with the basics and build these up as you start to make money.
- Seeds or seedlings
Now that you have all the basics ready, you can start to grow. You will need seeds and/or seedlings, depending on what you want to grow. Certain things, you grow from vegetables you buy, pumpkin, gem squash, and even potatoes, for example.
Be sure to buy quality products from a good source to make sure they will grow well and taste good. The better the seeds or seedlings you use the better the vegetables will be.
If you have enough space you can also grow fruit trees but remember that these will take a few years before they start producing fruit. It is also not a good idea if you do not have secure rights to the land.
- Patience and care
Finally, gardening requires patience. The plants will not grow overnight so will take some time before you can sell them You need to take care of them until they are ready.
You have to watch closely for insects and other pests, diseases, and weeds. These need to be sorted out quickly before your vegetables are destroyed.
It is a good idea to know what to plant when, as some vegetables only grow in certain seasons. You also want to have some idea of how long they take before they can be harvested. This will help you to plan your business.
- Harvesting and packaging
You will also need to give some thought to how you plan to harvest the vegetables and how you will package them for selling.
If you are selling directly to the public this is not a problem but if you plan to sell to shops you will have to buy professional packaging materials. You will also need to safely transport the produce to the stores.
Although you do not need much money to start this business, you will need money to get going and survive until you start earning money. This could be quite a few months. Make sure you plan for this when thinking about starting the business.
There are certain risks in starting a vegetable garden business and it is important to think about these before you start.
- Weather conditions
Frost, hail, wind, drought, and other weather conditions can damage the vegetables or make your life more difficult. This is something that you cannot control but need to be aware of.
- Pests and disease
Part of your learning, if you want to have a good vegetable garden business, is to understand how to prevent or treat disease and pests. Monkeys, rats, and other creatures could also be a problem.
Have a plan
Do not just go out and start planting vegetables. Give it some thought and have a plan. This means a short-term plan to get started, a medium plan when you hope to start selling vegetables, and a long-term plan on how to grow and develop the business over time.
You will probably make a few mistakes in the beginning, most businesses do. If you start off fairly small and build up over time, this will not be a big problem.
Starting a vegetable garden business is a great idea and it is something most people can do even with very little money. Do some research before you start, find the right place, and learn what needs to be done. You will soon have fresh vegetables for your family and enough left over to make some money.
This article is part of our series: 50 businesses to start with nearly no money.