Starting a home gardening business

todd_2006April 3, 2007

Hey green thumbers, I decided months ago that what I want to "be" when I grow up is a professional vegetable gardener. I am passionate about it, have years of personal practice, will become a Master Gardener this winter, live in a small (8,000) ideal community of affluence and an appreciation for local, organic, sustainable, etc. I don't think anyone else is providing other than landscaping. I am in no hurry (currently staying home with my 2 kids ages 3 and 3 months). My questions are really about things I should ponder in the next year or so before I launch my business. I have a BS in Biology and a MS in Env Ed. I don't figure the start up costs will be much (although as much as possible I'd like to start all of my own seedlings, so will need the means to do that effeciently). I can start slow ( my wife is the breadwinner). I am ignorant of business or management issues, but have several close friends with successful start ups (in other fields).

As far as I can tell, the hardest part will be figuring out the ranges of pricing for various needs (basic consultaion vs. complete maintenace, etc.). Also hiring help is a bit overwhelming to me. So, what should I do now to assure that when I am ready, I feel confident about this endeavor and feel that I have my ducks in a row?

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I don't think you'll have to worry about hiring help.

There is close to zero demand for a professional vegetable gardener no matter how affluent and organic the community. The reason that no one else is in the business is that it is not "sustainable".

Even if there is a client base, you would be basing your annual living on what you can sell and plant during a limited planting season. The follow up care is either too minimal to make a living on, or too expensive to have anyone want to pay it.Then you are in a very small community. A population of 8k is not even going to have 4k homes.

You also have to ask yourself what you are competing against. You say no one else is doing this, but that might not be true. I can tell you that years ago when I used to be a 'full service' landscaper', we would often be called upon to rototill vegetable gardens in the spring. If a home owner has a landscape crew coming to their property every week, would they hire in a specialist, or have the landscaper maintain the garden?

You may see vegetable gardening as a complex science and that the yard monkeys on the landscape crew would have far too inferior knowledge to do it. But, most people think it is sewing seed, watering, weed control, and harvesting. They are right for the most part unless a problem occurs.

I think that you will find that the demand is very small and that the demand is being met by non-specialists.

I hope it works for you, but I don't think it will.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 6:50AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I agree with laag. I hate to rain on your parade, but I don't think there is much of a market for this work. People either want to buy seeds and plants and do it themselves for the fun and/or cost savings, or they want to buy the finished produce to eat. I doubt there are many people who want someone to design, install and maintain a veggie garden - most of them aren't that pretty unless they are a fancy potager, and the cost to maintain would be outrageous.

I do interior landscaping, and we do have some residential clients, but they are very wealthy, tend to travel a great deal, and often are in condos. They want plants that look stunning, as part of their decor. I can't imagine any of them wanting a veggie garden in their yard.

There might be some potential for you in selling seedlings or produce at a farmer's market. Good for some pocket money and testing the waters, but very hard to make a living that way. Check out the market gardener forum if that interests you.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 7:12AM
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There IS a market, at least in my area, for custom growing organic veggies for gourmet or upscale restaurants. I have no idea if your community could support such an endeavor or if you have access to a larger, upscale market that could broaden your customer base. But the growing of freshly harvested and delivered 100% organic produce, often uncommon varieties, is a very desireable commodity in my area.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 9:44AM
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Can you clarify if it is a market garden type operation you have in mind whereby you grow vegetables, on land that YOU own or rent, for sale at a market or direct. Or: is it growing vegetables in other peoples gardens for their consumption. In the latter situation you grow veggies from seed and maintain the patch for a fee.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 5:02PM
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He is quite clearly talking about doing vegetable gardens for other people rather than producing organic produce to market to local restaurants and resalers.

I think Gardengal might have a much better alternative for Todd's talents. That is some positive advice.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 5:16PM
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Why ?? Why not just get a job ? With all that education you want to go to the farmers market and sell produce ??

Years ago ..after getting my BS degree in biology .. I told an old time landscaper I was going into the landscaping business. "Why" he said with a look on his face of disbelief and confusion.

I never pondered his question long enough .. So .. I ask you .. as I would my own kid .. "Why" ??? .. Of all the things you could do why this idea ?? Really .. Why ??

Good Luck.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 8:59PM
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I appreciate the words of doubt, really I do. I need to hear the other side of my dream.
SO yes, I am thinking of helping others to get their own gardens going rather than selling my own produce at the markets. I can't afford enough land here to do that. It could be merely planning with them what they could grow and preparing the soil, or it could be everything but eating the harvests. Any gardener knows that there are a whole series of plantings to occur throughout the growing season as plants mature and temps shift, so it's not just a come in once, toss some seeds in and tell them to water regularily. I have pitched my idea to several people and they all have said, "Yes, that is ME. I WANT and would LOVE a garden, but don't know where to begin and don't have the time even if I did." Granted they are my friends and want to support me, but I really feel that a niche could be carved out here. So many people are daunted by the idea of even keeping a house plant alive, much less an entire garden. I know that my market is small here, but I feel that by offering a wide range of services (from potted tomato plants on a patio to full scale backyard gardens) I could make a decent living (recalling that my wife is the main breadwinner).
As far as the "Why?" - a valid point indeed. I am trained as a teacher and have decided that there are too many aspects of teaching that would burn me out. The school district here is looking to support school gardens in all schools and use the harvests to supplement the school lunch programs (should give you an idea of the kind of community I live), so there is a possibility I could pursue some kind of "School Garden Coordinator" position down the road. I can also teach evening classes at the community college too. But I LOVE everything about creating gardens, the creative aspects, the workout, the local food production , the learning process, the taste, etc. I picture myself meeting with prospective clients during the winter and asking them, "So, what recipes do you like to cook? What snacks for your kids could be grown, do they like strawberries? What spices interest you?", etc. and planning a garden around their tastes and preferences. Then starting the seedlings in my greenhouse based on these plans. And I disagree and think that veggie gardens can be very beautiful.
I have no doubt that most full service lawn care providers can till up soil, pull weeds and turn on sprinklers, but I think what I am envisioning is something a bit more personal and dedicated than that.
So, what say you?
I'd appreciate more criticism and encouragement!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 1:34AM
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Then I have to agree with laag. Work it out like this: take an imaginary plot (you pick the size) and calculate how long it will take to prepare it from scratch, allow yourself a reasonable fee and factor in any machinery you use and also soil improvements. Then calculate the cost of raising seedlings in your greenhouse, heat, labour that kind of thing, to fill this plot and add to this the cost of planting in the prepared plot, don't forget a consultation fee for the time you spent discovering their tastes and preferences. Remember that all the seedlings won't go in at the same time if they want a continuity of crops so this will be more than one visit. I am going to stop there because I think you get the point. There is no way you can make a profit from this venture

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:42AM
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gonativegal(zone 5a)

Dear Todd,

I'll be real with you here. My main passion is creating and maintaining wildflower gardens - prairie and woodland. But honestly, even in a major metro area I've had to make compromises to pay the bills, by maintaining the traditional 3 of this and 5 of that landscaping.

I don't look at it as a chore, these gardens are nice too and they at least allow me to compete with the mow and blow guys. Plus, I love the satisfaction of watching them develop properly and improving them along the way.

But if you're going to embark on your dream to become a personal vegetable gardener you're going to have to diversify to make it. Maybe incorporate the other aspects of the landscape like maintaining the flower beds, hand pruning the hedges or groundcover - this can all be done organically if you choose without power equipment and herbicides, just a little more time consuming is all. Depending on where you are, you could get paid for most of the year doing this type of work from spring cleanup through early December with the fall cleanup and everything in between including your passion for vegetable garden design and maintenance.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:42AM
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I think dreams are powerful, as is doing something you really enjoy. You've got the time to grow slowly (no pun intended), and if you think there's a market for it, then I hope it works out.

In the affluent areas I work in, organic is 'trendy' but no one wants their manicured landscapes 'marred' by tomato plants and compost piles. I too agree that vegetable gardens can be beautiful--I take so much inspiration from old, english herb gardens. One day during a meeting with my biggest, richest client I was riffling through some papers in my clipboard and she caught a glimpse of something as it flipped past. She said, "OOoh! What is that?" I showed her, and said, "This is the design for my new vegetable garden." She asked a lot of questions and was really interested. She's also the only one who has ever asked me about doing a veg/herb garden for her (It's on my list of services), and I had to talk her out of it because she wanted it hidden away in a remote corner of her vacation home--I knew she and her husband would lament the cost of installation and maintenance afterward, compared with their return on investment (acres away from the house, it would get forgotten, and irrigation would be costly and inadequate). Seriously, I'd love to take the money, but I know the clients. She likes the idea of having a personal gardener; he doesn't like the associated price tag. I'm still hoping that there's a market for regular people who aren't sure they're on the right track, and won't mind paying $75 or something for a consultation or a little more for a design. hard to make a living that way, but if you did, that'd be a world i'd be proud to live in. i wish more people grew their own food :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 1:16PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

I've only installed one vegetable garden for a client. It was so time consuming, it cost him quite a lot of money. In the long run, he could have bought all of those veggies for a quarter of the price at a farmers market, I wondered why anyone would want to shell out that kind of money. I did the work (it was a blast and I'd love to do it again) realistically, I don't think many people would hire you just for vegetables!

I think you could make a go of it if you didn't stay so specialized. I think you really have to get into other forms of garden installations to get much business. Think of what you would like to make an hour, now double it. You have to pay taxes, business licence, cell phone, gas, ....! Don't forget your time to weed the soil (yes you, you don't think someones going to hand over a pristine slab of dirt so you can do all of the fun stuff), haul away the debris, bring in soil amendments, till, lay out walkways, and plant. That is hours of work and a lot of money.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 1:42PM
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Dreams are great. Don't ask how Brittany Spears is working out for me.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 8:07PM
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Well .. what you are driving at kinda sounds like .. book writing .. a radio show .. TV show .. live Web cam .. a new magazine kinda thing. Your not the first one or the last one ... so be prepared for competition.

Still a personal garden consultant .. ehh .. I'm not convinced would work. Don't underestimate the cost of doing business and how stingy people can be with a buck.

If you have that training and talent for teaching ect. what you have is a sketchy maybe workable idea that needs to be solidified into real numbers ect.. Again .. don't underestimate startup cost.

I'll say one thing .. the worst way to make a buck in the green industry seems to be to stick a shovel in the ground.

So keep cooking your idea ...

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 9:35PM
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Your idea sounds great, but I've known plenty of people with similar ideas that never panned out. One started up an edible landscaping business and they landed a few wealthy clients but even with that level of success they couldn't make it work. Another started up a garden baby sitting business to care for gardens when home owners went of vacation - she never got a single client. One started up a garden consulting or garden mentoring program to offer coaching to home gardeners - lots of interest but no one wanted to pay a decent wage for the service. So you may find that your idea doesn't work so well in the real world.

You won't know until you try.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:07AM
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i have extra plants and cacti i want to got rid off but don't know how, past march i decided to pack them up and drove to the nearest intersection to sale them. i was suprised that i made almost $500, business sense i don't think i make any profit at all, but for the love of hobby it does pay back.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 3:08PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Well, your point is it's kind of hit & miss-you may be able to supply, one-time, what they can't get at the market, but it will likely not be an ongoing enterprise-

I can sympathize w/ those whose customers want a veg garden, but are unable to visualize what kind of space it will take up, it won't always be pretty, it would have to be functional. Even those who have been on their property for a long time, don't want to give up control. Either you can talk to them & present your ideas or you just have to work around it, & have someone maintaining it, to their satisfaction...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 4:30PM
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I'm not sure where you live, but access to wealthy clients who want your niche service could swing the scales in your favor. As a master gardener, I would think your best at success is as a general maintainance landscaper who specializes in organic vegetable bed installation, but had some regular, once-a-week gigs maintaining all plants. I had a lot of success doing that with CA natives and xeriscaping around San Francisco, but I had to be willing to mow some lawns, weed whip some fields and kill hordes of bugs as well.

The organic vegetable growing angle allows you to differentiate yourself from other gardeners and will be a useful pitch as you seek to start up a new business

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 9:51PM
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txjenny(z8 TX)

"I need someone to plant a garden of peppers started already, onions, cucumber, strawberries, and watermelon. Asap"

Found this post on craigslist this morning (title of post "Plant Me a Garden"). Too bad you don't live around central Texas! So the people are out there, but I'm with everyone else--you'll need to be willing to do many other things to pay the bills and make a living off of this.

good luck!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:22AM
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HerbLady49(Z6 PA)

A local hay farmer decided to grow veggies to sell by the road during the summer. His wife grew some cut flowers. People came from all over to buy the cut flowers and cut-your-own. Needless to say, they are now mostly growing cut flowers.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 4:40PM
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"I can start slow ( my wife is the breadwinner)."

I think this is the key passage in the initial post. This doesn't have to start out as a family-sustaining enterprise. There's another source of income to pay the bills.

I think it can work, Todd. I'm amazed at the interest in my neighborhood, in efficient and attractive veggie gardens. I specialize in growing ornamental grasses, and grow veggies for just myself and my wife and dog, but my veggie beds get as much attention as my grass installations.

I've done 2 veggie garden installations this year, stemming simply from walkers-by last year. They bought some grasses, but hired me to contract their veg installations. I don't have any further connection, like selling them seedlings or maintenance, but I designed the gardens to fit their landscapes, laid out the hardscape and irrigation, and handled the labor.

You asked how to start planning the business. My advice would be to start learning the market for hardscape, irrigation and such. Soil and plants are easy, but you need to be able to effectively plan and place the stones, landscape timbers, drippers and sprayers. The bones of a veggie patch in a wealthy suburban area are the most important aspect. It has to fit the landscape.

Keep after it. You can sell veggie gardens.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 7:59AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The "root" of the problem is the narrow focus. There's lots of garden consultants, but not vegetable garden consultants. That particular area also is encumbered with its associations, such as Victory gardens during World War II and growing your own to save money over store-bought produce (supposedly not actually more expensive when you add it all up). Many would see it as about the same as hiring a consultant to tell them how to do their laundry or maintain their roof. If you can't do a subscription farm then the TV/radio show, newspaper column etc. Mr. Organic Gardening talking head route is probably the way to go. Even then you will probably have to generate your own market to make a vegetables-only focus go over. Exceptional people DO make things happen that weren't before they came along.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 3:45PM
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Hmmm, these postings are over a year old. Hey Todd! How are your ideas working? I live in the So Cal area and want to start the same type of business. If you lived close we could do it together. I'm still in a learning stage so if I ever do start a biz it will be awhile. Did you ever do anything? Any more advise out there.....or others in my area who want to do the same? Holly

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Since then a garden (as in the whole yard) coaching market has become noticeable, with some businesses presenting that as their primary service. Sunset magazine has had an article about it. Surfing the phrase should turn up quite a bit.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 8:53PM
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If you have a good eye for design and know how plants grow the garden coach idea is good. Wish I had more confidence to do it instead of slaving away growing plants for profit.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 9:38PM
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habitat_gardener(z9 CA/Sunset15)

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about someone who was doing this earlier this year. (I have a slow connection and a quick search didn't find it.) He plans and plants the garden, then picks it and leaves a box of vegetables etc. on the back porch. The story said he was pretty busy.

I've also heard of people in this area who specialize in edible landscaping and are doing ok. As far as I know, though, they're either willing to do whatever or else don't do it full time as primary breadwinners.

And then there's Ros Creasy, who wrote the book on edible landscaping (several, actually) and can now charge whatever the market will bear and can pick and choose clients.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 5:33PM
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hedwig(QLD Brisbane)

I have got a hobby veggie garden and we four eat what we grow.
Half the time half the beds are somehow untidy or fallow, however it#s still a great garden, but it's constant work and sometimes if I sow I water twice a day. I guess you plan makes the most expensive vegetables in the world!
I understand you approach and at the moment you can't do much with two littelies, but you must calculate childcare you cannot bring your kids in other peoples garden and then they must go to toilet or start crying.
You may not want to make a full time job with two kids and maybe for something more practical but what you want to do is more than a full time job with very little money.
Maybe you think of other things related to green? Only planning of veggie gardens or permaculture patches which is very hip.
I myself try something which is not much better than your idea: growing usefull plants to sell on the market (nursery).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 4:35AM
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I saw the articles on the guy in SF and thought if it when this thread came back up. I think it's so neat that he's made this concept work. Here are some of the links about it:
(sometimes the NYT requires a free subscription to access)

Lots of articles. I'm fascinated because I love, love, love the concept, but I'm also curious about how he can make it profitable. Unless it's success is also reliant on having lots of clients in a small area. Sometimes I have to drive far between clients. The happy days are when I park in one spot and walk from house to house because the clients are that close together.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 10:15PM
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Todd I'm not sure if you will get this message or not but I had to respond. I read through several of the messages posted to you, and while they gave their opinions on why it would not work, I find it to be only a matter of their opinion as to why they think it want work. Listen while I know you are looking for feedback, I pray you are not swayed by these opinions to the point of not trying. True there are many factors to consider, but properly planned out I think you can really make something happen here.Think of all the successful people who were told that their ideas wouldnt amount to anything and now their ideas have become a reality. Never let naysayers discourage your dream. If this is something you really want to do see your vision as a reality. I felt your passion for this and that is one ingredient needed for true success. Start working at this you never know where it could lead. After all with the epedimic of diseases and the poor quality of food, Todd I think you are on to something greater than you are imagining. I can even see where maybe you could get clients started and to a point where they are able to maintain on their own. After all I came across this site as I was researching information to start my own organic herb and veggie garden. If there was such a service that I knew of to get me started I would definetly entertain looking into it.Put your ideas in order and set your intention of attracting your first client and start from there. Best wishes to you and your vision.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 11:19PM
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It is a matter of opinion, but it is a matter of opinion by several people that actually work in design, landscape maintenance, landscape construction, and other plant services. These people, myself included, have had to take on a wide diversity of work at one time or another and are the people who are contacted by other people looking for any odd type of plant related service. They have heard about every request for services. They know what services people have requested whether they are profitable or not.

If someone is considering having someone tend their vegetable garden, these are the people who would get the call. They would know.

Certainly, there are people who have their landscape maintenance person prepare and maintain vegetable gardens as an additional service, but not as a stand alone.

Think about it. Would someone maintain their own lawn and garden, yet pay someone else to maintain their vegetable garden? The realistic answer is no. Would someone who has someone maintaining their lawn and/or landscape hire a different person to maintain their vegetable garden. The realistic answer is also "no".

Todd could start a landscape maintenance company and emphasize and market vegetable garden preparation and maintenance to gain a competitive edge. But, he will find it very difficult to get clients if he provides vegetable garden services only. I believe that this is all anyone is trying to tell him.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Let me just add that while it is not so readily apparent in more urban areas, home vegetable gardening is the primary hobby gardening activity in this country. More novice or first time gardeners start with a small patch of veggies than any other gardening activity. Afterall, this is not rocket has been growing his own food for thousands of years without books, coaches or any other resources other than experimentation and his own ingenuity.

I can see where an affluent population and an upscale client base, especially in a more urban area, could set the stage for a gardening business that offers these services......many of these folks prefer to hire out any work done on their properties rather than do it themselves. But again, this specific a client base is also the most likely to patronize organic food suppliers, also most often located in affluent, upscale urban neighborhoods. Grow it??? Why bother when a quick trip to the local Whole Foods or other organic grocery/produce stand will result in a huge range of common and exotic organically grown produce at a cost similar to (or more likely less than) that of hiring someone to grow and tend it for you. And this potential client base also tends to have the desire (often the requirement) for well-groomed, precise ornamental landscapes that are just not well-suited to an unruly looking veggie patch.

I just don't see how this could operate successfully on a stand alone basis without offering or providing more commonplace landscape maintenance or design services. At the very least, not until the proprietor had a solid and publicized reputation in the area.

As with any other type of start-up business, identifying and targeting your client base and understanding the demographics is essential for success. It is very difficult to provide a service to fill a need that doesn't really exist.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2008 at 10:17AM
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I have a feeling we may not see Todd again...

Yes, the guy in SF is doing a cool and interesting business. Kudos!!

I think starting vegetable gardens for people could be a cool job. Even if he only did four a year. It could open up his mind to 100 other things he could do with the same skill set.

I am looking for someone to do just that!

Digging in to a perfectly good yard or hillside really is a bit overwhelming and it is good to have another person to bounce ideas off of. And probably a third person to help with the manual labor.

Todd if you ever come back do tell what area you are in!

Hollyannkelly: where are you in SoCal? I am a Master Gardener, you are a Master Gardener... now we need an irrigation guy...

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:48AM
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I'm thinking about starting up the same kind of business this coming year in the Napa, Sonoma area. If Todd 2006 or hollyannkelly are checking this blog, how are your businesses doing?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 11:19PM
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So I just had this brilliant idea of planning and digging gardens for people who wanted one but had no idea where to start or were put off by the initial work to get it started. And then I stumbled onto this forum. And I'm wondering how Todd made out and whether anyone else was able to make this work.

Seems to me that lots of people want to do the right thing (eat healthier, grow their own food, etc.) but don't know what to do next! I do think this business would work, in a concentrated geography.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 11:18AM
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I sell plants to people that want their own gardens, for at least 1 year. After all the hard work, they come and buy their produce from me at the farmers market. I'm sure if they could afford someone to do the work and let them 'help', they would keep at gardening longer.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 3:36PM
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I am in LOVE with your idea, I am in the same boat, Why not be apart of creation instead of destruction? Keep going! Show your kids it's important! it's a lot harder than some of these other people are making it out to be. There is a man in my area who has people buy his stuff before it's even grown! He delivers a bag of garden goods to their home when it's ready. He has to have 30 people sign up every harvest to make it happen, but people WANT what?s best for their families. If you are a stay at home parent this is an amazing choice. You are not trying to get rich, just feel rich. You have no idea what this will do for your family. Devotion, teamwork, routine, production it?s the stuff that feeds little curious minds. It's amazing. I don't know if you know this but your special. Not everyone is a dreamer. Go get it:)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Todd and the others who were interested in the start-up gardening for clients...go for it. Just adjust your model and plan. If any of you are around and in or near SF or the East Bay, please contact me.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 4:09AM
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We DID start a home gardening business!! AND it's FLOURISHING!! Poor, Todd--maybe 2007 was too early and that's why everyone knocked your idea down. But I will have you know that "organic", "green", and "sustainable" are IN.. they've BEEN in for a couple years now--so if you haven't started this business idea yet, you better get on it before someone else in your area does. The same people who will blow $100 a month on yoga also want an organic garden--whether it's for their kid's fresh veggies or for another hobby they can do--there is a market. Just go for it! My partner thought of it when we returned from an extended overseas trip and just put the puzzle pieces together, bit by bit, and it worked! We've done small container gardens for those in the city with little space, major high-priced fancy roof decks, suburban family herb gardens, huge embassies, and restaurants--everyone wants in! :

But um, don't start it in San Francisco, we might want to move there one day :)


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:04PM
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I would be very curious to hear about your business success, as my partner and I are about to enter into this market. I'm sure you have learned enumerable things along your jouney.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 12:54AM
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hello, i have also recently entered the home gardening field due to years of person experience. it started with my person garden getting alot of attention from neighbors and passer bys i even have a few potential cleints, i also have access to bout 20 acres of land that i could use for nursery, upick or farm that could sustain my business. but although im good at making things grow im not to savy on the business end i have no idea what to charge or how to market my idea also it costs alot to get certified as an organic nursery, also irrigation and machines ect.. any advise or criticism would be greatly appreciated thanx and god bless and good luck to anyone who has

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Hi guys,

Anyone consider starting a business where you grow veggies in people's yards, you do some level of planting and maintenance on them and then you harvest them and bring to farmers market. Home owner gets some of the veggies to keep in trade for not having to do any work. You get free land to grow, homeowner gets free veggies for allowing you to do it.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:29AM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Gee folks, I must have missed something. Todd-this is year 1 of my small business run from my home. When I read your post it sounded like you wanted to design, grow, and maintain others gardens. That by itself might be difficult to make money. But right now this organic, sustainable movement is huge. I took an ad out, for grins, in a local newspaper to see if there was any interest in locally grown organic produce that would come out of my garden. I had about 8 customers within 2 days-all more than willing to pay top dollar for this stuff.

I couldn't do it for that many people, but I ended up doing it for 5 of them. I run it like a miniature CSA, but with some definite advantages. With that small of an operation you don't feel like a farmer and it's still enjoyable. As good as this is, I believe the real money is in teaching others how to do it for themselves. This is where the money is-at least from my experience. You're going to have to combine a few things to make it worth something.

I'm a square foot gardener and I'm able to produce an enormous amount of food in just 148 square feet. With this small of an area I really can't take on any more than 5 customers. But I've been able to build up a small name for myself locally(not bragging), and that's beginning to spread to outlying communities. The need to know how to garden will grow exponentially in the future for a couple of obvious reasons. For most people, it's a lost art-something we haven't had to rely on for a long time. That's all changing. I'm not saying you can make a living by just doing this. My business is very, very part-time and very seasonal. In my first year I think I will make close to $8000, and I'm just beginning. That might not seem like a lot. But keep in mind that it's a seasonal thing, and I work on a cash basis only. Start-up costs are very minimal. If you're interested in ideas, you can visit my at my website: You all know how hobbies usually end up costing you money? Well, I've just figured out a way to make my hobby pay for itself many times over. It's pretty fun. Don't give up, just keep the dream big. Don't limit yourself with doing just one thing...keep'll come up with something...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Hello everyone,

I sure hope someone out there can give me some good feedback. I have posted my business idea to numerous forums, but it is to no avail.

A little background...

I am a student, currently enrolled in an entrepreneurship program, and I am in the process of writing a business plan.


I am attempting to find information as to whether or not my idea is feasible.

My idea...

My company would offer general services including lawn care, traditional garden design and maintenance of, leaf removal, snow removal, etc. However, unlike traditional landscaping outfits the company would specialize in the design, construction, maintenance, and harvest of a vegetable garden and or fruit orchard. Cliental would be welcome to learn the art behind organic gardening, maintenance of, and preservation of the harvest (services would be discounted slightly for more involved cliental), otherwise these services would be provided by the landscaping crew for a fee. Cliental with left over / unused crops would also be eligible for a discount should they decide to provide the extra food to families who qualify for aid due to disability or low income.


Please don't hesitate to tell me your thoughts. Criticism is welcome!

Thank you. âº

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:17AM
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i am sorry that you posted that "what you want to be when you grow up" was followed by you're being married with children ages 3 and three mnths sorry but i'm too late

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 2:48PM
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As far as the landscape/vegetable business plan, look around there are so many landscapers that they are killing each other off. People don't want someone else to do their gardening, they either want to do gardening or will buy at their local farmers markets.

So I don't think your plan is feasible, sorry.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I don't know if I would sart a "home garening business" If you are in an afluent area you might want to look at insalling "Kitchen Gardens" and become the village Potager.
I would look for unique designs. There are some beautiful kitchen gardens on the net. If yu make them interesting and elegant they are much more appealing and seen as an enhancement to the home. Anyone that puts big bucks into a home will want thier garden to be impeccable. You may find yourself getting into setting up small custom greenhouses and irrigation systems as well for the full deal.
I added a small greenhouse and some raised beds to my yard ths year and get lots of attention from passers by because we made it look neat and blended it with the yard and house.
Good luck. I wanted to send something positive. Start with a dream and build on that.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Does anyone know what became of Todd, the guy who posted the original question about starting a home gardening business 6 years ago?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 12:26AM
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