The annual revenue of a small family greenhouse operation ranges from $3,000 to $6,000, if you’re thinking about starting your own business.
This profit projection is anticipated to rise in light of the rising popularity of locally grown fresh herbs and vegetables. Because of this, small greenhouse growers have an opportunity to benefit from the increased demand for their products.
You can turn your love of gardening into a side business. Regardless of whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or the country, greenhouses are a profitable business. Just pick a productive greenhouse crop and reap the benefits.
Some of the most common greenhouse crops, as well as how much they yield, are discussed in this article. Continue reading to find out which crop is the most profitable to plant in a small family-owned greenhouse.
Earnings In A Small Family Greenhouse Business
The choosing of crops is one of the most critical aspects in making money from your greenhouse. Start with crops that thrive in a greenhouse climate if you’re just getting started.
You’ll learn here how much a small family greenhouse firm might expect to make based on the crops it grows. These are some of the most lucrative crops you can plant.
Tomatoes are the most frequent greenhouse crop because they are easy to grow and produce a lot of fruit from a small number of plants. When crops are grown in greenhouses, they are easier to harvest.
Tomatoes grown in a tiny home greenhouse should be a bush variety. An area of 12 by 18 feet will provide at least 250 tomatoes. Interested in learning how much a small family greenhouse business might earn for the family?
When it’s done correctly, harvesting roughly 5000 pounds of tomatoes can be achieved each year. This will bring in $2500 to $3000 per season in profit.
If you are producing organic tomatoes, it can be sold at a higher premium, thereby generating up to $5000 per season. Small-scale farming can generate a lot of money.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant for a family greenhouse, this one is ideal. You may also produce a large number of high-quality crops because it is resistant to pests and diseases. Depending on the type of lettuce and the method of cultivation, the field production can vary significantly.
When growing lettuce, the big question is: how much money can a tiny family greenhouse business expect to make?
Field-grown lettuce yields roughly 1000 heads of lettuce in a greenhouse with 288 square feet of space. Each harvest can bring approximately $1300 if medium-sized lettuce weighs 1 pound.
Depending on the cultivar, heading lettuce can take anywhere from 75 to 100 days to mature. It’s estimated that $4000 to $5,000 can be earned annually. You can harvest 7 to 8 times a year if you are growing looseleaf. Grow this to the point where it makes you between $9,000 and $10,000 each year.
The greenhouse’s packing capacity can be increased by using hydroponics to grow lettuce. Approximately 25 heads per square foot may be grown with this setup. Additionally, it might reduce your costs, resulting in increased profits for your business.
Because greenhouse crops are more environmentally friendly and organic, ripe bell peppers are a popular option. Location, growing season, trellis design, irrigation and fertilizer are only few of the factors that affect pepper fruit production.
With proper care, a greenhouse can yield up to 4 pounds per square foot. It’s estimated that with a 288-square-foot greenhouse, you can produce roughly 1100 pounds of produce every year.
Sweet bell peppers are the most often grown greenhouse peppers, and they are also the most popular. Green, orange, yellow, and red are just few of the many hues available. If you grow and sell bell peppers, you can make up to $3000 a year.
Come to think of how much peppers can bring in for a modest family-run greenhouse.
Chilli peppers are also a choice for greenhouse crops. A greenhouse is the best place to grow food since it helps it develop its heat, flavor, and aroma. Chilli peppers might bring in an additional $1,500 to $2,500 each year.
Peppers are a great choice for greenhouses because they may bring in so much money.
Cucumbers, like tomatoes, may bear fruit continuously, which makes them suitable for greenhouse cultivation. Choosing the greenhouse cucumber variety ensures that your crop will grow properly and produce high-quality products.
Per square foot, you should expect to get roughly two cucumbers. A tiny family greenhouse can yield an estimated 2000 pounds of cucumbers by planting 500 plants.
If you go with cucumber, how much money can you expect a small family greenhouse firm to make? With just one cropping, this can sell for up to $8,000.
They’re an annual plant, meaning they don’t repopulate after the season. You can only harvest 5 to 7 times a year because they take 50 to 70 days to grow. If you work at this rate, you can earn $4000 to $5000 every month.
Cucumbers prefer temperatures between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius, thus a heater may be necessary, especially in the winter. Cucumbers can be protected by a variety of methods, such as using a different kind of cucumber plants or growing them at different times of the year.
If you are thinking about starting a greenhouse business with hydroponic techniques…
Hydroponics has several advantages, and you probably already know about them.
- There will be no weeding and little or no use of herbicides in this scenario.
- Control of pests made simple
- Turning crops around more quickly
- yields from crops that are more densely cultivated
- According to the program, the amount of resources required can be greatly reduced (water, electricity, fuel).
Hydroponics, on the other hand, has seen a rise in customer confidence in recent years. There is scientific evidence to support the claim that the crops taste and are nutritionally comparable to their organic counterparts.
Crop selection and growing season
Protecting and maintaining optimal growth conditions for crops is the goal of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). This is done by enclosing the manufacturing process in a factory (a greenhouse or building).
Many CEA farms focus on cultivating a limited number of crops throughout the year in order to minimize waste. Customers want a consistent supply, so efforts should be made to minimize seasonal fluctuations. As a wholesale customer, consistent supply is a convenience that might make or break a deal for you.
Many crops can be grown simultaneously, but CEA’s focus is on economics and it frequently makes more sense to focus on only a few crops and excel in them.
Because some crops demand a particular growing environment, you may want to create a separate greenhouse for them.
From March to October, you could use herbs like basil or chives (with the aid of heating) for this purpose. Evaporative cooling herbs like mint and cilantro (from March to October) could also be included.
The focus of this essay is on crops with a high water weight and a short crop cycle. Leafy greens and herbs make up the majority of the ingredients.
For several years, we sold produce to a local CSA out of a four-season greenhouse. In our “The Best Crops for Hydroponics” guide, we document our findings. This guide is available for purchase in our store. You can use this guide to find out what temperatures are needed for each crop, as well as when to sow and harvest.
Basil and chives are two crops that grow well together, so we decided to concentrate our research on them. These hydroponically grown plants demand similar greenhouse conditions and are among the most financially rewarding to grow. The goal is to find a market for these herbs that consumes approximately 110 pounds each week.
It can take a long time to find a market. Miniheads of lettuce are popular and easy to sell but fetch a lesser price to some farmers who raise them as a secondary crop. This strategy ensures a steady flow of sales while while increasing the company’s ability to sell higher-margin herbs.
Oregano, lemongrass (common in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine), Bok Choy, and other vegetables can be grown in a greenhouse in a warmer climate.
Arugula, kale, mustard greens, cilantro (coriander), tarragon, fennel, nasturtiums, and peppermint are just a few of the crops that will thrive in the cooler months.
Choosing a CEA strategy can be difficult, but your customers will thank you for it. To meet this demand, your consumers go to imported crops from California or Mexico throughout the year. Local greenhouse producers will be able to meet this need.
How much can I grow? Verified crop yields in a vertical greenhouse.
About eight months out of the year, in most northern regions, this greenhouse should be able to grow crops. In the southern states, the season will be extended, but they’ll have to deal with the heat and humidity.
According to a PhD dissertation, these yields are based on several years of production testing.
Aquaponic procedures were used in hardiness zone 4b for the testing. At an altitude of 7,200 feet, the site was situated in southeastern Wyoming. As you might expect, the winters are cold and dry, with little to no direct sunlight.
The yields listed here were obtained using soil-less hydroponic growth methods.
Crops such as these are popular and command a high price in the market. With some basic market research you may be able to find a strong demand with local food coops or restaurants.
These are some of the most commonly grown crops, and they also command a high price. If you do some basic market research, you may discover that local food coops and restaurants have a strong demand for your product.
Depending on your market, you may be able to raise or lower the price of this product. As a general rule, fresh, local varieties might be highly sought after for their freshness and taste. Profitability is heavily dependent on distribution techniques. However, wholesale pricing can open up broader markets, but it can also lower costs (wholesale prices may range from $6 a pound for low quality commodity pricing to $40 a pound for premium fresh, local pricing).
You may find a one ounce clamshell of (organic, imported) basil for as much as $2.75 at mainstream outlets like Walmart and Target. Before the retail margin is deducted, this works out to almost $59 per pound.
The wholesale price of most produce is jacked up between 35 and 50 percent. For wholesale pricing, multiply the retail price by.667 to get the total cost (50 percent markup). Here’s a general notion of what you may expect to pay the farmer in the long run. Keep in mind that if you’re going through a distributor, they’ll take an additional 15 to 25 percent off the top.
Sales to a retail outlet through a distributor often leave you with a profit margin of 25 to 50 cents every dollar of sales. If your farm is well-established and able to handle higher sales volumes, this is the route you should take.
Starting with smaller customers, growing consistently high-quality produce, and providing expert customer service are the single best things you can do to prepare for success in the produce section of your local supermarket.
Not sure where to start? Try the ZipGrow Greenhouse Kit
Total cost for a 20 by 48 ZipGrow Vertical Greenhouse (including Towers, site preparation and new water/electrical lines) is roughly $35,000 if you already own the land.
Utility line construction costs are not included in this price. Installation of an electrical feed and a new water pipe buried below the frost line may be essential, as well as grade the soil for the greenhouse.
It’s possible to erect this greenhouse in a weekend if you have any construction experience. Some people will require the aid of a contractor.
We expect overall expenses to be in the $32k to $40k range.
This size greenhouse has the benefit of being easily managed at night and on weekends. We aim to shut down the greenhouse in November and reopen it on March 1st, when the days begin to become longer, because we are dependent on seasonal sunlight.
This gives us enough time to complete our tasks for the next eight months. This is how the week’s work schedule looks like:
Expenses for labor are clearly at the very top of the list. No consideration has been given to a lease or a mortgage in this case. If you plan to hire personnel or make a mortgage payment, you may have to wait until you have a sufficient customer base to justify the expense.
Instead, we’re going to take a more hands-on approach here, requiring at least 1,000 square feet of property and the ability to run the firm yourself. An owner/operator can make a respectable living on the side if they provide excellent service to their customers.
You may also hire a friend or one of your children to take care of the greenhouse if you so desire. This works out to $740/month in labor expenditures if you pay $10/hour.
The type of crop you choose, the structure of the facility, and any unique trimming or packaging requirements can all affect labor times.
Since they do not require much water and can tolerate temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, chives are an extremely hardy crop to grow. Pests and illnesses rarely infect chives, and insect pests rarely feed on them. It is common for chives to be picked many times during a single planting.
The rest of the process, fortunately, is quite inexpensive. Seeds, seed plugs, utility expenditures (water, gas heating, and electricity), and nutrients are among the additional costs. Estimates of these can be made as follows:
- An initial supply of chives seeds is $25.
- Basil seeds for a year’s supply cost $20.
- $300 for a year’s worth of seed plugs.
- $200 for a year’s worth of nutrients
There are a number of expenses to consider when figuring out your power bill:
- The use of evaporative cooling in the summer
- Heating during the winter (roughly 3 months a year our of an 8 month growing season)
- Running the pumps requires electricity.
The most expensive one is heating and cooling. Residential natural gas prices averaged $12 per 1,000 cubic feet in 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One thousand cubic feet of natural gas will give 1,000,000 BTUs, which is roughly enough energy to warm the greenhouse from 25 (outside temperature) to 75 degrees inside for around 11 hours.
This translates to a natural gas bill of around $12 to keep the greenhouse warm overnight. As soon as the sun comes out in the morning, we should expect the greenhouse to warm up quickly.
Despite the difficulty of calculating utility expenses in every case, this method can be used to estimate your heating or cooling requirements.
- Determine the ideal temperature range for growing plants. Basil and chives require a temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Find normal temperatures in your area for the time of year you intend to plant your crops. During the months of March through June, as well as November, when we are preparing for our final harvest, we want to heat the greenhouse.
- In order to figure out your daily heating needs, use a BTU calculator. Since the sun warms the greenhouse quickly during the day, 12 hours a day is usually plenty.
- Determine the number of hours a day that the greenhouse will need to be heated with extra energy.
- Estimate the cost of utilizing natural gas or propane to provide these BTUs of heat.
You can get an idea of the daily prices by smoothing out the highs and lows for your location on a daily basis. You can use this to get an idea of how much it will cost to run the greenhouse in the months you choose to operate it.
A typical greenhouse located in Kansas City, Missouri, was used as an example. Our season’s daily average temperatures are as follows:
Since we’ll be heating a greenhouse for four months in the spring and fall, we should expect to pay $742. Because this is just a napkin drawing, the final price may be lower or higher than shown.
There will also be additional charges for water and electricity to keep the greenhouse running. Two low-wattage pumps are all that is needed to run the entire operation. Water and electric expenditures will be estimated at $300 per year, and we’ll add an additional $2,000 for various incidental expenses.
Evaporative cooling may be necessary in particularly hot areas. In this situation, the greenhouse will not be cooled by evaporation. On hot days, the greenhouse’s sidewalls will be rolled up and ventilation fans will be used to circulate the air. As a result, the only expenses associated with cooling will be the electricity used to power the ventilation fans.
To learn more about greenhouse cooling, please visit this page.
Expenses, excluding labor, will be roughly as follows:
- Chive seeds, one time use, $25
- Basil seeds for a year’s supply cost $20.
- $300 for a year’s worth of seed plugs.
- $200 for a year’s worth of nutrients
- Heating costs for the year: $742.
- The cost of cooling, electricity, and water: $300. ‘
- Expenses for other items: $2,000
- A rough estimate of the final bill is $3,587.
Over the course of an 8-month growing season, we may expect to earn $50,400 if we earn $1,575 per week.
With a projected operating cost of $3,587 and considerable wiggle space for other costs, this can generate a net income of more than $45,000. In the first year, even if we only sell half of our produce, we may be able to justify a part-time greenhouse business.