Growing vegetables for profit can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you grow them organically. Today there is a huge demand for organically grown vegetables, and as the most expensive crops on the market, it is well worth the extra effort it takes to avoid spraying with pesticides and taking the time to weed by hand rather than using weedkillers. There are plenty of natural ways to reduce the effort of weeding, such as mulching, (using a thick layer of organic substances such as seaweed or grass clippings to not only keep the weeds down but also to feed the growing plants). This article is written in order to give you a good basis for the choice of vegetables to grow if you plan to sell them on so that they bring you in an income or if you merely want to save yourselves money by growing the expensive crops in order to avoid paying shop prices for them. Depending on the amount of land you have use of, the profit potential can be very satisfying. The actual growing of the vegetables themselves is also an enjoyable pastime and a proven way to lower your personal stress levels and lower your blood pressure.
Choosing the vegetables to grow for-profit largely depends on a balance between what vegetables are the most expensive to buy in the shops, yet at the same time are the vegetables most in demand. It is all very well growing expensive vegetables such as Artichokes, but how many people actually use them in their kitchens! Far better to grow low maintenance vegetables that are purchased for a premium price and are seen regularly on restaurant menus where you and I always order them as a side dish because we enjoy them.
I have been growing vegetables most of my life and have already realized that if growing for a profit or a business, certain vegetables are not cost-effective if you only have a relatively small area of land. Instead, you need to value every inch of space you have and try to grow crops which will produce a good return both in terms of quantity and demand.
Most Expensive and Profitable Vegetables to Grow.
To illustrate my point, vegetables such as carrots, onions, and potatoes may taste wonderful when grown at home, but unless they are solely for you and your family to eat, they are not very profitable to grow. The hotels and restaurants will be unwilling to pay more than a few pounds for a sack of either of them and they can easily take up a large area of land and effort for only a minimal return financially. I suggest growing a few rows of each of these for your own use, but concentrate your efforts on other crops in order to bring in an income or save yourselves a considerable amount of money on buying these vegetables.
In my experience the best crops for maximizing your vegetable growing profits are as follows:
Courgettes / Zucchini
1) Courgettes (zucchini). These are very expensive vegetables in the shops. My local supermarket is selling three small courgettes(zucchini) for over £2.00. Bearing in mind that each courgette plant can produce 20 courgettes or more over a season, this means that filling a large area of your land with courgettes can potentially generate many pounds in income. I try to grow at least thirty courgette plants a year now, and each plant requires about 1 square meter of land.
2) Mange Tout Peas. A flat podded pea harvested very young and a great favorite in restaurants. 100 grams of these retail at around £2.00 in most shops. A row of twiggy canes will host many of these plants and they, in turn, will offer a good crop of pods for you to sell on to your local restaurant or shop.
Spring Onions / Scallions
3) Spring Onions (Scallions). An easy crop to grow these retail at about 90 pence for around eight onions. A popular salad onion and delicious in sandwiches they are used in the majority of summer salads by a huge percentage of the population.
4) Radishes. Crazily enough although these crops grow to maturity in around 6 weeks, they are fairly expensive to buy as a vegetable. A small bag holding about 150 grams will still cost you the best part of a pound to buy in a supermarket. Better still they can be grown as a “row marker” with slower to mature crops such as spring onions, beetroots, carrots, etc, and can be harvested before the main crop in the row requires the space.
5) Runner Beans. This delicious crop is ever popular and yet a small handful of beans, (maybe a dozen) is priced at well over a pound. One of the best reasons to grow this profitable bean is the fact they take up little space because being climbers their cropping space is largely vertical rather than horizontal.
French / Green Beans
6) French or Green Beans. The same as above, only these are even more expensive to buy in many places. The very young beans are sold for nearly £2.00 for about 150 grams in the average supermarket. Again they take up little room as they are growing vertically.
7) Beetroot. If harvested when small (golf ball sized), these are a pricey vegetable to buy. Even four of these can be over a pound retail once prepared by boiling. Of course, selling them to your local hotel or restaurant will not require you to prepare them yourself, but they will still pay a good price for them.
8 ) Asparagus. Quite possibly the most profitable crop of all to grow if you have the patience to wait until they can be harvested. From seed, it will take three years, from crowns about two years. However, you will have an ongoing crop for anything from fifteen to twenty-five years afterward. Although each year your harvest period is only six to eight weeks, the price of these is very high, and each row will produce pounds of asparagus per year. Currently, about 100 grams of baby asparagus spears retails at about £2.50 in our local supermarket.
9) Leeks. Another high-value crop, although the growing season can be rather long. Mind you, look at the price in the supermarket for three or four of them and you may be quite shocked. They are a little more tricky to grow as you may well need to plant most varieties in a hole and water carefully in order to ensure a long, thick, white stem to the resulting leak. I can’t be sure of the exact current price but know it is well over £1.00 for about three of these.
10) Cucumbers. If you have access to a greenhouse so much the better as the indoor cucumbers are exactly the same as you buy in your local supermarket and lack the spines outdoor cucumbers have on their skins. You can get away with growing these in a sunny sheltered spot outdoors, (such as against a south-facing wall). Each plant will produce about fifteen to twenty cucumbers in a season, and these usually retail at about 89 pence or more in the supermarket. An essential ingredient in any salad most families use these and therefore they are in high demand. Again a vertical crop ensures maximum return on a minimal amount of space, and these can be grown in a grow bag if you don’t have access to enough land.
There are other crops you can grow that are also quite profitable, but I think the ones I have listed are the best choices in terms of demand and price. If you are thinking of taking up vegetable growing for profit I would advise you to get a decent size plot of land and concentrate on these crops. Even if you don’t have the land of your own you can rent a piece of land relatively cheaply if you look around. Where I live a field can be rented for about £600 per year, and assuming you can confirm it is horticultural land, (therefore no restrictions on plowing and cultivating it), the returns on your vegetable growing can cover this easily. If you intend to grow a long term crop such as asparagus please make sure you get a lease that is long term.
Good Luck in your new vegetable growing business.