You like the fast-paced life in the city concrete jungle. But you also love the outdoors. You always make a trip to visit parks, forests, and natural reserves. It’s because of the outdoors that you are now in a committed relationship. You met each other during one of your trail runs. You will now settle in Utah and move to a new house with landscape gravel. The backyard is almost just as big, with enough space for barbecuing and entertaining 15 to 20 people.
But the image forming in your head isn’t about a group of people huddled in a corner, beer in one hand and a paper plate in another, drinking and chewing away at your delicious creations. The image you have is a greener, quieter one, with the somber Simon & Garfunkel song playing in the background—parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. You’re envisioning an herb garden, and you want it to be a business venture. So what does it take to start an herb garden business?
A Background of the Global Herb Market
The Asia-Pacific region is still the primary market, with a 76% share based on 2017 figures. This is because the biggest countries in Asia—China and India—remain to be the primary producers of herbs and spices. Smaller countries, like Vietnam and Thailand, are also contributing their share as producers.
North America’s share of the pie is about 9%. Your contribution to this global market won’t make the needle move significantly in terms of production, but you will matter to your local customers.
Starting Your Small Herb Garden
Yours is perhaps the perfect situation. You have ample space in your backyard. The sunlight hits the area at the right time of the day. You probably have good soil too. Here are some of the things that you should know when starting your small herb garden:
- Beyond the basics. You will be going commercial, albeit on a smaller scale. This means that your know-how must go beyond the basic understanding of growing herbs in a pot. There’s the aspect of selling cut herbs, selling the plant itself, or just the seeds. You can, of course, venture to do all three as your business model. But you need to stack your knowledge.
- Moderation is key when starting. Don’t go splurging on multiple kinds of seeds with different varieties and planting them all at the same time. Moderation is key. Start with a small portion of your garden and with limited kinds of herbs. This will help you manage your financial resources and help you save funds for other aspects of your operation, like marketing.
- Soils are not created equal. The usual garden soil can work for some plants, but not necessarily so with some herbs. Herbs with Mediterranean origins, for example, rosemary and lavender, need coarser and well-drained soil. Excess moisture in the ground will likely lead to the rotting of the roots.
- Distribution channels. Figure out your distribution channels and what items you will be delivering. For example, you can supply florists and flower shops. Check with the county office and find out about weekend markets or bazaars. Of course, having your neon sign out front would help your business also. The internet and the delivery system are also possibilities.
Before all these, you will need to draft a business plan and figure out the financials of the business. Experts suggest that with as little as less than $2,000, you can have your herb garden business up and running. You’ll always have extra basil for your pizza Margherita.