Growing greenhouse crops for profit is a great way to convert gardening skills into a serious and productive business. However, a hands-on business like growing greenhouse crops is not an easy task.
For one, the process can be daunting and intensive. Growing greenhouse crops requires a full-time commitment. Fortunately, automation is the answer for a lesser time commitment for growing your crop business in this day and age. The term may sound intimidating, but growers should consider producing crops on time and with less labor.
Importance of automated grower system for plants
Automation has achieved greater heights since its inception. Hence, growing greenhouse crops is not an exception. One way automation in gardening works is by using an automated watering system to grow plants without soil. In addition, it can also monitor environmental conditions and adjust them to achieve successful production. Thus, any crops will grow in an automated growing system.
According to NCBI, 3.5% of the world’s area has been cultivated for vegetable production under tunnels and greenhouses using a hydroponic solution. This significant figure has recognized the use of different methods of growing crops and greens available for production.
Different growing methods for greenhouse crops
There are two popular ways to cultivate green cops in an indoor or a greenhouse setting. These are soil and hydroponics. We will discuss each to know your preference when setting up your greenhouse crop business.
Soil seems the most natural choice since all crops, greens, and trees naturally grow in this medium. It’s low-cost and the most natural recipe for growing nutritious food and beautiful plants. Despite how soil is widely available, there are some setbacks before making a decision. Here are the pros and cons:
– low cost;
– enhances flavor for fruits and vegetables;
– soil adjusts according to the environment;
– natural environment.
– plants grow slower and longer;
– pests naturally exist in soil, which can affect the quality of the plants;
– requires maintenance to ensure the soil’s condition is good;
– requires large space requirement;
– small production yield.
Automated hydroponic system
Hydroponics is becoming rampant in indoor, urban, and greenhouse gardening. The reason is, it only requires an aqueous nutrient solution and proper supplement lighting for plants to thrive. Instead of utilizing mineral nutrients needed for growth from the soil, plants absorb the nutrition through a nutrient solution supplied to their roots.
Moreover, hydroponics can work from growing small herbs in the kitchen to growing numerous plants for production. The latter is the reason why it is used for greenhouse crops for profit.
While soil requires ample space for plants to grow, hydroponics is the other way around. This system is beneficial for urban residents and greenhouse croppers.
Additionally, many plants grow well hydroponically. Some of the plants that thrive well in a hydroponic system are tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers. However, plants that grow tall such as corn crops like potatoes, and have a vining nature like grapes, do not grow well in this system.
In general, a hydroponic system needs careful attention to lighting, environment and the aqueous solution applied to the roots of the plants. If you’re considering this method, use a fully automated hydroponic system for indoor plant growth.
This automated hydroponic system will allow you to receive real-time feedback and control. Whether temperature, humidity, pH, checking and tracking plant development, this system will allow you to make informed decisions.
There is no better decision for choosing the best growing method for your crops. No matter what method you use for growing crops in a greenhouse, you can use this automated growing system. It will allow you to use growing method preference – whether in soil, hydroponic, indoor, or greenhouse without requiring prior knowledge.
Profitable crops for growing in a greenhouse
Once you have decided on what growing method to use for your greenhouse crop business, you might want to consider our list to generate profits.
Garlic, onions and shallots
Growing pungent bulbs such as garlic, onions, and shallots are an excellent head start during the spring season. They can quickly grow on the greenhouse floor to maximize space for other greens and crops. They can soon grow outside if the weather gets better.
Fast-growing herbs are basil, coriander, parsley, and mint. They also generate income since they are widely used as a garnish and added flavors in cuisine worldwide. These herbs can also be dried and sold any time of the year. Furthermore, they’re quick to grow since time means money for the business.
Tomatoes are your typical vegetable homegrown vegetable. Luckily, it sprouts quickly. Tomatoes are used and widely consumed by the world’s population. No doubt it is a profitable crop.
You can use heirloom, a high crop variety of tomato, to maximize profits as it ripes early. Also, add peppers and chilies since they thrive well with tomatoes. These crops, alongside tomatoes, are high in demand and easily preserved.
Mushrooms typically grow anywhere in the right environmental and humidity conditions. Additionally, they yield high returns per square foot. While they can produce slightly slower quantities than tomatoes and herbs, mushrooms can generate $7 per pound. Some popular gourmet mushrooms that are profitable are oysters and shiitake.
Out of the two variants, oyster grows quicker. They can grow up to 25 pounds per square foot each year. Hence, it can produce $17,500 per season if you cultivate a 10×10 patch of mushrooms.
Unlike other shrubs and trees, a bamboo plant grows incredibly quickly, which can bring in enormous profits for growers. In fact, bamboo can grow over two feet in 24 hours.
Aside from being used in culinary, it is also used as a landscaping plant. Bamboos also grow not just in tropical climates but also in freezing weather. Several bamboo nurseries are reportedly to sell for up to $200 per plant.
If you’re one to invest upfront for a greenhouse cropping business, medicinal marijuana is a very profitable one for your business, especially in the United States of America. In a 2014 article from Fast Company, it’s even published that it is the world’s most lucrative cash crop. The potential income for this controversial company is highly profitable if you want to earn fast.
Ginseng is a healing herb and tonic, widely used in Asia for thousands of years and in the stateside. It is dubbed as a “green gold.” Thus, this herb is profitable because of its several health benefits.
The potential of this herb is immense since George Washington recognized it and began selling it to aid the Revolutionary war’s financing against the British.
However, ginseng fully matures for up to six years. If that is too costly and time-consuming, selling the rootlets to other growers can also return investment within a reasonable time frame. Growers can make as much as $100,000 on a half-acre from seeds, mature roots, and rootlets.
Microgreens are profitable vegetables. They are fast-growing and can grow on a wide scale. Some microgreens to consider when starting off a greenhouse crop business are sunflower, radish, and pea shoots.
By selling these popular types of microgreens, you can already generate a hundred dollars per month by just starting cultivating 5 or 6 trays in an indoor setting. Likewise, it can only take 2 or 3 weeks to grow from seed to harvest, often selling for $15 per pound.
Similarly to mushrooms, they need to be sold fresh since they quickly lose their quality. However, it’s not entirely a concern since microgreens are high in demand for wholesalers and farmer’s markets alike. This means more demand, more profit, and a lesser lead time for selling.
Saffron is known for being a highly profitable crop in the world and the most expensive one. This most costly culinary herb sells for around $2,500 per pound.
The reason why it costs so much? Saffron is made of stigmas – the part of a flower where the pollen germinates. This stigma takes 75,000 flowers to produce a pound of saffron. Another reason is that the harvesting process is ridiculously labor-intensive. It requires picking the flower delicately as it blooms and pulling out about three blossoms per flower.
While it may be expensive to grow this greenhouse crop, saffron only takes a small land area to grow, about a quarter acre. It grows best in dry with mild winters and tropical regions such as California. It is also highly possible to plant them in greenhouses using a greenhouse environment controller. In this way, the environment is easily set up where saffron thrives and matures ready for harvest.
There are several considerations when setting up greenhouse crops for profit. The growing method is one thing – whether it’s soil or hydroponics. It would be best to consider suitable crops for a profitable business and the environmental conditions.
Fortunately, the horticulture industry is not left behind by science. Automating the growing of the crops has been more accessible and more convenient. Since plants require minerals, nutrients, and the right environment to thrive, you don’t need intensive labor to maintain these to produce excellent crops.
If you’re keen to create a greenhouse crop business, invest in the best-automating growing system with a greenhouse CO2 controller. This new technology will accurately detect and measure carbon dioxide levels with the use of an infrared sensor.
Setting up your greenhouse crop business requires careful decision-making and research. Our list should help you decide which crops to cultivate for a more profitable business! Also, automation will help you to monitor the production that does not require much manual labor.