Growing microgreens can be highly profitable, requires limited skills and resources, and you can do it in a minimal space such as your garage, a spare bedroom, or a shed in your backyard.
The other great thing is that microgreen crops can be harvested in as little as seven days, so you can constantly grow and sell even a small amount and make good returns over the course of a year.
Follow along as we review startup costs, profits, and how to grow your microgreens.
To set up your microgreens growing area, you’ll need a growing rack (or shelf), lights, fans, timers, trays, and some power cords. You can buy or make all of this for around $450. There are numerous guides online that show how to build your own rack so that you can keep your costs low.
An average tray of microgreens will give you $15 profit, and a standard rack will let you grow 20 trays, so if you pick a crop that is ready for harvesting in 7 days, you’re making $300 every week.
The best microgreens to grow for profit will depend on your local market and what people actually want to buy. So it’s worthwhile doing some research into how much microgreens are selling for in your area.
You should also consider how long specific crops will take to grow and how difficult they can be because fast-growing crops are great, but if you have issues and lose multiple crops, then the growth cycle doesn’t matter.
The general steps involved in growing microgreens for profit are straightforward, and anybody can do it, as long as you’re willing to do some research and put in some work in growing and finding buyers for your microgreens.
Once you start making good profits, you may want to reinvest and buy more racks so that you can grow and sell even more microgreens.
Take some time to research what the best setup is for growing microgreens, what equipment you need, and of course, how to grow and care for your microgreens. You don’t want to invest your time and money into something and have it fail because you don’t know how to grow the microgreens effectively.
You’ll find all kinds of great free information on the internet on how to care for your plants, and it won’t take you too much time to get the hang of it.
You’re going to want to turn to the internet again on the best methods to grow your specific variety of microgreens in the space you have available and in the budget you have for your equipment.
You need a rack or shelving to store all of your microgreens as they grow. This can be one of the most expensive parts of the operation unless you build one yourself.
You’ll want to buy as many trays as your rack will allow you to store; the more trays, the more microgreens you can grow.
You need fans to keep the air circulating and add moisture into the air so that your microgreens don’t grow mold and constantly have an adequate supply of fresh air.
Growing microgreens requires precise timings on when you expose them to light and how long you keep them in darkness at different times. A dedicated timer will make your life easier.
Seeds are reasonably cheap, and you should be looking for organic seeds as that’s a big selling factor to microgreen buyers. You’ll want to buy them in bulk so you can quickly turn over your crops every seven days.
Microgreens can be sensitive to chlorine in tap water, so you may need to consider what water you’re spraying them with. A filter to clean out chlorine may add some cost but will benefit you in the long run.
You also need a quality plant sprayer to keep your microgreens misted and hydrated.
Microgreens can grow on all kinds of things, but soil provides the best yield in your crops. So make sure you’re buying quality soil that is organic, high in nutrients, and has a low pH level.
You may not need grow lights if you get plenty of natural light in the growing area. However, each different type of microgreen requires different amounts of light, so make sure you’ve researched the best lights and timings for their use.
Before you even start growing your microgreens, you should start looking for customers that want to buy them. Once your crops are ready to be harvested, they won’t last long; in some cases, they’ll lose their nutritional value within hours of sitting in the fridge.
There are methods and harvesting options to make them last longer, but once harvested, it’s best to get them to the buyers so they can use them as quickly as possible.
Selling directly to local restaurants will be your best option. If you provide good quality microgreens, they may become long-term customers for you, especially if you start growing larger crops.
You’ll need to get in contact with the chef directly, this may be as easy as calling and asking, or you may need to show up to the restaurant and try to talk to the chef. Just make sure you’re contacting during less busy times for the restaurant.
Provide the chef with samples of your product, and don’t be stingy; there should be enough for them to try now, store to see how well they hold up, and even use in a few dishes.
You should also provide a Fresh Sheet to them, which is information about you and your products; A Fresh Sheet should include;
● Business name / Logo
● Description of your business
● Photos of your products
● Available microgreens
● Contact information
When you talk to the chef, you should be able to provide information on your crops, such as:
● How much can you provide, daily or weekly?
● How quickly can you provide them?
● What’s your price and are there other fees to have it delivered?
● Will they be freshly picked the day you deliver, or how long do you store?
● Are they organic?
If you can’t initially connect with any restaurants and you want to get started, then you’ll need to look at some alternative avenues to sell your microgreens, but you should continue to look for local restaurants.
Farmers’ markets are an excellent place to start selling your microgreens. You may even get connected with chefs or other buyers looking for fresh organic products, so it’s another way to sell to larger customers indirectly.
If this is a side hustle, which is likely, you won’t want to make this a long-term strategy, but it’s certainly a way to get started and find some buyers.
Microgreen distributors buy from growers and resell to restaurants and other people who want a constant supply of microgreens.
As a smaller grower, you may not be able to supply the number of microgreens that make it worthwhile for a chef to buy from you when you start. A distributor will pay less, but it’s a way to make profits so you can reinvest and start building up your supply of microgreens so you can switch directly to a restaurant later.
Catering companies need microgreens just as restaurants do. You may want to reach out to as many catering companies as you can find to see if they’d be interested and what microgreens they want to buy. You may need to switch out what you’re selling, but be careful the growth time isn’t too high, and the growth isn’t too challenging for you.