Growing crops to earn money tops the list of agricultural business ideas. But are you wondering how to make money farming? Do you want to grow crops to save money on your grocery bill, or do you need tips on how to start a farm business? Either way, you need to know which are the most profitable crops.
What Makes a Crop Easy to Grow?
A statistic called germination rate proves which are the easiest vegetables to grow. The easiest vegetables to grow have a high germination rate, for example, 85% or higher. That means that out of 100 seeds, 85 of the seeds will sprout. If a type of plant has a low germination rate, you’ll need more seeds to get the number of plants you need.
But, no matter how high the germination rate is, you need good garden soil. If you have sandy soil you must add soil amendments to improve it. Without good soil, those promising young plants will be unable to thrive.
Here are factors that make a crop easy to grow:
Seeds can be Sown Directly Into The Soil
Some crops must be started indoors, then potted and repotted before they are individually planted outside. That’s not difficult, but it’s time-consuming. It’s much simpler to sow seeds directly into the soil.
Some crops keep producing to replace picked vegetables. A good example of this is pole beans and the bush varieties of bean plants, and also leaf lettuce varieties.
You can get a head start on your crops by using plant varieties that tolerate cold weather. For example, you can plant radishes, certain varieties of peas, and many greens before warm weather arrives. All those just need to be planted about half an inch deep in the soil.
Some plants require maintenance as they grow. For example, cauliflower and head lettuce need the gardener to shape the outer leaves as they grow. The outer leaves must be pulled over the edible part of the cauliflower.
This is especially important if you’re on a metered water source instead of a well.
You can grow vegetables such as pole beans and cucumbers on a trellis-type support, which puts them at a height that is easier to harvest. These varieties are also space savers.
Proper Growing Season
The country has established zones for certain crops. For example, if you’re in New England, the growing season is shorter and it’s unlikely that you can sow seeds into the soil, even in late spring. Slower growing vegetables can be grown in cold climates, but are usually started indoors.
The 20 Easiest Crops to Grow
Before you start buying seeds, make a plan for your garden area. Calculate the amount of space that the mature plants will need. Create sections for trellis types, and alongside those, a place for plants that would benefit from partial shade during the heat of the summer.
One of the best investments you can make is garden mats, which suppress weeds and also help keep the soil moist. And definitely build a garden fence, unless you’d rather feed large and small mammals.
1. Green Beans
Growing beans, especially bush beans, is easy. There are different varieties such as snap beans and asparagus beans. There are even beans that are purple, but turn green when they are cooked.
2. Cherry Tomatoes
These have a more extended harvest than their larger cousins. Compared to the larger homegrown tomatoes, these keep producing when you start to harvest them.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens can be started early in the spring, and then planted again in the fall for a late crop. In other words, you can grow lettuce and other leafy greens twice a year. You can also do double cropping because, between spring and fall, you can grow a different crop in the same space. Many lettuce varieties are ready to pick in just a few weeks; in fact, steady snipping of the leaves keeps them growing.
4. Bell Peppers
Peppers don’t require a lot of space but need a lot of water. That’s why they’re a good candidate for container growing on a porch, where you can keep a close eye on the moisture level of their soil.
5. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables such as carrots and turnips can be harvested quite late in the season. They should be planted on the edge of the garden so they won’t be disturbed, or their tops stepped on, while other crops are being harvested
6. Winter Squash
Spaghetti squash is easy to grow and a delicious alternative to noodles. They do spread out and require a lot of space. Many gardeners create a second garden area that is for all the squashes and rotate back and forth each year. That helps with pest control for many vegetables.
7. Summer Squash
Zucchini is in the same family as the spaghetti squash but grows in a bush shape. Yellow squash is closely related to zucchini. Both are easy vegetables to grow and enjoy the full sun – because their leafy growth helps shade them.
8. Lima Beans
Another easy-to-grow bean and a great addition to a farm stand. Lima beans aren’t grown as commonly as green and yellow beans.
9. Swiss Chard
With its beautiful leaf shapes and colors, swiss chard is a popular addition to any garden. It has a huge range of zones where it can thrive in the US, from early summer to hot weather.
10. Dinosaur Kale
Kale has long been touted as a healthy food and this is a large, strong-producing variety. Kale can tolerate cold weather.
11. Southern Peas
Southern peas are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and are low maintenance. However, you’ll be shelling peas.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, like carrots and turnips, are growing underground undisturbed. They can be harvested at any time from late summer into the cool weather in most regions.
13. Zinnias and other Annual Flowers
Flower farming can be a stand-alone business, or a pleasant add-on to farm stand offerings. You can offer a bouquet of fresh-cut zinnias.
14. Flowers for Hanging Baskets
This is another great idea and an eye-catcher for a farm stand. The top choices are vine-like annuals, which cascade their showy flowers from the basket.
15. Snap Peas
These are popular in stir-fries. When mature, their pods remain thin and they don’t have to be shelled. They are just thrown into a stir-fry mix. They are very tolerant of cold weather.
16. Green onions
Along with the snap peas, these are a popular addition to a stir fry.
Like zucchini, cucumbers seem to produce more as they are picked. There are many varieties and plenty on the market. You can stand out by choosing a less-common variety, such as Burpless. You can plant cucumbers when the soil is warm.
Nothing adds more color to a salad. French breakfast is a popular and trusty variety.
One of the most popular herbs. You can sell a few fresh sprigs in baggies. Basil does well growing alongside tomato plants.
Spinach is another green that tolerates the cold. You can usually plant and harvest both an early spring and fall crop.
Can Just a Few Plants be Profitable?
Creating your own veg patch can be profitable, even if you never sell any veggies. You’ll quickly become a passionate gardener, as you plant seeds, grow vegetables in your garden bed, and taste the fresh-picked difference.
How to start a business from your plants? Most vegetables will produce more than enough to cover the cost of seeds and your labor. If you want to build a good reputation for your farm stand, pick the vegetables fresh every day.
What are the Easiest Vegetables to Grow for Your Own Food?
Beans are the easiest vegetable to grow and are great producers. They are also easy to freeze or can and they retain their flavor when thawed and cooked.
The Bottom Line
These are tough economic times. Planting your own vegetable garden to save money or earn money makes good sense. Plus, it’s rewarding. Imagine taking a basket to your garden and picking what you need for a fresh summer salad and stir fry.
Image: Envato Elements
This article, “The 20 Easiest Crops to Grow” was first published on Small Business Trends