If you want to start a farming business with low capital and in a small space earning a high profit, then a Microgreen farming business may be ideal for you. Before going into the details of the business, let us know what Microgreens are.
Microgreens are very small edible plants that are harvested just after the leaves start growing. They are smaller than the sprouts and used in salads, or in enhancing the flavor of many dishes, or it can be consumed as part of the healthy green.
In this age of health and calorie consciousness, the preference for eating locally grown fresh veggies has increased to a great extent. This has created a good market for Microgreen Farming Business.
Why Microgreen Farming Business?
There are many advantages or plus points in starting Microgreen Farming Business. Let us discuss some of them.
- It can be done in a small space. No need for farmland or a big plot.
- It can be done indoors also.
- It can grow in any climatic condition.
- Microgreens have better nutritional value than the matured plants.
- It requires a small capital.
- It has good demand.
- It gives a good amount of profit.
- Microgreens are harvested within two weeks. Therefore it gives a quick return on investment.
- It can be done from home.
- It needs very little or no manpower involvement other than your own.
You can start your microgreens business in places like a backyard, garage space, or an empty room. The 1-2 inches long plants will give you high profits. You can even regrow a new set of microgreens after harvest. These tiny plants are highly aromatic and crunchy and add to the flavor and taste of different dishes.
Microgreen Farming Business Plan for Beginners
Before starting your Microgreen Farming Business, you must keep in mind the important aspects of the business.
1. Understand the Market
Any kind of business needs demand which will give the required profit to the business owner. Therefore, before moving ahead with your business idea, you must do thorough research on the demand for your product, i.e. Microgreens in the area where you want to start your business.
Your primary customers are the restaurants and grocery stores. You have to find out whether the area of your business has high-end restaurants or not because chefs of such restaurants prefer to use microgreens in their items.
The grocery stores also sell microgreens. You have to find out the number of grocery stores and assess the demand for microgreens with the help of discussion with the store-owners.
Research the residents of the area, their affordability, and choices. You can also sell your products to different households because many people prefer to buy freshly grown greens directly from the farm owners.
2. Name your Business
After you decide on the Microgreen Farming Business, think of a suitable name for your business. Decide upon a name that signifies purity, nature, or good health.
Register a website domain name similar to the business name. In case of non-availability of the portal, you have to change the name. But follow the principles. Check our detailed guide on steps to follow to name a business.
3. Legal Status, Tax, and Others
Decide on the legal status of your Microgreen Farming Business. In the United States, most small business owners prefer either Proprietorship or LLC business structure. Register for taxes, licenses, and permits. A bank account is also needed.
It is better to start the business from your own house. Otherwise, you have to bear the expense of rent.
4. Select the Types of Crops
There are varieties of microgreens you can grow. These include Radish, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Beetroot, Broccoli, Peas, Mustard, Sunflower, Garlic, Onion, Spinach, Quinoa, Carrot, Celery, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Melons, Mint, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, Wheatgrass, and Oats, etc.
In the beginning, choose the crops which are comparatively easier to grow. However, with time, you can add more varieties and get more prices for premium varieties of microgreens.
The ‘Easy to Grow’ varieties of microgreens include:
Not only easy to grow, but these varieties of microgreens have a good demand also.
5. Set Up for Microgreen Farming
Microgreens can be grown both in soil or using the hydroponic system. You can go for soil as it requires much less investment. Good quality potting soil is ideal. You can grow the plants on small trays or pots. For space planning, you can have a rack with multiple steps, and place pots or trays there.
Microgreens can be grown both outdoors or inside a room. You can grow them in your backyard or kitchen garden also. If you do the farming indoors, you need Fluorescent lights and a fan for proper lights and ventilation.
The first step of farming is the seeds. Choose good quality organic seeds. Soak them for 10-12 hours. After that drain out the water and cover the seeds with a moist towel or napkin for 12 to 24 hours depending on the variety of crops you are growing.
During this time, spray little water twice or thrice a day to keep the seeds moist. This helps in germination. After 12-24 hours, you will find the seeds have germinated. Now you have to transfer them to the pots. Fill the pots with soil up to the top level, but don’t put too much soil.
Take the germinated seeds and spread them on the soil and press them gently with your hand. Don’t plant them forcefully into the soil. After this sprinkle some water on the seeds and soil.
Your microgreens will not need light for the initial phase. After that, it will need at least 4 hours of sunlight or Fluorescent light for healthy growth. If you are growing during the winter season, your plants may require more light.
The time to harvest the microgreens depends on the kind of crop you are growing. Most of the microgreens are ready for harvesting within 2 weeks. You have to notice carefully when the first set of leaves are appearing. Once these two or three leaves are rich green, you can harvest them.
For harvesting, use a sharp scissor and cut the plants just above the soil. Do not uproot them forcefully with roots. After harvesting, wash the microgreens with water and pat them with a towel or napkin to dry them.
Remember, microgreens must be sold within a short span of harvesting. It is perishable, so you have to sell them fresh for the fresh flavors.
6. Microgreen Farming Equipment
The basic things you need are: trays or pots with holes draining water, soil, seeds, sprayer for spraying water, water can, racks, Fluorescent Light (if farming indoors), fan, scissors, paper towel or napkins, weighing scale for weighing the harvested microgreens, scissors or knife for cutting the plants, packets or pots for delivering the microgreens.
7. Cost & Investment Required to Start a Microgreen Business
The investment depends on the scale of your business. If you start with 15-20 trays of 15×20 inches size, then your investment would be approximately $300 considering the electrical fittings. If you are doing it outdoors then the investment is lesser. If you can do all the work of farming, then you don’t need labor. However, for delivery and sales marketing, you need manpower.
In the initial stage, do not try to plant many varieties of microgreens together. Stick to 1-2 varieties which are easy to grow and have demand. After gaining some experience, you can add more varieties and scale-up farming.
8. How & Where to Sell Microgreens?
The most prospective buyers of microgreens are hotels and restaurants. You can sell your product directly to the chef. Microgreens are also sold at the grocery stores. Therefore, you can sell your harvest to them.
Selling in the open market is another quite profitable option. You can co-ordinate with the nearby market and sell them there, or send somebody else with the produce.
Private households in the area of your business are also your prospective buyers. Get in touch with the residents of the area and sell the microgreens to them directly.
9. Profit Margin
The average price of microgreens varies between $ 22-30 per pound. The standard rate of growth is approximately $1.5-2 pounds per square foot.
The yield per tray depends on the kind of microgreens you are cultivating. For some microgreens like cabbage or broccoli, the yield per tray is 10-12 oz. per tray. While some other microgreens like pea produce approximately 1.5 pounds per tray.
Therefore with the right amount of production, which is not too high, you can earn a good profit. One point you have to consider that microgreens are ready for sale within 2-3 weeks. So you have several crop cycles and thereby sales in a couple of months.
These are the approximate calculations. You have to decide on the scale of your business according to these calculations. However, don’t try to start your Microgreens Farming Business on a very large scale.
10. How to Earn More Profits
The first condition for earning profit is the quality of your produce. Never compromise on the quality of seeds, soil, etc. Try to make your microgreens of a superior quality, which will attract more customers and help in spreading word of the mouth publicity.
Gather a good knowledge about microgreens, their nutritional values, and usage of different microgreens in a variety of foods.
Make the name of your Microgreen Farming Business known to the area of your business. Do good publicity of your products via advertisements, door-to-door campaigns, flyers, etc. You can also start your initiative by distributing free samples to hotels, grocery shops, or households.
Star with a moderate to low price. Don’t raise your price in the initial stage. Increase price after your name is established.
Cultivate the crops popular in the area of your business. Don’t start with an exquisite type of microgreen. Do that, after your name is established.
Design a good website with several pictures of your produce, different stages of microgreen farming at your farm, and the comments of satisfied customers.
These are the basic points you should remember while starting your Microgreen farming business. If you can get hold of the right market with the right set of crops, you can earn good profits. In this age of health consciousness, the Microgreen farming business has a good prospect. You have to utilize it for earning good profits.