Do you want to start a microgreen farming business from home or on a small scale? If yes, you are in the right place. Here in this article, find a step-by-step guide on how to start a microgreen farming business along with some frequently asked questions
What are Microgreens?
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 they 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 the Microgreen Farming Business.
Why Microgreens Farming Business?
There are many advantages or plus points in starting a Microgreen Farming Business. Let us discuss some of them below:
- It can be done in a small space from home. No need for farmland or a big plot.
- The plants can also be grown indoors.
- It can grow in any climatic condition.
- Microgreens have better nutritional value than matured plants.
- This farming business requires a small capital.
- The demand for microgreen plants is growing.
- 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 flavour and taste of different dishes.
Here are the 10 Steps to Start Microgreens Business
Before starting your Microgreen Farm Business, you must consider the business’s important aspects.
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 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 discussions 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 Microgreen 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, 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.
Suggested Read: How to Start an Aquaponics Farming Business
5. Set Up for Microgreen Farming
Microgreens can be grown both in soil and 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 too. If you do farming indoors, you need Fluorescent lights and a fan for proper lighting 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 a 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 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 winter, your plants may require more light.
Harvesting Time for Microgreens
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 flavours.
6. Microgreen Farming Equipment
The basic things you need are trays or pots with holes draining water, soil, seeds, a sprayer for spraying water, a water can, racks, Fluorescent Light (if farming indoors), a fan, scissors, paper towels 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 15×20 inches in size, then your investment would be approximately $300 considering the electrical fittings. On the other hand, 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 labour. 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 that 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 grocery stores. Therefore, you can sell your harvest to them.
Selling in the open market is another quite profitable option. You can coordinate 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 peas produce approximately 1.5 pounds per tray.
Therefore, you can earn a good profit with the right amount of production, which is not too high. One point you have to consider is 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 superior quality, which will attract more customers and help in spreading word-of-mouth publicity.
Gather a good knowledge about microgreens, their nutritional values, and their 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 the 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 to earn good profits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are microgreens profitable?
Yes, microgreens can be profitable due to their high demand in the restaurant and health-conscious consumer markets. Profit margins depend on factors like pricing, production costs, and market competition.
Can I grow microgreens at home?
Yes, microgreens can be grown at home, making it a viable business for small-scale entrepreneurs.
How long do microgreens take to grow?
Microgreens typically take 10-14 days to grow from seed to harvest, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
What equipment do I need to start a microgreen farm?
You will need trays or containers, a growing medium, light sources (natural or artificial), and basic gardening tools.
Are there any legal requirements for selling microgreens?
Check your local regulations regarding food production and sales. You may need permits or licenses, especially if you sell to restaurants or farmers’ markets.
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