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  • Seed Trays
  • How to Make Money on Your Homestead

    April 03, 2024 9 min read 0 Comments

    Green, blue, purple, pink, orange 1010 trays with 6 cells

    Easy strategies for earning income on your homestead

    Making money on a homestead is a great way to help cover expenses and have extra income to finance improvements to your property.  

    With hard work and dedication, working on the homestead can become a full-time gig. Here, we will outline 12 homesteading business ideas and provide guidance for beginning the journey.

    12 Homesteading Business Ideas

    1. Selling Plant Starts
    2. Market Gardening
    3. Specialty Produce
    4. Host Events
    5. Rent Out Space
    6. Educational Workshops
    7. Farm Fresh Eggs
    8. Logging, Firewood, and Woodworking
    9. Homemade Teas
    10. Honey Production
    11. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) 
    12. Bed and Breakfast

    Plant starts in multicolor 5" pots sitting in on shelves in a greenhouse

    Selling Plant Starts

    Most plant starts sold at home centers or local nurseries are common varieties such as roma or beef steak tomatoes. Set your plant starts apart by growing fun, unique varieties that differ from what other retailers are selling. Growing unique varieties also gives you the opportunity to sell your seedlings for a premium since they can’t be found elsewhere locally. 

    Your material inputs will be minimal since you only care for the seedlings during their first few weeks of life. To find a sales outlet for plant starts, look for opportunities to sell your plants at a local farmers market or small businesses with decent foot traffic. You may even be able to include your plant starts in a CSA - more on CSAs later.

    One challenge to selling plant starts is that you will need a reasonably large indoor growing set-up, large greenhouse, or hoop house to accommodate the plants before they go outdoors. You will also need containers for your seedlings. The homestead seed starting bundle is a great way to start your seeds. You can choose to sell plants in 6-cell trays or in individual pots depending how long you want to grow them or how much space you have to up pot. 

    market garden produce at a stand

    Market Gardening

    Market gardening is one of the most common ways homesteaders make income from their land. This consists of growing produce, flowers, or a combination of both at a scale that provides for you AND surplus to sell. 

    The two primary ways to sell garden goods are:

    1. Direct to consumer
    2. Building a relationship with a local business

    Selling directly to consumers is most commonly done through farmers markets. Another option is to set up a farm stand at the end of your driveway to sell produce. The success of a farm stand is dependent on your location and how much traffic the stand sees, but a social media presence can also help with driving traffic and reaching a broader local audience.

    Building a supplier relationship with an established local business is the second method of selling your bulk produce or flowers. This strategy has the potential to substantially boost sales by leveraging a business’s existing loyal customer base. As an added benefit, you will free up time by not having to attend farmers' markets. 

    Examples of this strategy include providing a local florist with blooms from your flower farm or connecting with a few specialty restaurants or grocery stores to provide fresh produce weekly. The one downside to this model is that you may be required to grow certain types of flowers or vegetables for your clients based on their management's or customers' requests. However, they know their customers better than you do, and more sales help both businesses.

    The Market Gardener Seed Starting Bundle is great for starting large quantities of seeds for transplanting out into the field or for potting up into the included 3.3-inch pots. The 72-cell trays have large drainage holes, making removing individual plants fast and easy!

    If you are ready to dive deep into market gardening and make a go of this on your homestead, be sure to jump over to our Market Gardening page to learn more. 

    microgreens salad mix growing in 5 x 5s in a 1020 bottom watering tray

    Specialty Produce You Can Grow Indoors Year-Round

    Not only can mushrooms and microgreens be grown year-round for your family, but they can also be very profitable. The demand for microgreens and specialty mushrooms such as oysters or shiitake grows yearly.

    Both mushrooms and microgreens require little growing space, making them easier to scale than a traditional crop. Unlike mushrooms, microgreens have a short growing period of about ten days. Mushrooms will take longer (several weeks), and the grow times vary depending on the variety.

    Both require a small startup investment, but buying durable, long-lasting equipment ensures the trays will last for many years.

    The Mushroom Kit includes the equipment you need to get started, including a blackout dome,  humidity dome, mesh 1020 tray, and 1020 tray with no holes. Procure mushroom spawn from a reputable mushroom supplier and source the substrate locally.

    Our Microgreen Resource page explains everything you need to get started. These trays are designed by professional microgreen growers. They are durable and make harvesting microgreens quick and efficient.

    This resource from Cornell University defines the specialty mushroom growing in the US and links to other educational resources. 

    Hosting Events on Your Homestead

    In recent years, farms have become a desired location to host events such as weddings. Although hosting a wedding may be out of the question due to the infrastructure required and local regulations, consider hosting smaller events such as private dinner parties. This type of gathering would fit well in an unused space such as a small barn or outdoor living area.

    Photography sessions are another type of “event” you can host on your homestead. Connect with a few local photographers and rent your space for outdoor photo shoots. If you have a small cottage garden, flower field, or otherwise aesthetically pleasing area, this would be a relatively easy way to make some additional income! Engagement, graduation, and family photo shoots can provide year-round income, especially if you have covered spaces with a rustic look. 

    Rent Out Space

    Along the same lines of event hosting but without the pressure of making things “picture perfect,” consider renting out unused buildings, barns, or land. Services such as Hipcamp connect private landowners with campers, glampers, and RVers looking for a place to stay.

    Another option for space rental is personal storage of furniture, tools, antiques, collectibles, or other household goods. You could claim a small piece of this growing industry by renting space in unused buildings or barns. As with any business, there are certainly some logistical hurdles to capitalize on your unused storage space such as controlling access or vetting tenants. However, the income will be pretty passive once the space is established and filled with responsible tenants.

    seed starting in 6 cells with 1010 bottom watering trays

    Running Educational Workshops on Your Homestead

    With an increased interest in homesteading and gardening in recent years, hosting educational workshops locally is a great way to bring valuable skills to your community. Offer courses that provide gardening, herbal medicine, or animal husbandry skills. 

    Host a seed starting course with the Seed Starting Workshop Bundle. This bundle includes enough seed starting equipment for 10 individuals to take home with them. Incorporate the materials as part of the workshop price. Attendees will be excited to learn a new skill and leave with the equipment they need to get started!

    If you are passionate about natural decor, offer a workshop on flower arrangement or wreath making. Provide the flowers and materials needed for the workshop and teach the attendees how to make beautiful, natural decor for their own home.

    Carton of Colorful Eggs

    Farm Fresh Eggs

    The price of factory-farmed, store-bought eggs rising is a great push for consumers to lean towards local farms for their supply of fresh eggs. If you have more than a few hens in your backyard flock, consider expanding to sell eggs locally. Start by selling to friends, neighbors, coworkers, or family. If you have hens that lay colorful eggs, that’s an added bonus!

    Collect eggs regularly and ensure the nesting boxes stay clean. Nesting box pads can help with this. Organize the eggs based on the lay date and label the cartons accordingly. You can purchase egg cartons in bulk and you can add your own branding by using custom stickers or a stamp!

    Check with local regulations to see if licensing is required to sell eggs directly to consumers. Licensing requirements vary depending on the number of chickens you have, where you sell the eggs, egg storage, and several other factors. 

    Resource: Eggs From Small Flock Producers

    Firewood stacked on pallets on homestead

    Logging, Firewood, and Woodworking

    With the right knowledge and tools, you can turn fallen trees on your wooded homestead into a hefty sum of money. The first thing to explore is a timber harvest. It is recommended that an independent forestry consultant be contacted to evaluate the woodlands for timber value and organize the sale. Typically, only older growth hardwood trees are desired, and there will be a certain acreage threshold to make the sale worthwhile. The trees are usually selectively harvested and not clear cut. The cutting is performed by loggers who take the large logs, but leave all the stumps and tree tops - keep in mind that the owner will be responsible for cleaning up afterwards and digging out stumps, if desired. 

    Firewood sales is another great way to earn money from your homestead. It has a fairly low barrier to entry, with the minimum tools required being a chainsaw and hydraulic wood splitter (or ax). You can let people come pick it up, or if you have the equipment to load and haul it, you can charge a premium for local delivery.

    The last wood-related money maker for the homestead is fine woodworking or furniture making. The barrier to entry is slightly higher than firewood, with a decent set of power tools and hand tools required at a minimum. It also requires additional knowledge and skill, but this is easily acquired through practice and nearly limitless free online or paperback learning resources. Selling a simple rustic table, bench, or mirror frame could net a surprising amount of money from buyers who prefer locally handmade products.

    chamomile flowers

    Homemade Teas

    Tea and coffee are two of the most popular drinks in the world, consumed by millions daily. Unlike coffee, which requires special growing conditions, the ingredients for tea can be grown in most climates. Grow bags are an excellent option for growing tea indoors.

    If you love gardening and making or drinking tea, selling homemade teas may be the perfect business fit. Compared to most garden produce, herbs produce a large quantity of harvested mass per plant, meaning you can make ingredients for large amounts of tea in a relatively small space. Additionally, tea is a lightweight product that could easily be shipped outside your region. This allows you to expand beyond the local community and appeal to a larger online customer base.

    You may need to follow laws or regulations depending on your location and where you plan to sell teas. For example, you may be required to list the tea ingredients so that consumers can avoid potential allergens. If you sell out of state or even out of the country, keep in mind that you will likely be subject to the laws in the location you are selling to. 

    Group of Bee Hives

    Honey Production

    Keeping bees and selling honey or beeswax products is another lucrative option for a homesteading business. An established bee colony can produce up to 100 lbs of honey annually with the right environmental conditions. Some of the main condition variables are hive size, foraging conditions, and temperature (climate). To maximize honey production, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy colony and ensure the bees have plenty of sustenance to forage on.

    If you’re new to beekeeping, explore local beekeeping organizations to learn the skills and equipment needed as well as the honey production potential in your area. A club or beekeeping organization can also provide you with guidance regarding laws and regulations on selling honey in your area.

    Resource: Honey Bee Surveys and Reports from the USDA

    harvested broccoli and carrots for CSA's in green 1020 tray

    CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) 

    CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) allows consumers to purchase a “membership” or “subscription” to receive produce throughout the growing season. Typically farmers request the payment up-front which helps finance the farming operation in advance. 

    The CSA doesn’t have to be limited to produce and can include flowers or even plant starts. You can even get creative and collaborate with a local orchard or livestock farmer to produce a more appealing CSA. This would also allow you to split the responsibilities of managing the customer base.

    Through a CSA, you have the opportunity to build a supportive community who will continue to support your farming operations from year to year. If you are interested in starting your own CSA this article will help. 

    Bed and Breakfast

    If you have an auxiliary dwelling or unused space in your home, consider renting out the space as a Bed and Breakfast or Airbnb.

    Before you commit to renting out your home, perform market research to see if there is a customer base. Searching your area on Airbnb or competitor short-term-rental platforms is a good starting point. Evaluate existing homes on the platform and their rates. Do they have a multiple-night minimum? Do they appear to be booked throughout the year or primarily during one or two seasons? If you are within easy driving distance of a city or large event venue, this could be a driver for short-term rental demand.

    Determine if your home will need any modifications before renting out the space. Consider cleaning and laundry responsibilities and whether you’ll perform those yourself or contract a service to take care of it. This will help you decide what your rates will be, and establish your ideal stay duration. To attract potential customers, take many high-quality photos of the space for the listing. Don’t be afraid to ask your first guests for an honest review to improve your hosting and provide quality confirmation for other guests.

    Making Money While Homesteading

    In summary, there are many ways to make money on your homestead. When choosing the path for your new business, consider what ideas interest you the most, how much time you have to commit to a new business, and your revenue goals. Also remember that the journey may not be linear - you may try one business idea and decide it’s not for you. Try again until you find something that fits your interests, lifestyle, budget, and goals.

    Written by:  Elaina and Alex of Homestead Dreamers