View Full Version : Personal Vegetable Gardening Service

11-24-2012, 06:07 PM
80% of my work is done within a retirement community of 85,000+, residents so there's always a unique service to offer if you can dream it.
While watching some videos about preparing for the upcoming economic collapse it hit me that they might enjoy a small veggie garden but don't want to invest the time/effort. Seems strange doesn't it, I deliver garden compost but haven't had one thing growing for about a year now. I just can't find the time.
Any of you offer or know of someone that offers to install small raised garden beds within a flowerbed, plant & maintain the veggies for the homeowners cosumption? Get home from work & walk around the house to look for an green flag which means RTE(ready to eat). The yellow flags mean just a week longer & they'll be ready so start planning on a dish to include it in.
I suspect the most difficult part would be your own time management as well as what to charge.
Maybe a cost average arrangement:
Monthly maintenance $35 which includes your time for weekly visits, the use of the raised beds & materials(compost, fertilizers, stakes etc).
Choose what you want to eat with Seed rates: You decide just $7 per raised box worth.
Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Beats, Spinach.

How about a honeybee hive delivery & install service?
I have found that there are many unique service options out there that don't take much overhead & I'm not competing with 500+ others for the same work.

Patriot Services
11-24-2012, 06:14 PM
The concern I would have with the garden is what happens if the crop is wiped out. Disease or pest will ruin one in a weeks time between visits. Veggies need careful daily water, can't leave that up to a customer already paying you to tend it. The home garden is usually for people trying to save a buck or personal fulfillment. I've had similar experience with people that want award winning roses until I gave them the estimate.
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11-24-2012, 09:51 PM
To make a vegetable garden work you need to be there just about every day, and small garden's aren't big enough to produce enough food or to make it worthwhile for someone to pay you. Old folk's aren't going to pay for your help growing vegetable's, right or wrong, that just isn't going to happen, now flower's are a different story.

11-24-2012, 10:04 PM
Let's talk flowers then. Had a Pinestraw/Compost customer last week ask about Pansies. She said she wants some color for a change. How's that all work?
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11-24-2012, 10:34 PM
Id put rased beds in, I wouldnttry to grow a vegatable garden for anyone but mysself.

Has far has flower beds go planting pansies would be nice, guess you could eat those.

Seriously if you dont have your own food garden try it next year, its a lot of work.

11-24-2012, 10:43 PM
I'm not sure what you are asking, but in Summerfield Fla. you have a warm climate and a bunch of choices for annuals or perennials. Someone closer to your area can give you better advise.

11-24-2012, 10:55 PM
I've seen pansies in all kind's of food.


Will P.C.
11-24-2012, 11:35 PM
I applaud you for thinking outside the box. It is pretty clear that you have never had a small garden and do not understand the time investment and challenges that come about. I had 80% of my veggies wiped out this year by an armadillo.

You could offer the bed prep and tilling services which are profitable.

Toro 455
11-25-2012, 07:47 AM
I think you're on to something by offering vegetable gardening. Maybe you should ask some potential customers what they'd buy before you decide what you're going to try to sell them.
Maybe all they want is a topsy-turvy tomato. You buy them in bulk and make a buck apiece. You sell one to every one of the 85,000 residents. There you go!

11-25-2012, 09:24 AM
Deliver mature plants in pots... A pot with a broccoli head ready to eat, will produce many more broccoli heads after the main stem is clipped... pansies arranged around the base would be a nice touch... a window box full of leaf lettuce that can be harvested almost daily, intermingled with other popular herbs at the clients' request...
In a retirement community I would build raised beds out of something solid enough for them to sit on as the weeded, watered, cultivated and harvestted...

I'd done vegetable gardens mixed with flowers etc. years ago,,, but there is very little interest in gardening anymore in this culture...

11-25-2012, 11:24 PM
yea depends on your area. i hope to do alot of that work next year. i already have prepared the space for one customer who i did a LS install for, he is looking forward to it.
you could try some herbs like cilantro, thyme, rosemary which are low maintenance. fig trees, blueberry bushes would also be low maintenance. good luck

11-27-2012, 01:42 PM
I can see a whole list of problems that can come from this.

1) Need additional state license and certification
2) Health dept AND Dept of Ag inspections
3) Can't use the same control products (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) that you use on lawns and landscapes
4) You're on the hook for the quality of the food
-- Contamination concerns (salmonella, etc)
-- If your customer cuts your veggies on the same cutboard as her raw chicken (and doesn't clean it first), nothing stops them from coming after you for the contamination (that's how one large egg producer was put out of business a few years ago -- through no fault of their own)

It all sounds like a nice idea, but I don't think it's a spur of the moment idea. It will take a lot of time to plan and a fair amount of money to make sure you have the proper facilities and procedures in place to protect you and your customers.

David C.
11-27-2012, 05:28 PM
How about raising the produce yourself----in your backyard, farm, spare lot---and then offering them for sale to your customers

I don't have a large plot---but do raise tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, greens---etc---and when I jibber jabber with the customers out on my route and they find out I have a produce plot---they usually ask and then offer to buy what I have

This way---when the Deer come and "clean out" your pea patch or okra stand or watermelon patch---you won't be pressured to offer---because you won't HAVE anything to offer----hahahahahaha


11-27-2012, 05:46 PM
I like the idea. Organic food is all the hype right now. I have a few friends that grow for local restaraunts.

I approach it a different way. I build raised planters with irrigation in them, build mini grape vine support, and install blueberries often. I think people like gardening when it is set up right.

And i think it is a trend that people want landcaping that can be productive.

The broccoli head would be a neat accent for any pansy bed. Customers would get a kick out that.

11-28-2012, 07:53 AM
I can't imagine how a gardener has to get special license to pull weeds from a lettuce patch any more than pulling weeds from a flower bed... different chemicals applied??? How about NO chemicals applied!!! this is food...

Salmonella is going to be the gardeners' responsibility now???
Does anyone understand how salmonella might infect a head of lettuce??? ecoli???

Don't let the naysayers ruin a good idea and certainly don't let fear ruin a project that might be fun... :)

11-28-2012, 05:11 PM
I can't imagine how a gardener has to get special license to pull weeds from a lettuce patch any more than pulling weeds from a flower bed... different chemicals applied??? How about NO chemicals applied!!! this is food...

Salmonella is going to be the gardeners' responsibility now???
Does anyone understand how salmonella might infect a head of lettuce??? ecoli???

Don't let the naysayers ruin a good idea and certainly don't let fear ruin a project that might be fun... :)

If you're going to do any type of chemical insect, disease, or weed control, most state licenses and certifications for Turf and Ornamental applications don't cover application to food crops -- you need a separate license, even to apply food grade materials to food crops for sale.

Is salmonella the producer's responsibility? It always has been! There were several human disease outbreaks (salmonella and E. coli) in the last decade that all were traced back to the grower. Most of them occurred on organically grown produce. How does it happen? Using improperly composted materials and not maintaining restaurant-quality sanitation on field equipment.

Now, I'm not saying that the OP shouldn't at all consider this. But, I am saying that he should go into this venture fully informed.

11-28-2012, 06:38 PM
Learn how to SPIN FARM because it works. This is the system you want for making money selling crops. Conventional or Organic are your choices. Organic pays way better. You can sell at your local farmers market or start a CSA. Like with any business you need to have some good experience if your going to be growing crops for sale. When you get really good with soil management you can show off your brix numbers. Have fun!

11-29-2012, 09:44 AM
This is quite the operation we've got going here... :)

What were we talking about???