Growing Hydroponic Herbs to Sell at Markets and Make Extra Money

Growing hydroponic herbs to sell at local markets can help you make some extra money on the side, especially during the winter months if you are an indoor farmer.

I was talking to the owner of my local hydroponic gardening store and was surprised to find out that one of his customers actually grows basil and other herbs to sell at the local farmer’s market during the winter months.

The customer started out his hobby with an indoor hydroponic garden where he grew different vegetables and herbs for his family.

He would always give his friends and extended family fresh herbs when they came over to visit, and since everyone kept telling him that he could probably sell it for some extra money, he decided to give it a try at the local farmer’s market.

Since he was already gardening, it was a pretty easy extension of his hobby to set up an extra grow area to sell at the market for profit.

How To Grow Herbs for Profit

This customer primarily grows basil during the winter months to sell at the local farmer’s market, and there is apparently a high demand, so he makes a decent profit.

The store owner is now also going to contribute additional basis, thyme, and other herbs from his in-store garden display, and they’re going to split the profit from those additional crops.

Why Sell Basil?

The reason that he primarily sells basil is that fresh basil is generally very expensive at the supermarkets along with other more costly herbs like thyme, dill, and oregano when purchased fresh, so there is more room for him to make a profit if he sells it at a comparable price.

At my local supermarket, small packets of fresh basil sell for around $3.50, so a bundle of basil at the farmer’s market could sell for anywhere from $3 to $5, considering he gives decent portions and it’s extremely fresh and fragrant.

Fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley are much cheaper to buy at supermarkets, so they’re not worth growing for sale.

Basil also grows extremely fast in hydroponic gardens, so you can turn a new crop every 3 to 4 weeks if you are a proficient grower, and he’s apparently gotten it down to where he can sell herbs at the farmer’s market every other weekend.

Why The Farmer’s Market?

Local farmer’s markets are a perfect place for him to sell his products, as people are already looking for fresh produce, and he can purchase a selling space for relatively cheap.

I was actually surprised to find out that my local farmer’s market runs throughout the winter.

He also sometimes visits another art/food market that moves indoors for the winter, and both areas work out equally well for him, except that the farmer’s market is less costly for the space.

People are generally surprised to find fresh herbs during the winter at the market, so he usually doesn’t have a problem selling out his produce.

How Much Profit Can Be Made?

I don’t know the exact amount that he makes, but I can estimate how much he might make based on certain factors.

A single basil plant in a hydroponic garden can probably grow large enough in 3 to 4 weeks to produce at least 3 basil portions that could be sold at market for between $3 and $5 each.

An experienced grower could handle a 50-plant grow space dedicated to basil, which would then be able to produce roughly 150 portions of basil per month.

Those 150 portions of basil would then be worth $450 at the $3 price point and $750 at the $5 price point.

So if you sold your produce once a month, you would probably be able to make anywhere from $450 to $750 in sales each time.

Of course, your net profit would be lower after you account for all of the costs.

What Are The Costs?

It’s generally more expensive to grow herbs indoors than outdoors, as you have to pay for indoor-gardening lights and their electricity usage, and he has additional expenditures for the costs of his hydroponic systems and plant nutrients.

He also has to pay for his seller’s space at the farmer’s market as well as his transportation costs and other costs associated with gardening.

At the same time, hydroponic gardening allows him to grow his plants much quicker and with better results, so he can really maximize his growing space and time.

Plus, indoor gardening allows him to grow during the winter months, when he’s really able to corner the market on fresh herbs with less competition than during the summer months.

Can You Run This Side Hustle?

Selling fresh herbs at your local farmer’s market could be a great way to earn some extra money, especially if you have an interest in hydroponic gardening or you are otherwise inclined to selling at markets.

If you already have an indoor garden, it would be easy to dedicate some for-profit grow space, and if you already sell your produce during the summer months, you should definitely consider growing indoors during the winter time.

However, you have to love gardening and have a green thumb, plus you have to enjoy interacting with different people at the markets and know how to hustle some sales.

According to the local store owner, this customer is pretty successful at it, and with the additional produce that the store owner intends to supply, they should be able to turn a decent profit.

If indoor gardening isn’t for you, consider these Freelance Blogging Jobs to make some extra money if you are blog savvy.

Consider growing hydroponic herbs to sell at local markets if you’re looking for a new side hustle.


  1. Indoorfarmboy says

    This is interesting. I don’t want to discourage anyone from growing herbs hydroponically–it’s a great thing to do. That said, I think your numbers are overly optimistic. 3-4 weeks for 3 portions? That’s highly unlikely. Personally, I would count on 4-6 weeks in close-to-ideal conditions, 6-8 in less ideal conditions.

    Also some problems that you’ll need to address:
    – basil bruises very easily so needs a packaging solution (added cost, but not prohibitive)
    – basil is often poor quality at the store because it doesn’t like to be too cold (traditionally-set fridges are too cold) so this will create problems for taking off field heat and may mean picking and packing on the same day of market which likely means very early mornings.

    Growing basil (or other herbs) for profit is certainly possible, but a little more difficult than implied in this article.

  2. Edy says

    While it does not matter what I think. Incidentally I think it is an awesmoe idea as fresh herbs are profoundly superior to their dry counterparts. It can also be a good way for you to better get your children involved in the wonderful world of culinary delights in a more hands on way. I know some people who are still surprised that some herbs are shrubs, plants etc. This might prevent your children from being one of those people. If he does get you one, just make sure you use it.

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