Herbs for Greenhouse Growing
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Lisa Vanos
Posted on: April 30, 2006

I am looking to start a new business. My idea is to grow greenhouse herbs and dry for medicinal purposes then ship out to customers as per their requests.

I am fairly new to the herb growing scene and wondered if you can me which herbs are suitable for greenhouse growing and give me some helpful hints on getting started.

First, if you want to make a living with your greenhouse, you cannot compete with normal herbs, dried and sold to the general public. You must specialize in something field farming cannot do. Like growing pot, that’s perfect for a greenhouse. Although, of course, you then become like the rest of us -- outlaws to someone.

See, I’m in my rare mood. I don’t have a lot of experience with commercial greenhouses, but have also heard that tomatoes are the highest yield in incomes per unit floor. I think this is because they vine, and more volume of greenhouse can be use in the same time periods. That’s the key into greenhouses = energy (light and heat) in to the yield of marketable products outs.

New York City has found Basil to be very profitable during the winter months, growing fresh Basil for the Italian seasonings markets. Pesto and many other dish preparations require fresh Basil off-season. So the Finger Lake region of upstate New York now grows fresh Basil for the winter market needs of NTC.

The Gold Coast, just outside Brisbane would be very similar. While most spices come from Asia, I would suspect that none offer fresh gourmet spices for the local and regional chefs. And, the more exotic, the better the market demands.

I have also heard that growing most spices in regions where there is little farming and/or transportation costs become massive also allows green housing to be profitable. Winnipeg is such an example, where they grow most of the culinary spices for the restaurant trade, both winter and summer. Of course, those greenhouses came from illegal pot growers.

So, selection of greenhouse products should be reflected in local market demands, not those for export. This requires some due diligence, as a greenhouse cannot compete with field production crops. This is especially true for dehydration and further processing. Greenhouse are always a better solution toward some fresh products, especially during the winter when imports are so expensive.

Unfortunately, this is becoming less and less possible with FedEx and the new overnight delivery services so popular now. One California farm (3,000 acres) now provides off-season crops for the gourmet restaurant trade for almost half of the United States now. However, with the new fuel rates added to landed costs.

There are a number of tabloids and magazines devoted specifically to these kinds of crops, but I am mostly a field man. Sorry I cannot help you much further, with limited background and different forms of farming. Of course, if you wanted to import me into your country.. <just kidding>

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