A potential profit of a greenhouse per square foot depends on what do you planting out there – veggies, fruits, flowers, or trees, and how efficiently you can organize everything around. Let’s dig in it more deeply.
The cultivation of greenhouse crops is the most intensive form of vegetal production. For instance, the production per cultivated unit area of a greenhouse tomato crop (>50 kg/ m2) is ten times superior to that of a field crop. On the other hand, investment, labor, and energy costs (about 40 P.J. of fossil energy in Canada, which represents 12% of the total energy used in agriculture) are greater in this sector than in any other.
However, the yield, quality, and value of crops are correspondingly high. The greenhouse essentially provides a controlled climate that, in adverse conditions, may be adapted to the needs of particular crops. For example, in northern countries such as Canada, where outdoor cultivation is possible for only about five months of the year, greenhouses provide a temperature-controlled environment that shelters plants from low or high temperatures, heavy rain, strong winds, insects, and other pests.
Today’s greenhouse industry uses the most modern technologies, which allow it to reduce their negative effects on the environment, to considerably improve the energetic efficiency of crops (used energy by unit production) and thus to remain competitive in national and international markets. New greenhouse technologies constantly contribute to increasing the production per cultivated unit area. These include:-
(1) The optimization of greenhouse structures and coverings for better light transmissivity.
(2) Hydroponic cropping with the recycling of greenhouse effluents for optimal growth.
(3) The use of high-performance culture media that fulfill the root needs of the plant.
(4) The enrichment of greenhouses with carbon dioxide to increase yields.
(5) The use of photosynthetic lighting in winter to secure year-round production.
(6) The computational management of climate (temperature, light, moisture, Co2), and of irrigation and fertilization control.
(7) The use of rootstocks resistant to pathogens and more efficient in using water.
(8) The biological control of insect pests and diseases.
(9) Genetic improvement and genetic engineering for the development of new varieties.
(10) The mechanization of operations to optimize labor.
(11) The conservation of energy and the use of renewable energy. For instance, greenhouse tomato yields increased from 120% to 150% in the last 8 to 10 years, and cucumber yields increased from 80 to 100%, while energy use and labor requirements were reduced.
Product quality (visual, nutritive, organoleptic, and nutraceutical) and safety (e.g., Pesticide-free crops) are now key elements of the greenhouse ornamental and vegetable market.
Greenhouse yield per square foot
Yield is the holy grail of cannabis cultivation. So, it’s not surprising that most professional cultivator’s measure yield in some form. Most — nearly three-fourths (72%) of the cultivators who participated in CBT’s research project — say they measure yield per square foot.
However, 38% of those who say they measure this metric didn’t know the actual yield per square foot of their cultivation operation’s most recent harvest, and some respondents who elaborated further on the question indicated they measure this metric somewhat informally.
Joe Romano of The Indoor Garden Shop in Detroit, Mich., who participated in the research project, says that his operation measures yield per square foot “in a roundabout way.” His team looks at “given a particular space, how many harvests can we get in a year,” he says.
He believes that measuring yield per square foot is an important statistic to track, if even informally, but looking at yield per strain is also important. “I think we spend more time balancing looking at different strains [and] … what they produce,” Romano says.
For example, the majority of what we’ve been growing lately is Gorilla Glue, [for] which yield per square foot is fantastic compared to a number of sativas. Ours have been more of a focus on a variety of plants and their marketability than anything else.
What is hydroponics
Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, a method of growing plants without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid. The roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates. Despite inert media, roots can cause changes of the rhizosphere pH, and root exudates can impact the rhizosphere biology.
The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from many different sources, including (but not limited to) fish excrement, duck manure, purchased chemical fertilizers, or artificial nutrient solutions.
Plants commonly grown hydroponically, on inert media, include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuces, marijuana, and model plants like Arabidopsis thaliana.
Hydroponics offers many advantages, one of them being a decrease in water usage for agriculture. To grow 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of tomatoes using intensive farming methods requires 400 liters (88 imp gal; 110 U.S. gal) of water; using hydroponics, 70 liters (15 imp gal; 18 U.S. gal); and only 20 liters (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 U.S. gal) using aeroponics. Because of the lack of water needed to grow to produce, it would be possible in the future for harsh environments, which don’t have much accessible water, to be able to grow their own food.
Here are 15 quick stats about hydroponic system costs and profits from a report on indoor farming by the cultivation management platform:
- Small (less than 10,000 square feet) indoor vertical farms spend an average of $3.45 per square foot on energy, which is 12% of total operating expenses.
- For comparison, large (more than 10,000 square feet) indoor vertical farms spend an average of $8.02 per square foot on energy, which is 25% of total operating expenses.
- Small hydroponic farms spend, on average, 6% of total operating expenses on seeds, growing mediums, and nutrients.
- Conversely, large hydroponic farms spend an average of 13% of total operating expenses on seeds, growing mediums, and nutrients.
- Hydroponic farm systems generate an average revenue of $21.15 per square foot.
- Vertical farming systems earn an average of $41.16 per square foot, but that number can range anywhere from $2.13 to $100.
- Only 27% of indoor vertical farms make a profit. Meanwhile, half of all container farms are profitable.
- Hydroponic systems, regardless of what structure they’re used in, profit about 60% of the time.
- Leafy greens like lettuce are the most profitable crops to grow in hydroponic systems because they have some of the lowest operation costs. One square foot of lettuce costs about $20 to maintain.
- All hydroponic flower growers reported having profitable farms.
- Only 7% of indoor farms are container farms, probably due to the newness of the technology.
- 75% of farms that used a combination of farming systems were not profitable, meaning it’s best to stick to just one system like hydroponics.
- Hydroponically grown leafy greens and microgreens have the highest profit margins at 40%.
- On average, profitable indoor vertical farms make $14.88 per square foot after operational costs.
- Labor costs are typically the highest operating expense for all indoor farms. One small hydroponic farm spends, on average, 57% of its budget on labor.
How to start a greenhouse business
If you’ve spent years in your garden growing produce and flowers, starting a small greenhouse business is a great way to turn your hobby into a profession. Commercial greenhouses can be expensive and labor-intensive, but starting a small greenhouse doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are thousands of resources online for produce growers and dozens of ways to keep costs low in constructing and maintaining your greenhouse and marketing your business.
1) Conduct a feasibility study to ensure that the local market is large enough to accommodate another greenhouse business. Look at the population, projected growth, income levels, community member’s ages, and unemployment rate. Consider the number of local grocers and farmers.
2) Determine the type of crops you want to grow. Conduct market research to learn what produce is popular in your area.
Review industry magazines such as Greenhouse Grower, Greenhouse Manager, and Grower Talks for the latest industry trends. Study your competitors to identify any market holes that your business can fill. Then thoroughly research your produce to learn ideal growing conditions, soil, and planting times.
3) Determine the size of your operation. Evaluate what crops you will need to grow in order to turn a profit. Consider whether you will supplement your income with cut flowers or additional produce. You may find that by selling a variety of plants or produce in various sizes, you can reduce space requirements for your greenhouse and reduce overhead costs.
4) Contact your zoning authority to learn the rules governing your greenhouse. It may be worthwhile to secure land outside of city limits. In that case, you’ll want a location with adequate parking near a busy road to pull in local traffic. Chose enough land for your greenhouse business, taking into account the soil, water supply, access to utilities, run-off, slope, and sources of natural shade. If you intend to sell organic produce, your land must be free of pesticides for at least three years. Ensure that you know how your land was used prior to purchasing.
5) Design your greenhouse. In recent years, solar greenhouses have gained in popularity. While all greenhouses collect solar energy, some are better suited for collecting solar energy during the day and storing it at night, allowing farmers to extend the growing season. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, passive solar greenhouses are a good, cost-effective fit for small greenhouse owners. Be sure to implement windows to allow for ventilation during excessively hot summer months.
6) Outfit your greenhouse with an irrigation system, fertilizer system, benches, and wire shelving to allow for airflow and fans to evacuate hot air if the temperature gets too hot.
7) Purchase seeds, plugs, or cuttings from wholesale suppliers.
8) Make a name for yourself at farmer’s markets. Contact local grocers, florists, contractors, nurseries, and farm stores to sell your products.
Greenhouse cost per acres
Building a greenhouse costs $17,871 on average, with most people paying between $7,380 and $28,370. Depending on the size and what’s added to this space, you could pay anywhere from $3,500 to $35,000 for setup costs.
Building costs depend on many factors, but some of the primary considerations include:
- Greenhouse size
- Location (a freestanding greenhouse usually costs less than a home attachment)
Greenhouse tomato yield per plant
Most greenhouse tomato beefsteak cultivars will generate fruit that ranges in weight between 6 to 8 ounces with the expectation of harvesting at least two fruits per plant per week. Therefore, based on these two fruit yield components, an easily obtained harvest yield of 1 pound of fruit per plant per week requires the harvesting of just two 8 ounce fruit. In addition to the influencing environmental and plant factors mentioned earlier, both fruit number and fruit weight will also be affected by plant spacing.
What is the most profitable greenhouse Crops
Good old’ leafy greens are still the cream of the crop (no pun intended) of the greenhouse world. Bibb lettuces and salad types are particularly in demand, making their characteristics easy to grow. For instance, leafy greens work very well with other ornamental plants and can be grown under the same conditions. For someone who’s growing ornamental plants, making the transition is easy since they only have to learn growing techniques specific to leafy greens, and they’re good to go.
Bamboo is another example of a highly profitable crop for greenhouse growers. One of the nicest things about Bamboo is how fast it reaches maturity. Bamboos can grow as much as 2 feet over a 24-hour period, which is astonishing. Another great thing is that Bamboo can grow in almost any condition and is highly resistant to cold.
Fresh herbs are always a hot market, and growers can benefit greatly from adding a few herbs to their production. Herbs demand very little attention and don’t take much space, allowing you to get more per square feet. Herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, and oregano are a few examples of some of the herbs you can grow for profit. If you want to know where to sell, farmers’ markets are great places to start selling your herbs directly to the public.
Tomatoes are a classic greenhouse crop for a reason. First of all, tomatoes are always in demand, and some varieties, like San Marzano tomatoes, for instance, may appeal to particular industries. Furthermore, tomatoes are a versatile crop and can be grown in the same conditions as many other crops. Chilies and bell peppers thrive in the same conditions as tomatoes so that you can diversify your crops with these as well. Make sure you go with high yield varieties like Heirlooms, which ripen earlier if you want to maximize profits.
Ginseng has been a staple in Asian culture for years and is also growing in popularity in western countries as well. Ginseng is so profitable a crop that growers often refer to it as “green gold.” If you have a huge vacant lot and you are patient, then you could turn a handsome profit growing ginseng. We mention patience because ginseng can take up to 6 years to reach maturity, and you cannot rush the process and harvest roots before maturation. The only thing you can do is to sell it before maturity is by selling young “rootlets” to other buyers to stretch your profit.
Exclusive and gourmet mushrooms are also a go-to if you want to turn a profit with your greenhouse. Exotic mushrooms are more popular than ever, and the most demand is for oyster mushrooms and shitakes.
Onions, Garlic and Shallots
Growing these bulbs in your greenhouse may give your crops an early start in spring. One of the best things about bulbs is that you can plant them directly on the greenhouse floor underneath your other crops. This allows you to optimize your greenhouse space.
How much money can I make from a greenhouse
In Greenhouse farming or for that matter in cultivation, marketing is a key element other than your investment. Let’s take an example of tomato; right now, the metro market prices range between $ 1-3. One needs to have assured the supply schedule or market channel for a crop.
Under the greenhouse, one can grow tomato for nearly eight months. Hence looking at market leverages schedule of cultivation season needs to be worked out. Harvest must arrive early and stay late in the market. The quality of produce A grade percent should be higher.
This requires the design & construction of poly houses based on the agronomic parameter of the crops that are considered to grow under the structure. One has an option for a poly house under Govt. subsidy for an area up to 4000 SQM under naturally ventilated and Fan & Pad System. Nearly 50% of the capital investment is met from Govt. funding, and some states in India give an additional 15 % financial incentives. Considering operational expenditure for one season, the ROI would be positive if one knows how to make the best out of such resources and investment. In any business, there is market risks thus, it applies to greenhouse farming as well. Moreover, the size of the poly house should be manageable when production/harvest is at its peak, and post-harvest and safe transport of material needs to be complied as per market channels/buy-back arrangements or schedules. One greenhouse, with 700 plants, can generate $15,000 to $20,000 per year.
How do I start a greenhouse
Research Your Market
First and foremost, it is crucial to research your niche market to ensure the space and the need for another greenhouse business. You should look at the characteristics of the local population (age, jobs, income level, etc.) and calculate your projected growth according to the previous data.
Planning the crops
It is then important to figure out what type of crops you want to grow and consider what is popular in your area. A good way to do this is by reviewing industry magazines to be informed of the latest industry trends. You can then investigate your competitors’ products to identify any market opportunities that your business can fill. You should then research the ideal growing conditions, soil, and planting times of the plants you would like to grow. To plan the size of your business is also crucial. As such, you should calculate what quantity of crops you will need to grow to make a profit.
Learn about Regulation
Research about regulation and contact the local authorities to learn the rules governing your greenhouse. If you are considering organic produce, your land must be free of pesticides for at least three years. You will need to certify your products as well.
Design and build your greenhouse
After you secured some land, you should now design and/or purchase your greenhouse. If you want to keep it simple, you can use companies such as greenhouse stores. Greenhouse store is the leading online retailer of Greenhouses in the U.K. today. They offer greenhouse installation on most of the freestanding greenhouses they sell, as well as great value and a huge range of greenhouse accessories and spares at the very best prices.
You might consider solar greenhouses as well. Recent research suggests that solar greenhouses are a good, cost-effective fit for small greenhouse owners. Solar greenhouses can collect solar energy during the day and storing it at night, which might allow you to extend the growing season. The next step is then to implement your greenhouse with an irrigation system, fertilizer system, benches, and wire shelving to allow for airflow and fans to evacuate hot air when the temperature increases too much.
Purchase the seeds
According to your previous plan, it is time to purchase seeds from suppliers based on your research on market holes.
The best way to market your business is by connecting with your peers. You can attend the local farmer’s markets and contact local grocers, florists, contractors, nurseries, and farm stores to sell your products. Don’t forget to open a website and build a substantial social media presence.
Now, I hope I covered all your answers regarding a greenhouse profitability per square foot.