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Ltryptophan's avatar

Is there something valuable that is not illegal that I could grow hydroponically or in my climate?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10280points) July 1st, 2010

I live in the deep south. I thought it might be a good idea to grow a small crop of something valuable, or three seasonal valuable crops. I looked at saffron but I am not sure if it is something that I could grow successfully in my climate, or hydroponically.

Any ideas?

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20 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Sweet Peppers are very expensive in the stores and might work. Check out the various Hydroponics websites and perhaps you will find some tips and ideas.

AstroChuck's avatar

Salvia, perhaps.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Fresh herbs are great to have if you are a serious cook.

marinelife's avatar

Organic micro vegetables are very popular with restaurants.

MissA's avatar

Off the top of my head, tomatoes…if you have a greenhouse, the possibilities are endless. I agree with @YARNLADY and, the others as well.


Try growing a Goji berry bush. Goji berries are the craze now in health food circles, and they are quite expensive. The berries are renowned for their anti-oxidant properties, high levels of zinc and other vitamins. Some people buy bottled Goji berry juice, but one bottle can cost up to forty or fifty bucks.

I have a Goji berry shrub growing in my backyard. The bush is very hardy, able to withstand freezing winter temperatures (I live in Canada where temperatures go down to minus 35 regularly in the winter). It’s a pretty tough plant——all it needs is well-drained soil and regular watering and fertilizing. Every year, the bush puts out a bountiful crop of small purple flowers that develop into bright red berries by fall. You can eat them fresh, or dry them for later use. The berries are sweet, with a slightly bitter taste, but nevertheless delicious.

The plants are not offered for sale at garden centres, but you can perhaps find an Asian (Chinese) family where you live who is growing the plant (like I am) in their garden. All you need is a young plant with roots on it (the bush produces “baby plants” from suckers), or if you take a few cuttings, you can root them by putting the cuttings in water. That’s how my grandmother started growing the plant. The Goji berry bush is not a native of North America, but was brought over by a few Chinese immigrants who knew of its valuable properties. Ask around in Asian communities for the plant. Most likely, the families will be more than happy to give you a baby plant to start or cuttings.

You can also order Goji berry seeds and germinate them. It’ll take a little longer, but the plant grows quite fast. One drawback, the plant grows into a fairly large bush, about 6 feet tall and wide, after many years, but you can keep it small by trimming. The bush is also a bit “thorny”, not like a rose bush, but like a gooseberry bush.

Here’s one site to order seeds. Good luck! ———

YARNLADY's avatar

@talljasperman Is it possible to grow Avocados hydroponically? In orchards, it takes years for them to bear edible fruit.

talljasperman's avatar

@YARNLADY I grow avacado plants in Canada indoors I managed to get one five feet tall before I went off for university and my mom killed it “accidentaly”

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You can easily grow avocados in Texas, but it’s not a hydroponic crop, as they’re trees.

Do you have greenhouses? Bibb lettuce comes to mind as a great hydroponic crop, so anything like that—exotic greens, herbs.

I found lots of really interesting information by googling hydroponic farms, including business plans and case studies

YARNLADY's avatar

@talljasperman Oh, what a loss. I see the question does say or in my climate.

laureth's avatar

Have you looked into specialty mushrooms? (Not those mushrooms, I mean ones for cooking.) Places like this and this (not endorsements!) supply starter kits for growing mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and portabella that you may find a market for. The folks who sell their mushrooms at my local farmer’s market seem to do a brisk business.

However, the key (I believe) to making money this way is not to pick what to grow and then find a market for it, it’s to find a market niche and then fill that need. What do your friends and neighbors, local restaurants, or small grocery stores want to buy? If you find that information out first, it might save you the cost of a new hydroponic system and a bunch of veggies that you have to eat yourself because there wasn’t a demand.

jazmina88's avatar

I dig the micro green ideas…...pricy…..and sprouts…..squash blossoms??
cater to the finest chefs

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SmashTheState's avatar

A book I read about making a living with a micro-farm (as little as a quarter-acre according to the book) suggested currants as a cash crop. They’re extremely labour-intensive since there is no way to harvest them mechanically, so they’re quite expensive and there’s a strong market for them. They’re also a reasonably hardy crop.

talljasperman's avatar

@YARNLADY in my climate… well hydroponics is a controled climate and avacoados are betteer suited for the south…. so its better than fridgid canada

YARNLADY's avatar

@talljasperman I found it – growing hydroponic avocados – great idea, by the way.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Thanks for all the great ideas!

consuelo's avatar

I used to have several plants in my yard (mango trees, avocado trees, coconut trees…) Have you considered strawberries?

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