Can a Home Garden Turn a Profit?

My domestic quest for the triple bottom line

Paul Greenberg
3 min readFeb 1, 2022


Can you make a buck off zucchini flowers?

My Ground Zero Garden is a lot of fun but, so far, it’s a financial sink hole.

As people who’ve poked around my Medium page know, I’ve been developing what I call “The Ground Zero Garden,” an 800 square foot terrace in New York’s Financial District for about fifteen years now. Over the years I’ve gotten better at squeezing the most out of my 4 hours of direct sun. Exotics come and go (okra — waste of time, melons — fuggedaboutit) but some things stick. We are “salad self-sufficient” 7–8 months a year and never an herb do I buy. Asparagus went in two years ago and comes back every spring a little bit stronger. I have more than enough grape leaves to meet family demand for dolmades and July through October a handful of raspberries is delivered to my son weekly.

We’re making memories here, not calories.

But this year, as we near March 1st, the date I consider to be the traditional beginning of closet-based planting season, I’m taking a more brass tacks financial approach. I do honestly believe that home gardening does lessen your carbon footprint when done right. But what about the other factors? The so called “Triple Bottom Line” that includes not only environmental, and human rights sustainability but also financial sustainability?

Is there any money in growing mint for tripe? I don’t know. But I do love hearing new home gardening schemes.

To begin with, in 2021 I did an actual inventory of everything I grew and harvested. Here’s what the salad count looked like for June

You’ll notice that there are several moments of barter here. I work with an Alaska salmon fisherman who also happens to bottle the one bottle of wine I produce every year down here at Ground Zero. We’ve never exactly called it barter but let’s just say some salmon ends up in my freezer and some salad ends up in his fridge. You’ll also see that La Parisienne, a French restaurant, which is straight down stairs 10 flights from the Ground Zero…



Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World