Have you ever thought about turning your gardening hobby into more-than-a-hobby? Getting paid to garden might seem too-good-to-be-true, but there are plenty of gardening-related jobs out there! Whether you’re searching for a summer gig, finding your vocation, or looking to ditch a desk job, read on to learn how to cultivate a career in gardening!

Be sure a gardening job is right for you:

Before you embark on your gardening job hunt, it’s important to understand that gardening as a job can be very different from gardening in your own backyard. In your own garden you’re free to spend time on the chores you enjoy, whenever you feel like doing them. When its your job to garden, you’ll be responsible for many gardening-related tasks, some of which might not be your favorites (…You might have to weed gardens every day!)

Gardening as a job can also involve working in the elements- rain, heat, and cold- whereas with your own garden you can just hide inside until the weather improves. Depending on the job, there may be physical requirements - carrying heavy things, standing for extended periods, kneeling, and bending. You might be assigned repetitive tasks to be completed quickly…and planting 300 lettuce plants feels quite different than planting 3! Efficiency tends to be the name of the game with gardening jobs, compared to your own garden where you can spend as much time as you want fussing over your plants.

If you’re truly passionate about gardening, don’t let this deter you. Just be aware that gardening for work might not feel as carefree as hobby gardening. You could also find other avenues to channel your gardening passion into a career without necessarily working as a gardener. Consider options such as working at a retail garden center, garden design, or horticultural research. The possibilities to incorporate gardening into your career are limitless!

Decide what type of gardening gig you dig:

Once you have a general idea of how you’d like to incorporate gardening into your work, you’ll need to figure out which gardening-related industry you want to work in. There are many different specialized gardening fields, such as:

  • Landscaping and garden maintenance
  • Arboriculture
  • Garden center/nursery work
  • Agriculture
  • Greenhouse production
  • Floriculture

…Just to name a few! As a starting point, think about what type of gardening you enjoy most as a hobby, and look for a related speciality. If there’s more than one specialization that appeals, try to connect with people in the industry who can give you a better sense of the work involved (more on this in the next section!)

A greenhouse worker surrounded by plants holding a computer

Research and reach out:

Get a sense of what gardening-related job opportunities are out there by first looking for companies and organizations in your gardening area(s) of interest. Try to get contact information for someone who works in a relevant department and reach out. Even if they don’t have jobs posted, you never know when they might be looking for help!

Consider joining garden clubs, horticultural societies, and professional organizations related to your area of interest. You will unearth opportunities through these networks that you might not have found otherwise.

Breaking into an industry can be hard, but keep putting yourself out there and eventually you will find people with similar interests who can point you to some great opportunities!

Level up your gardening skills and apply:

Once you’ve found a dream gardening job, you might be wondering how to ‘break in’ if you don’t have previous professional gardening experience. First, be sure you have the minimum qualifications for the job (including education and certifications, if applicable). If you don’t have these, your first step should be enrolling in a relevant education program to become qualified. In the meantime, consider looking for a related position to gain experience while you’re working on your credentials.

When pulling together your resume and cover letter, think of all the gardening skills you bring to the table. Include your own personal gardening experience, note any gardening volunteer work you might have done, and note your favorite books and other sources of information related to the field. Be sure to highlight any transferable skills you might have from other areas of your life. For example, if the job requires you to do physical work outside, note that you are a camping and hiking enthusiast who loves being outdoors. Or if speed is key, highlight a previous work experience where you had to complete manual tasks quickly and accurately. Convey how interested you are in the field and how much you have already learned about it; even if it’s from informal education and experience.

If you’re passionate about gardening, incorporating gardening into your work can be rewarding and fulfilling. Make sure you have realistic expectations of what the work entails and the qualifications required. Build a network of contacts in your field who can help guide you and connect you with potential opportunities. Above all, don’t be afraid to go for it! You might just land a job you love. 🌱❤️

A smiling greenhouse worker holding a head of lettuce, with other workers working in the background