You can hardly ever go wrong with a food business. Sure you have to follow all the other rules of making a business great but food has the wonderful feature of automatic demand renewal. People (and animals) need to eat and they need to keep doing it to survive. So if the food is good enough you’re likely not to struggle with demand. Vertical farming is a food business idea we have mentioned on many occasions and we want to go further into it and look at some specific crops to grow in vertical farming setups.

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is an approach to farming that uses the abundant space above us to increase crop yields. In traditional farming, you would increase horizontally which is limited. In a vertical farming setup, you stack the crops on top of each other which is potentially unlimited but has constraints as to how far up you can go. Vertical farming is usually practised in controlled climate environments such as greenhouses. You can also combine vertical farming with hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics.

Leafy vegetables

Leafy vegetables do very well in vertical farming systems. This is because many of them do not grow very tall and they give great yields in climate-controlled systems. Some of the leafy vegetables you can grow to include those listed below.


Lettuce is an extremely popular leafy vegetable with many varieties to consider for growing. Most varieties of lettuce will mature between 30 and 60 days, which is a great turnaround time from seed to harvest.


Kale is a group name for many leafy vegetables that include rape, covo and others with which we may be less familiar. These are incredibly popular in Zimbabwe with both indigenous people and Asian communities among others. They grow very quickly and can be harvested between 55 and 75 days from seeds.


You might not be familiar with chards or at least the name. We grow a lot of Swiss chard but we call it spinach. There is also rainbow chard which is similar in taste and texture but is vibrantly coloured. These can be harvested in as few as 50 days.


Zimbabweans know and love cabbages though not always for the right reasons. Anyway, we can agree cabbages of all kinds are very popular in Zimbabwe and you can go very far with them in a vertical farming setup.

Brussels sprouts

The popularity of Brussels sprouts is not as universal as that of the cabbage but they are popular leafy vegetables. Compared to other leafy vegetables mentioned here they take a little longer to grow. They will mature in 80 to 90 days.


Herbs are also agreeable to vertical farming growing conditions for the same reasons as leafy vegetables. Herbs are seed-bearing plants that die down after flowering and tend to be used as some sort of flavour or seasoning in food or cosmetics. There are a few you can consider here.


Basil is a popular herb for both culinary and medicinal purposes.  It grows as a short shrub and can mature in 4 weeks. It is mostly sold fresh but there’s a good market for dried basil as well.


With mint, you will find it also has many culinary and medicinal purposes. It’s a very popular one and you will not struggle to find markets for it local and international. It will take about 90 days to get it to maturity.


Chives are popular in cooking and people tend to buy them in fairly large quantities. Chives can take up to 3 months to germinate but can be harvested multiple times once the plants start growing.


Parsley is arguably the most popular herb there is. It is a favourite in food and also has medicinal applications. It takes around 90 days to mature and is more popular in its fresh form than dried.


Rosemary is a strongly aromatic herb that is very popular in cooking. Rosemary grows in a bush and can be harvested multiple times. Rosemary can be grown from cuttings and can take between 6 months to a year to mature depending on how it’s grown.


Thyme grows very similar to rosemary, taking up to a year to mature. It’s a very popular herb in cooking and also has aromatic applications.


Oregano is a very popular herb in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean cuisine. It takes up to 4 months to mature and can be harvested multiple times.


Cannabis farming was legalised in Zimbabwe and it does grow very well in vertical farming setups. Cannabis can mature between 3 to 8 months depending on the variety of cannabis.


Strawberries are very popular fruits and are favourable to vertical farming setups. The short shrub fruits can mature in their second season of growth.

As you can see many crops are favourable to vertical farming growth.