Appeal to their senses with fresh cut flowers

By Lynn Byczynski

Fresh cut flowers have universal appeal that will attract customers to your fresh market stand or add value to a CSA. Picked fresh from the garden, flowers add color, scent, and personality to your home and workplace. Flowers require no special equipment, just clippers and buckets. There is a flower for every season, making them a natural addition to your season extension plan. The basics:

Start with the easiest varieties. Johnny's Cut-Flower Kit for Market Growers with sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos eliminates the guesswork and provides a foundation on which you can build your flower business.

Grow direct-seeded annuals such as Amaranths, Celosia, Gomphrena, Ornamental Grasses, Rudbeckia, and Salvia. For Zinnias, you can even use Johnny's Earthway Seeder, set on the beet plate, for sowing.

As your confidence grows, expand your menu of cut flowers to include perennials and more challenging varieties such as lisianthus and delphinium.

Cleanliness is essential to vase life, so scrub your buckets and clippers with a disinfectant before every harvest.

Cut flowers are one of the most profitable crops to grow in an unheated hoophouse. The minimal protection brings a wide range of benefits: excellent flower quality, longer stems, fewer pests, and a much longer season of harvest. Provide drip irrigation if possible as overhead irrigation can spoil the blossoms.

Lynn Byczynski is the editor of Growing for Market and the publisher of The Hoophouse Handbook.

Articles by Lynn Byczynski

About the author:

Lynn Byczynski was growing organic vegetables and cut flowers for market when she decided to create a magazine that would help market gardeners nationwide share experiences and information. Her first issue of Growing for Market appeared in January 1992 and it has been published continuously since then. GFM is renowned in the market gardening world for realistic articles that give growers practical, how-to information about growing and selling produce and flowers. Lynn is now partnering with Johnny's to provide similarly useful information for the website and other publications. Lynn, her husband Dan Nagengast, and their two children have grown vegetables and cut flowers since 1988, selling through a CSA, at farmers markets, to chefs, grocery stores, and florists. They currently grow cut flowers and hoophouse tomatoes on about 2 acres of their 20-acre farm near Lawrence, Kansas. Lynn is also the author of several books about market farming: The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers ; The Hoophouse Handbook ; Market Farming Success