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.