cutting garden

patsgardenApril 29, 2006

I'd like to start a cutting garden and would like some advice. I currently have some perennial gardens with some annuals. My daughter is getting married Sept 9th and we'll be taking pictures so I need the gardens looking good. I'd also like to have flowers for a few reception arrangements. I'd also like to someday have a cutting garden for a business. Is it profitable, do you buy from wholesalers, start plants fromm seed? Any information would be really appreciated. I just found this site and wish I had found it sooner Thanks

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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

I suspect you're not getting a lot of responses because you've asked questions that require a lot of time to answer. It's profitable or not, depending on your growing, marketing, economic and business skills and how much time, effort and money you invest in it. You can buy plants from wholesalers and/or start from seeds, whichever works for you. Many growers do either or both. It's NOT a good get-rich-quick plan. If you love growing, love selling, love the flowers, and don't mind hard work, you can have success, but not generally quickly. It can take time to develop a clientele. There are gambles you can't control, like the weather, for instance. If you're considering it as a business, I recommend reading The Flower Farmer, a softcover book by Lynn Byczynski. There are other books that are helpful but this one covers a lot of the things a beginner needs to know, as well as offering profiles of quite a few successful flower farmers. She also recommends certain plants for certain climates.

I can't give you any plant recommendations - my climate is too different from yours. Here, only perennial asters are reliably producing by Sept. 9th because of our early frosts. I don't think that's the case where you are.

Best of luck with your daughter's wedding!

Jeanne

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 6:01PM
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flowerfarmer

We're not a "Cutting Garden." We are a flower farm growing several acres of specialty greenhouse and field grown cutflowers for market. Our grandchildren all live out of state; and, they come during the summer to work on the farm. They have been trained to work all aspects of the business. Our cutflowers are marketed at large, well established farmers markets. My background is in marketing; and, my husband's is in sales. These are both helpful for a successful business.

Because we are a business, we purchase everything wholesale. We purchase plant material from growers, and we also grow from seed. If we can grow it from seed, we usually do. Sometimes we just can't.

We're able to get around some the weather related concerns because we do grow many crops under cover in hoophouses/hightunnels. These structures also help us extend our growing season. Tornadoes and hail. Now, that's another story.

If you love gardening, it does not necessarily mean you will love the business of growing flowers. And, I would hold off for a bit on the purchase of the book by Lynn Byczynski. She is in the process of writing a revised edition.

We specialize in dahlias. If you've looked at the current issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, you'll notice she features dahlias casually arranged for table arrangements. Our dahlias usually bloom until the first or second week in October before they succumb to a hard freeze. They are beautiful the first part of September, which is the timeframe you mentioned for your wedding. Now is the time to plant the dahlia tubers. And, I'd plant several different sizes for variety. I've never met a dahlia that I didn't actually love. We love our dahlias.

I'd like to give you other ideas; however, we are really short on help presently. And, it's planting time. We usually have a couple people helping with the planting. That isn't happening until next week. So much to do; and, so little time.

Good luck with your wedding plans. Connecticut is a very beautiful state. And, a September wedding seems so perfect.

Trish

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 7:46PM
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