Timing Sunflower Cutting
I'm new here and to the cut flower business as well. All I am doing this year is experimenting with sunflowers. I planted about four hundred of them in June: Pro Cuts, Sunrich, Sunny, and others, in two different plantings, three weeks apart. The plants are doing great and I am having fun with them, but in spite of reading every sunflower post on this forum, I'm still not really clear on when to pick them for market.
I've been watching the flowers as the petals go from (1) visible, but folded tight, through (2) perpendicular to the flower face, and (3) fully open radially arrayed. I want my future customers to get fresh long-lasting flowers, so how long after the petals are fully open are the flowers still OK for market? If they open fully on Wednesday, can I still cut them Friday for Saturday's market? Do you have to watch each bloom and note when it reaches stage 3 so you can start your stopwatch? That seems kind of impractical, so what do you pros do?
I apologize if this is a dumb newbie question, but I guess if you're a dumb newbie, that's the kind of question you ask. :)