Vase life cutting a day ahead

magz88(5a - Central Ontario)September 8, 2011

I have been cutting my zinnias and asters the night before market.

I was thinking of cutting them tonight and storing them in the basement so that I wouldn't have to work so long tomorrow evening.

If I did this would this negatively affect their vase life? The basement is fairly cool. It is about 15 degrees Celsius at night right now.

Is it worth the risk to lose a day of viability or should I just cut them tomorrow?

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Sometimes I have to cut a day early too and mine have always look good. I think your flowers will be fine.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 1:50PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I'm not a big grower by any means, but with five or six hundred flowers to get ready for market, I have to start cutting in the morning before market day. I cut in the morning, then make bouquets in the afternoon and evening in my basement. No doubt it would be best to cut all flowers the morning of the market, but we sure can't do that. You do what you have to do, and I don't think the customers will notice a little shorter vase life.

That's my feeling anyway.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 2:34PM
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magz88(5a - Central Ontario)

All right - you guys make it sound like it would be a good risk. I get a good solid week or 8 days out of both of them - so 6-7 days should be OK for the customers.

I have only ever put them in straight water. Do you think it would be worth putting a little vinegar in the storage water tonight? Or at least not detrimental? I don't do bleach or anything chemical.

I am perhaps being a little overanalytical but it is only the third week of having flowers at market and I want to have top quality product. But at the same time I want to have this be sustainable stress-wise for me. :)

Thank goodness I know the mustard greens and all the other greens stand a week in water - I have no qualms about cutting them Thursday night.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 2:46PM
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marthacr(z5 Me)

I put sugar in tepid water (as I pick) the night before to condition them, then set them in the coolest place I have which is the first level of my barn. Early in the season I picked at night and arranged the bouquets in the morning before taking them to market, but that proved impossible as the season progressed. After that, I made bouquets inside at night. I do use a small amount of bleach or vinegar, because bacteria loves the sugar in the water. Lynn Byczynski has a good section on this in her Flower Farmer book.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 8:45AM
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bfff_tx(z8b TX)

Magz88 - have you had your watered tested to ascertain Ph.? Depending on that, you may not need to add Vinegar which raises the question, how does one know exactly how much sugar, bleach, vinegar to add to your water?. Adding sugar to the water just feeds the flowers and ages them. I have always found that Zinnias do better in plain cold water or a holding solution. Being able to cut them on Thursday and put them in a walk in, is even better.
Cheers Kim BFFF

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 7:02PM
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magz88(5a - Central Ontario)

No, Kim, I haven't tested the water. We have very hard water here and the zinnias and asters last a good week in the plain water. My repeat clients mention that last weeks are still good when they buy but that they want a change.

My marigolds last just a week though, no longer. Do they like sugar Kim?

Last week I ended up not cutting till the night before. I did go out tonight though and cut the zinnias because I read that they don't much like being cold - and it is supposed to go down to 2 degrees Celsius here tonight!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:30PM
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bfff_tx(z8b TX)

Bear in mind that once a flower has been cut if you put it in a solution containing sugar, you are feeding it to an earlier complete death.

As you mention above "I get a good solid week or 8 days out of both of them - so 6-7 days should be OK for the customers.".

If you are getting a week from your Zinnias and Asters in plain water, I wouldn't change whatever it is you are doing. Especially if you are trying to grow naturally. Push that subject and people will be more than happy with a week out of their flowers.
Cheers - Kim BFFF

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 11:07PM
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