Starting A Cut-Flower Farm Business


Starting A Cut-Flower Farm Business

If you love being in the garden and cultivating a variety of beautiful blossoms flowers, becoming a flower farmer might be a great way to supplement your income. Flowers are becoming an ideal seasonal cash crop because many varieties are generally easy to grow and produce quickly.



You could transform your flower-growing hobby into a profitable venture. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of room or big investment to get started. While a large portion of common flower varieties are imported, many consumers desire unique, local offerings to celebrate their special moments. A 2014 University of Wyoming Extension publication indicated specialty cut flowers were some of the most profitable crops growers can produce, with yields as high as $25,000 or $30,000 per acre! Flower business can be a profitable venture.

·        Getting Started
Cut-flower production takes place, either in open fields or protective structures, so you can enjoy fresh flowers no matter where you farm.

A fairly small investment rewards you with an abundance of flowers in a few short months. Startup costs include basic gardening tools, a good source for seeds and a little research. Although flower farming isn’t too labor-intensive, you also have to put in a little work.

Equipment needed to start producing flowers is similar to what you’d need for a small, direct-market vegetable operation, but unlike commodity crops and vegetable production, flowers are mostly planted and harvested by hand. There’s very little mechanization involved. “All you need are good shears, buckets and rubber bands.”

·        Pick Your Flowers
The best flower choices have a minimum vase life of five to six days and abundant blooms with long growing cycles and multiple stems for weekly cuttings. Choosing a wide assortment of colors and shapes also adds variety to your bouquets.

Some of these proven varieties include ageratum, larkspur, peony, salvia, scabiosa, snapdragon, sunflowers, verbena, yarrow, bachelor buttons, blanket flower, calendula, coreopsis, dahlias, geraniums, iris, larkspur, lavender, marigolds, poppies, statice, and zinnias. However, even these species may not grow well in your climate, so cull the best choices based on each variety’s ideal growing conditions.

·        Flower Markets
Before you plant anything, know what you plan to do with your harvested flowers. Plan your garden with specific types of sales in mind, which can include a variety of basic options. You should consider weddings and other special events, wholesale floral markets, farmer’s markets, roadside and farm stands, direct sales to florists, supermarket sales, U-pick operations, restaurant and hotel sales.

Freshly cut flowers are typically sold individually, by the bunch or in premade bouquets. Some producers also sell by the pound to allow shoppers to choose their own bunch of flowers. The strong demand for all types of flowers, especially unique varieties and enduring favorites can make flower production a highly profitable venture.

Always attempt to time your plantings to coincide with flower-heavy holidays, including Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and popular wedding months in your area. Remember: You aren’t just a flower farmer; you’re a florist. And the best way to be profitable is to listen to your customers. If you’re capable of growing what they want, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Flower Pests & Diseases
Some of the most common disease and pest problems of flowers, include the following:

1.     Powdery Mildew
This presents as a white, powdery coating on the surface of leaves, which could also show on stems and flowers. Leaves turn yellow and brown, making foliage unattractive. Susceptible annuals include snapdragons, verbena and zinnias; susceptible perennials include bee balm, delphiniums, garden phlox and lungwort.

Treatment

Remove affected leaves from plants. Also treat with horticultural oil and insecticide.

2.     Black Fungus
This begins as black spots on the foliage, most prevalent on the surface of upper leaves. These leaves turn yellow, then eventually fall off. Roses are highly susceptible.

Treatment
Treat with horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, neem oil, garden sprays containing beneficial bacteria or home remedies with baking soda. Maintain good airflow and avoid wetting foliage to help prevent this disease.

3.     Botrytis
This presents as a gray mold or fuzzy coating, primarily on dying leaves and flowers. Periods of high rainfall often make this disease more problematic.

Treatment
Remove diseased leaves and flowers immediately. Treat with garden sprays containing beneficial bacteria. Maintain good airflow and avoid wetting foliage to help prevent this disease.


4.     Insects
Aphids and thrips most commonly cause monetary losses.

Treatment
Pests can be controlled naturally with beneficial parasites and predators, such as lacewings. To maintain your beneficial insect population, avoid cover sprays of broad-spectrum insecticides. Biorational or biopesticide controls could include neem oil, insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils, which impact beneficial insects minimally. Use synthetic chemicals in moderation, and choose ones with the lowest toxicity to bees.

Note: While many fungal diseases won’t kill the flowers, they often drastically reduce the marketability of your product. Some flowers are more tolerant to specific pests and disease. As a new grower, carefully research the wide range of available pest- and disease-management options.




No comments

How Help Was This Post Article?

Leave a good comment below.

Powered by Blogger.