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February 1st 2016

Six Important Questions To Answer Before You Get Started Growing Flowers

Written by
Floret

floretfieldshotIf you’re new to flower growing or you’ve dabbled for a little while and now you’re ready to get serious, spending a little time getting clear is an absolute must. Today, we’re going to do a little assessment to figure out what you’ve got to work with, what limitations you have to consider and what your flower needs are. These details are critical in making a good, solid plan that will reward you with a successful, flower filled season.

So, before we dig into the nitty gritty how-to posts, I want you to take a little time and answer these six important questions. The process will help narrow down your choices and you’ll get really clear, really fast. From here planning will be so much easier.

Ok, here we go:

erinwalkHow much space do you have to work with? Even if you only have a few pots on your deck or a small garden plot in your backyard, it’s still possible to have fresh flowers in your life. But before you go hog wild ordering up a storm, it’s important to get an idea of how much good growing ground you can actually set aside.

Almost all of the flower varieties we offer in the Floret Shop prefer full sun, so try and find a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. If you only have a shade to work with, don’t worry – I’ll give you some suggestions for varieties that like those conditions too.

You’ll want to go out and take measurements of the space(s) you have to work with so once we dig into the planning steps you can be as accurate as possible. I have a two-acre field map, with every single bed and hoop house drawn out. This really, really helps me stay in touch with the actual space I have to fill.

How long is your growing season and what’s your climate like? Factors like where you live and how long your growing season lasts will dictate what varieties will grow and thrive in your area. For instance, one of my farming friends in northern Vermont only has 90 frost-free days in which to grow flowers! So they stick to cool weather lovers that are fast to flower and anything heat loving and tender must be grown in a hoop house. Another grower friend is gardening in the high desert. Spring lasts just a few short weeks, essentially jumping from winter right to summer. Cool weather-lovers like Sweet Peas and Honeywort must be grown under shade cloth, otherwise the high temps and high light will fry their tender growth.

Even though our farm is tucked into a valley with a pretty long frost-free growing season April 15- October 15, we rarely get temps over 90*F in the summer. So things that thrive outside for most gardeners like Basil, Tomatoes, Peppers and Cockscomb, must be tucked into a hoop house for us, otherwise they never fully ripen.

We’ll dig into climate specific recommendations in the upcoming posts, but take this time now to think through and better understand the climate limitations in your area.

larkspur1How much time and energy do you have to devote to this project? This is the question I hate to answer the most! While I’ve figured out how to squeeze ridiculous amounts of flowers into our tiny plot of land, I still haven’t cracked the code on adding more hours into the day. If you work a full time job, have to travel to your cutting garden, or your days are filled with wrangling little people, beware of biting off more than you can chew.

When I first started growing flowers I was also a young mom. The majority of my days were filled with keeping a very inquisitive preschooler occupied and her wild toddler brother out of trouble. As my passion for flowers grew, so did my frustration with how little time I actually had to devote to growing them. I remember crying in my weed-filled garden more days than I can count because I just couldn’t keep up with it all.

As time went on I found some great ways to manage the workload and eventually keep up with it all, which I will share with you soon. But what would have helped me more than anything back then was to take it a little easier. I thought I had to do it all, RIGHT NOW, which created a mountain of work and stress for myself.

How much money can you invest in your garden this season? While growing your own flowers will reward you with both a bounty of blooms, and if you’re in business, some cash too, getting a garden set up does require an initial investment.

If cash is tight or you’re just starting out, one of the best ways to get your feet wet without breaking the bank is by growing annual varieties from seed. Depending on the size of garden you have, a pretty small investment in seeds and compost can reward you with an incredible abundance of flowers and foliage just a few months down the road.

During the early years, in hopes of increasing our farm’s revenue, we doubled our growing ground. But in the chase for more income, we failed to account for just how much money was required to get a new two-acre field set up and in working order. With the land already rented and ready to cultivate, we naively skipped the most important steps to growing great flowers (feeding the soil and providing steady water) and instead just threw thousands of small seedlings in the ground. That year almost did us in!

It’s important to remember that whatever space you’re going to cultivate, you also need to factor in compost, fertilizer, some type of irrigation, plus seeds and bulbs.

campanulaWhat are your floral needs? Whether you want to grow truckloads of flowers for mixed bouquets, interesting ingredients to supplement your floral design business during wedding season, or just have fresh flowers for your home, your needs should define what varieties you choose and how many plants you ultimately grow.

floretbackfieldLastly, WHY are you growing cut flowers? I know this probably seems like a silly question, but during the height of summer, when the mosquitoes are thick, and the flowers are blooming faster than you can cut them, remembering this one simple thing will help to keep things in perspective. It’s your north star.

For me, growing flowers helps me more centered and present in the moment. I have a tendency to live in the future. Flowers pull me out of my head and into the right here and right now. I also LOVE to share the beauty and magic of them with other people. Nothing brings me more joy than handing someone a bundle of blooms.

One Final Note: It took a lot of time and energy to put together this series of posts, with the hope that they will inspire you and help you to grow more beautiful flowers. But without your participation, feedback, or questions, the team and I are unable to know if we’re on the right track. I’m all for blog lurking (reading without ever commenting) but in this case; I would really appreciate your full participation.

Here’s my request, would you please take a minute and leave a comment? Even a few words would be great. I would love to know if this was helpful, what questions do you still have about the topic, what are you struggling with, and are there any tricks or resources you love that you could share with other readers.

I read every comment. If you submit a comment and it doesn’t show up right away, sit tight, we have a spam filter that requires we approve most comments before they are published. Lastly, if you feel like this information is helpful, I would love it if you would share it on Facebook or any other social media platform. Thanks in advance. I can’t wait to dig in with you!

476 Comments

  1. Melanie Heisler on

    i have been following you and your farm for about 3 years. so inspirational, so informing. keep it coming.

    Reply
  2. Debi on

    I am expanding my flower farm that was very successful (in a small, local way) last year. I am always drawn to the beauty of your farm, and the possibilities mine holds. I have downloaded your planning guide – and reading through your posts before I place the seed order. Living in Colorado, there are a few more snows to come – but I am anxious to lay the groundwork for another fun year on the farm!

    Reply
  3. Jennifer B on

    I just stumbled across your instagram which led me to your blog, I’ve been reading it all day. It is always so exciting to me to connect with a fellow lover of playing in soil. I am trying to up my flower game and your posts have already proven incredibly helpful! I’m over in NYS in zone 6a near Lake Ontario, so our growing season is about a month shorter than yours, but your tips/tricks and insights are invaluable to me! Keep posting! I’m reading (lurking). Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Meredith on

    This is a great read. Starting with a do-able size plot is great advice that I needed. I look forward to reading the next posts and your book.

    Reply
  5. Clarissa on

    Hi Erin…. I just found this series and for a first year flower farmer, your blog is GOLD! You are definitely on the right track for us newbies. Please keep it going.
    Huge thanks from Ontario Canada…

    Reply
  6. Jamie on

    This information is wonderful! It has been my dream to purchase a 30 acre farm here in Michigan, where I started my first job 10 years ago. I love growing fruits and vegetables, but there’s just something special about flowers. I can’t wait to dive into your book for further insight and inspiration!

    Reply
  7. Christine on

    Hi Erin and Company, I came across your site from Pinterest while daydreaming about starting an herb and flower farm! My profession is in information technology but I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last few years. This year as my son headed off to school and I started contemplating (dreading ;-) going back to work, I started having crazy daydreams about farming flowers, herbs, bees & honey. It never really occurred to me that real people actually do this, I thought I made it up! Thank you for the wisdom and inspiration that you, your family and your star-studded team are. (Now, I just have to get back work updating my resume…..right after I read (devour) this entire blog. ;-)

    Reply
  8. Linnae on

    I am eagerly looking forward to these posts (and to your book!) I want to start growing cut flowers, but I’ve got quite a few things to work out first: namely, a move and a new baby happening this summer! :) These questions are just what I need to get me thinking and planning in the right direction. My flower farm may be a couple years down the road, but I’m ready to learn all I can, so that I can dive in once I’m ready. Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Corie Gudgeon on

    I appreciate your time in giving us some insight into how to grow beautiful flowers! I pre-ordered your book and can’t wait to start reading it. I only wish I could get in on the workshops that seem to sell out fast! Hopefully there will be more to come. Thank you for your blogs and articles. They are so well done and so helpful! Keep them coming!

    Reply
  10. Lynn on

    Yes, I loved reading and learning so much information especially after I read you were located in Washington State! I only wish I had jumped on ordering some of the seeds that you are now sold out of.

    Reply
  11. Bindy McClymont on

    Hi Erin Hi summer here in Australia with ridiculously hot weather so am looking forward to reading these blogs and your book Thank you for your seeds too and the holster Its a left handlers dream to have some where for the secetures in easy reach, not the other side of the hips !

    Reply
  12. LeAnne on

    Thank You! all this information is wonderful, I have been waiting for your book but having this gives a to start planning while I wait. I usually just jump straight in to the middle and that hardly ever works, This is something Ive been thinking about(blog lurking) for a few years. This gives me a start here point which I need. Thank You.

    Reply
  13. Becky K. on

    Thank you for taking the time to share all of this information. My husband and I own a small farm and wedding venue. We are always looking for ways to help us grow our farm so that it will support us being there full time. My dream for adding flower farming would be to host full farm-to-table weddings that include farm fresh flowers, produce and meats. :)

    Reply
  14. Donna Smith on

    I have always grown a wild flower garden that either thrives or doesn’t depending on the weather that year. I sell bouquets at our farm fruit stand. My daughter is now joining us and her passion is raising cut flowers to a degree that we can continue to seek at our stand but also to our local restaurants and grocery stores. It will be a great addition but neither of us have gone to this scale before, so we are hanging on your every word and going through your planning process!! It came at the exact right time!

    Reply
  15. Nancy Heerema on

    Just found your blog through a link from Carmela – looking forward to digging in! I just have a small garden (20×20) and grow a variety but am always looking for things that are EASY to grow (Iowa), inexpensive, and I can put in arrangements for friends and neighbors.

    Reply
  16. Wendy A on

    I just found your blog and am thrilled. I plan to read through your site this weekend, pre-order your book, and learn a lot while enjoying your incredible flowers! Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Becky on

    I have experience arranging flowers but am new to growing then. These questions and subsequent posts are a great help as I start thinking through the practicalities of growing fresh blooms to cut and arrange.

    Reply
  18. janine on

    I cannot express the amazing timing of your current posts on planning. I was really hoping to come to a workshop this year but since it wasn’t financially in the cards, this is like a little taste to hold me over for the meantime. My partner and I just had an offer accepted on a property in Estacada, Oregon. Our future property looks like it will have some challenges due to the past owners dumping trash in strange places and hiding tires in the soil…. but in many ways it’s a clean slate for our beginning farm.

    While I’m relatively new to flower farming, I’m even newer to floral design. I’m told I have a good eye and I have a few books but….do you have any ideas for someone interested in gaining experience in the type of design that will help propel skills?

    Reply
  19. Beth on

    I love your posts and appreciate your heart and soul. I live on the water outside of Olympia during the summers so have to leave my garden in the fall with fingers crossed that it will still be there when we return in the spring. Thanks for your inspiration – hope to see your farm one day.

    Reply
  20. Hailey on

    I always enjoy your blog posts and get a lot of useful information out of them. I’m looking forward to reading the next few posts in the series!

    Reply
  21. Nancy Harkness on

    I just found your website and am looking forward to reading many of your articles. I enjoyed this one.

    Reply
  22. Anna on

    I’m an artist based just outside of Melbourne. I use flowers in my work and want to grow my own as part of my practice so that I can have year round ultra-local blooms. I’m also keen to integrate my flowers with vegetables to feed my family as I really do think a mix is beneficial in both directions.

    I really connected with your comments about gardening keeping you present and the frustration of trying to do it all while wrangling tiny humans. It’s hard!

    Reply
  23. Lindsey on

    I’m so happy to find your blog and Instagram! I am a successful backyard gardener and have been trying to add flowers to my repertoire for the last year or two. I have learned a lot through trial and error but am looking forward to this growing season with some of your insights!

    Reply
  24. Natalie Beverage on

    Thank you so much for this Erin, it comes at the perfect time. I’m taking notes. So, so thankful!

    Reply
  25. Lori on

    I am recently retired, and thought that I would just enjoy the “leisure life” I always thought retirement was meant to be. But my daughter how is a florist in Chicago has bigger aspirations. She is moving home soon to start her own business and since we live out in the country and have some space, we will be starting small this spring with seeds already ordered from you… We are excited for this new business adventure. Your blog posts are full of valuable information for someone just starting out.

    Reply
  26. Renn on

    Really stoked on this blog. I currently live in Montana with my husband and coonhound, Boone, but we have recently decided to take steps toward moving back to our home-state, Vermont, where we hope to buy land and start a small flower farm and homestead.
    I am a certified floral designer and absolutely love working with stems in the design capacity, but I am eager to start sustaining my love for designing by breaking ground, sewing, and harvesting our own beautiful blooms. Any information I can come across that helps me become more equipped for the upcoming journey of flower farming is such a gift! Thank you for your willingness to share the know-how.

    Reply
  27. Jennifer on

    This post helped me consider several things that i had not contemplated. For example, Why grow cut flowers? I really thought about he purpose. Thanks for such beautiful inspiration and direction.

    Reply
  28. Kalie McG on

    I love your Instagram! First time homeowner, and I want to start growing flowers everywhere. Hoping to get inspiration/information on techniques. Thanks!

    Reply
  29. Amity on

    Thank you for the fabulous planner. Thank you for telling the truth that it takes time, trial and error. Thank you for sharing how hard it is to both mother and farm. Thank you for all you do. I vow to not let short-term failure do me in, and accept the long view of flower farming as an investment over time. I always wanted to build a garden that my grandchildren might get married in. That’s my north star.

    Reply
  30. Kelsey on

    Haha! I am a lurker as well but here goes – although I want a full cutting garden and orchard my time is lacking with homeschooling three kiddos. However I love your posts because they are helping me to upgrade my zinnia seeds from boring to exciting! Also, instead of multicolored dahlias I am now trying to follow your lead and plant different sizes of coordinating colors. These are easy adjustments in my garden that I can make for big impact in my centerpieces for my home. Thank you for the inspiration and guidance. – from far west Texas.

    Reply
  31. Christine on

    Lurker but commenting due to your request – I’m just a home gardener without a cutting garden, but I love to read your blog periodically because I find that your detailed notes and beautiful photos give me lots of ideas (and mental wishlists!) for techniques and varieties to incorporate into my personal garden. Side note that I live in a much different growing climate, but it can be interesting to see what it’s like gardening in another part of the country, even if it’s not applicable to my location. And I do find that you make a lot of comments on how to make adjustments for other climates. I also value the insight your posts give me into the cut flower business; I feel that I’m actually much more likely to buy fresh (and local) flowers since becoming a fan of your blog. I really appreciate the time and thought you put into your posts, and am glad that you have a web store which allows me to support your work from afar. In summary, I would say that your blog gives a combination of practical, useful information and beautiful inspiration that I wish I could find more of but have yet to see anywhere else.

    Reply
  32. Andrea on

    The one thing I’m most concerned about is leveling an area to start a cutting garden. I have plenty of area, but it’s weedy and uneven. I want to disturb the soil as little as possible. Also, there are rocks. Rocks from pebbles to basket ball size and larger. If I use machinery to level it, I fear the worms and micro organisms will all have left or been destroyed.

    Reply
  33. Lauren E. on

    I am so excited I came across your website. Your website is well-designed and your flowers are stunning. I appreciate you taking the time to help people like me AND run your business. I live in north Texas and struggle with clay soil, hot summers and gardening inexperience. I hope to learn as much as I can from you — and to buy some bulbs once they’re available. Best of luck to you this growing season!

    Reply
  34. Deborah Florian VasePlace on

    10 yrs we spent planing and dreaming and preparing the land for what would one day be our permanent home. Foundation was poured and 10 more years spent building and cultivating our piece of paradise. Each year we try to add something new to our gardens, while trying not to create more than what the two of us can care for. My gardens provide eye candy and veggies and now some cut flowers. When I found your Sweet Peas I knew what this years addition would be. I am throughly impressed with your accomplishments, your energy and especially your spirit which touches me fundamentally. I look forward to learning from your experiences and to growing your seeds. Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Megan on

    My shoes feel pretty similar to your early years…chasing kids around. But before my children…there was always a garden. As my family has grown so has the garden. My love and devotion to that practice has been the passion that drives and sustains me. Last year i offered to grow flowers for a friends wedding in vermont. It was a great and challenging experience that sparked something in me that has just sent my brain a buzz with the slow flower movement. I started selling produce and bouquets out of my converted old truck trailer farm stand last summer in my rural town after the wedding.I was excited when it was well received by my community…vermonters love it local. There was something so magical about growing flowers and knowing their beauty was going to all sorts of people and bringing such joy….i am hooked. Once I found your blog…it really felt as if at times you are reading my mind. I am probably biting off more than i can chew this season…but that is my general bar to see where i land. The information and passion you share here is helpful and inspiring…thank you! I pre-ordered your book this fall and eagerly await its arrival!
    megan of Upright Heart Market Garden

    Reply
  36. Deseree' on

    As a novice flower wanabe farmer I love everything you post! We recently bought our property last fall because of it’s beauty and all the work the previous owner put into it. I have desinged for years in floral shops and have had my own business, and as I walked around the house and saw all the fun flowers all over, I kept saying do you know how much we charge for these in the shop?? With the purchase of our home it has also given me the space I need to start my floral designing again for wedding and special events. We also have a cute little green house which I had planned on using for my families vegtable garden, but it wasn’t until I saw you website that I realized I could actually grow more than just vegtables. So excited for this learning/experiment year. Thank you for all your help!!!

    Reply
  37. Summer on

    I just read the article you were featured in in BHG and now have a cart full of your suggestions! I AMA new gardener and am excited for the potential of growing flowers…I have 3 little people at home and this seems like the perfect “me time” activity for this season! Thank you for your great information and beautiful website!

    Reply
  38. Brooke Oliver on

    I’m a mom of 4 young girls and I am dreaming of starting my first garden… ever. I’m reading your posts and trying to learn as much as I can. Thank you for taking the time to share your wealth of knowledge!

    Reply
  39. Katherine on

    Your posts are so helpful! I appreciate that you make flower farming approachable. I’m starting a small garden this year and all of the how-to posts are so helpful, as well as the posts about why you like certain varieties. I am continually inspired by how much you are able to grow on 2 acres, and how selective you are about what you grow. Thank you for continuing to share!

    Reply
  40. Beth on

    Erin: I am not in retail. Your blogs, products, and all information you give, help even those of us who simply want to make their yards a beautiful haven for people, birds, bees, and other created life forms. You answer and teach us the things we either, do not know we need to know, or even, how to formulate the questions in order to obtain the needed information. It is as if you understand what we need to know, or are steps ahead telling us the things we will need to know once we get to the next step. One example, I have never been able to grow sweet peas from seeds, now, with the information you have taught, I have hope that maybe success is possible. In the past, I did not have a resource for the beautiful varieties of seeds, bulbs and other products you provide–just had the nursery stock available in Seattle–and just getting to those locations through Seattle traffic takes so much energy. Once there staff does not teach. You provide a center for information, teaching, and products longed for. I am a couple of years out of breast cancer treatment. One of the first things I did after treatment was to bend down and pluck a weed from one of my flower beds, look up at the sky and thank God for one more spring, one more time of pulling a weed, and one more time to see the blue sky. Now I am compelled to create beauty in my surroundings. All that you provide in articles, teaching, and products have become a help and resource and contribute to my healing in multiple ways. Please continue–my words cannot capture my gratitude for all the trials you have gone through, the price you have paid, so that I can reap the benefit of lessons learned and knowledge gained. Thank you for giving all this to me.

    Beth

    Reply
  41. Ginger Proctor on

    I’m a North Florida backyard gardener with a love for flowers. I have a good amount of bed space that I can devote to this. I’m looking forward to applying your knowledge to my Florida, very sunny garden. I’ve always been a failure with starting things from seed. I’m hoping this will be my year for success! Can’t wait for your book to be released!

    Reply
  42. Sara on

    I moved into a brand new bungalow with a very small yard one year ago. I have planted some shrubs and perennials as “bones” of my garden, and am very interested in learning about growing my own cutting garden. I really enjoy your posts, and am a photographer…I LOVE your photos!

    Reply
  43. Tammy Hall on

    I’m starting my fifth year of growing and working with flowers full time, and I absolutely treasure your posts. They help me so much giving some some clarity to my plans, and in bringing me back down to earth, and help stop me from panicking and ending in tears at the prospect of not achieving all my goals. Thank you so very much for sharing such helpful and insightful knowledge.

    Reply
  44. Tracey Sloan on

    I have worked in the landscaping/ flower care world for the last 15+ years in a resort community in Northern Michigan. It has slowly become my dream of all dreams to one day just be a flower farmer. You are one of the first flower farmer pages I found on instagram, I have only become more and more inspired and convinced that my dream is achievable thru following you, and many other small flower farmers. I found this post very helpful, and realistic as all get out! Thank you for sharing the love in such beautiful and inspiring ways!

    Reply
  45. Lauren on

    I am a small retail florist in upstate NY. I have a property on the Hudson River that was owned by, what my older neighbors tell me, a master gardner. I can see the remnants of her plantings in the spring. Rows of these tiny bulbs. I am planning on tilling the whole area just to get control of the overgrowth that happens in the summer to plant a more organized garden to grow specialty wedding flowers. Do think I should try to save them and transplant them to another area on the property?

    Reply
  46. Bekki Jamison Portland OR on

    So excited to follow along with your posts, Erin! I pre-ordered your book ages ago! It’s a long awaited Christmas gift!! You are so genuine and generous to share your amazing knowledge.

    Reply
  47. Jane Berry on

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I as a third year grower appreciate all the wisdom learned from experience.

    Reply
  48. Elizabeth (Betty) Comartin on

    I have a flower stand at the end of my drive and sell bunches all summer. Thank you so much for the way you share your gardening knowledge. I am constantly soaking up what you put out. 😍 My big question is – I always see that white large square “netting” that the flowers grow thru and I can’t figure out how you use it. I see that the flowers grow thru it and it supports the blooms, but when and how do you set it out and support it? And why don’t the flowers get tangled up in it as they grow?? Thanks Erin!

    Reply
  49. Katherine on

    This quote is me to a T!

    “For me, growing flowers helps me more centered and present in the moment. I have a tendency to live in the future. Flowers pull me out of my head and into the right here and right now. I also LOVE to share the beauty and magic of them with other people. Nothing brings me more joy than handing someone a bundle of blooms.”

    Thank you for sharing your love for flowers! I found you last year after growing my first dahlia garden, and have found your resources so helpful ;) Thanks and keep after it!

    Reply
  50. Joel on

    Hello Erin

    Thank you for another informative post. Reading this from my home in Norwich, UK and getting excited about growing flowers. I’m not clear whether you have replied to the comments on the blog or privately so apologies if I repeat a question. Are the hoops in these pictures for securing the netting or were they used to support fleece or other protection? Can you give the material and dimension specifications of the hoops please?

    Thank you

    Reply
  51. Kelly Gregory on

    Just ordered your book and I am so inspired by the info you have shared!!! Thank you!! I’m in northern Ca with land AND water just need a plan !! Do you still have offer classes?

    Reply
  52. Beth on

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you so much for so generously sharing your wisdom. Your clear facts – supported with gorgeous photos – have helped us with many decisions and inspired many new plant trials. We are growing in Massachusetts, with approximately a 150 day growing season. However, much of our growing space is at least partially shaded. We grow vegetables, herbs and flowers for farmers’ markets, CSAs, weddings and other events.

    Yes, we are listening! Yes, we are very appreciative! Yes, we very consistently direct people to you and your resources, as a master in the field!

    Sincere thanks!
    Beth

    Reply
  53. Lisa Carkin on

    Flower bouquets are including in our mixed family CSA. We are always working on improving and learning. How do you support the flower netting that I see in the pictures? With only the hoops or stakes?

    Reply
  54. Marilyn on

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and beautiful photos. I live in PNW on a sloped 1/3 acre. I haven’t figured out a good place for a greenhouse but the hoops have sparked my interest. I’m sure it makes seed starting more fun and enjoyable in a warm cubbyhole in late winter and spring. There are probably other sources on the internet but you explain things so simply that make for a successful garden. Maybe you could talk about hoop houses on your blog or even a video? Keep being you and thanks again.

    Reply
  55. Thesallygarden on

    I,m a small time grower with a half acre in Wicklow . Ireland. I sell flowers in a local market and focus on Irish organic grown cottage flowers. I love following your journey, and find your enthusiam and inspiration a gift. Thank you

    Reply
  56. Angela on

    I am simply, truly grateful and appreciate you sharing what you have learned … I have loved gardening for many years and grown Daylily plants and sold divisions for almost ten years so branching out to grow cut flowers and herbs feels like a natural progression now that my kids are mostly grown and I have time to garden more obsessively than in the past. Finding your site and reading though so much helpful info has quieted a lot of my fears on how to handle, harvest and keep them looking their best! (A problem I don’t have to worry about when selling Daylily plants!) Thank you so much! I can hardly wait to receive the book! :)

    Reply
  57. Harriet on

    Amazing! You are so inspiring. I’m not at the point where I can grow yet, but I try to absorb as much information as I can to help me when I get there :) Harriet x

    Reply
  58. Debby Stagg on

    I work with the Dried Flower Arrangers at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, BC. We’re a group of volunteers who share your motivation and challenges as we work through each season to produce items for sale in the fall. Your site is inspiring and practical. Thanks!

    Reply
  59. Isabella Rule on

    I simply adore this website. I found it by mistake, while looking for material related to growing cut flowers. I find it encouraging and refreshing. Thank you so much for the time and the effort you put on this blog. I also had a look at the book (preview on iBook). From the list of the contents it looks like it is going to cover literally everything I want to know about growing cut flowers (hopefully as a business in the future). It will be my next purchase.
    Thanks again.
    Isabella

    Reply
  60. Peggy on

    I love your posts they are educational and inspirational. You are a gift. I really look forward to more as I will be starting our first garden in our new home.

    Reply
  61. Wendee Ball on

    Hi, I have your book pre-ordered and cannot wait to receive it! Most of my questions are about plant spacing and irrigation. I am sure that will be covered in the book, but I love reading the blog! Thanks!

    Reply
  62. Nicole on

    I am so looking forward to this spring and summer and what I hope will be my much more organized gardens! I am branching out and growing lots of your seeds for cutting this year in addition to my 75 plus dahlias. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion in all that you do. I have learned so much. I can hardly wait!

    Reply
  63. Jan Olson on

    Thank you so much for all this wonderful information and guidance! I think it’s all spot on! I would love to know how I can find out the length of gardening time in my area of Covington WA.

    Reply
  64. Mary Marshall on

    Hi this is really helpful and I have downloaded your sheets which have been invaluable in putting into perspective how many varieties I should grow- I’m like a kid in a candy store with a seed catalogue in front of me .I have banned myself from buying anymore! Looking forward to your future posts. Mary Marshall The Moorland Flower Company England

    Reply
  65. Angie on

    Thank you for the post! Reading through the six questions and answering them in my head made me feel like I was on the right track with my capabilities as a flower farmer. I am just starting out and your resources have been a great help to me…please keep them coming.

    Reply
  66. Sandra on

    Hello Erin and Team;

    I have just recently come across your site through Pinterest and it is very interesting. I have always loved flowers and gardening but didn’t have the living space to enjoy it. Now getting to a new home with the potential of growing flowers and vegetables is very exciting. I am looking forward to reading your blog and gaining knowledge of how to begin this process so that I can always enjoy fresh cut flowers for myself and friends. Thank you for sharing your information it is invaluable.

    Reply
  67. Mandy on

    Hi Erin and Team,

    I just wanted to take the time out to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity of knowledge, I started my small cut patch in my garden a couple of years ago, this year I have an allottment to fill with cut flowers, it sure is addictive, I grow them specifically for myself and gifts for friends but dream of one day owning my own little cut flower business, I’m based in the UK so these posts are invaluable to me, I would love to come on one of your workshops but logistically I dont think that would ever be possible. Please keep these beautiful informative posts going and doing what you love x

    Reply
  68. Tara Shea on

    I do not own a farm, but my grandfather was a farmer. My grandmother has always had the most amazing cut flowers. I’ve steadily become interested in cut flowers over the years. However we travel a lot and don’t have tons of time. I really appreciated what you said about your flowers making you live in the moment. I can’t wait for your book!

    Reply
  69. Jessica Dean on

    This post really resonates with me. When starting to farm vegetables for market ten years ago I quickly got ahead of myself and being a dreamer I certainly bit of more than I could chew! Getting into growing market flowers I appreciate the reminder to keep realistic goals, start small and always take the time to grow soil Tilth. It is also so helpful to know you’re planning your flowers the same way I do my veg and that good planning is the foundation to a productive season! So much love to you and your team! Seriously, you have been my inspiration into this gorgeous flower filled adventure and I thank you so much for your knowledge and gracious sharing of that knowledge. I hope to see you soon at one of your amazing workshops, if I’m quick enough to get a spot! Xo

    Reply
  70. Bev Burton on

    Erin, Thank you for all the information you make available and in such a beautiful format. The photos are so inspiring. I know how much hard physical work goes into all the farming and would appreciate more information on machinery and equipment that you use. I live in a rural area with many large farms and lots of equipment but it’s hard to find people to do small custom jobs. I’m trying to decide if I really do need to purchase my own and if so how do I know what is adequate for a small farm with distinct seasons. Would love to know how you do it! I’m a one person operation so the more I can use equipment the better! Loved the info on landscape cloth. I have a large roll that will be put in use this year..and now I know how to get the most use out of it.

    I also would like to know if you have any tips for small woody plantings. I’m thinking honeysuckle, lilacs, “pussywillows” and currants. I get a lot of wind and am thinking these would make good windbreaks.

    Reply
  71. Lori Merrill on

    Hello! I love all the information you share with us and just received some of my seed packets today! Look forward to the growing season and your blog! Thank you, Lori

    Reply
  72. B. N. Graves on

    I can totally relate to wanting to do it ALL, RIGHT NOW! I’ve been gardening for a year now and nothing brings me out of my head and into the present like getting my hands in the dirt. I’m loving this series so much because it’s showing me that I don’t need a hundred acre farm to get started, just a bit of time and patience. I want to make growing my career but I live in a fifth wheel presently and grow exclusively out of pots (we are always on the move for work) but it’s my husband and I’s dream to have a flower and veggie farm. This series is making that dream sound more attainable. I work as a gardener in a kitchen garden for a chef and I know how to grow these things, especially zinnias- in Texas we have a nine month growing season for them- and nothing brings me joy like arranging a bouquet at the end of a long day in the dirt. Then when I come home, I work in my own garden and wonder if I’ll ever get tired of growing things. I think it’s our nature to want to grow food, to watch a speck grow into a vibrant living thing. I’m so grateful I found your blog, you are hitting everything on the head. Anything you can share is so very much appreciated! ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you!

    Reply
  73. Kerrilyn Nunnikhoven on

    Erin. And team,
    I appreciate your honesty. You have set the foundation for building a frame work, whether it is large or small regarding flowers. To me, flowers are my therapy.
    Planning is very important, and it’s important to be realistic. I was a young mother once, and when involving Babies,, and toddlers, I would have better served myself and family by scaling down everything to small. We survived, but I
    Could have been spared a lot of frustration, and being overwhelmed, if I would have
    Just recognized, no one can do it all. Thank you.

    Reply
  74. Fiona Robertson on

    Thank you for your generosity in sharing your experience, the honesty, authenticity shines through. I have enjoed your instagram posts for a long time now. Again thank you. I am getting ready to plant, just for myself for flowers in my own home and to gift bunches to friends once a month. I am low on knowledge, poor on time and high on the joy of flowers. Think I am wanting a career change into flowers… but definately starting very small in a backyard in Sydney Australia. Kindest regards

    Reply
  75. Isabelle Fortin on

    Thank you for all the useful information. I am starting a small edible flower farm. I’ve been doing research for the last 2 month. Starting small because I’m new to this, also testing the market. I just found you and am glad I did. I’m from Canada but recently moved on the island of Crete in Greece. A lot of sunshine for my delicious flowers to be!
    Thanks again.
    Isabelle

    Reply
  76. Lisa Rivera on

    Thank you thank you thank you so much for sharing this? I’ve been following your insta forever?? with dreams of having a ‘real’ flower business and we (last week) just came into some land! So my dream is here. Now. And I need all the advice???I’m so excited to get started but, really where that is, I’m a little clueless. Any other resources: books,articles,blogs..? I’d love and welcome any feedback at all from you,really,I admire your farm,business and spirit so very much. Thanks from the bottom of my heart? Lisa

    Reply
  77. dorita on

    I’m so inspired by the beauty you create! I live in a high desert altitude at 4000 ft. I’d love to grow cut flowers to decorate my home and I’m interested in knowing if it’s possible to accomplish this and how. I’m thinking of building container beds rather than planting in the ground. Would appreciate your feedback.

    Reply
  78. Marielena Parris on

    I came across your website as I looked for seeds and bulbs to plant for my wedding. This article is super helpful, we are planning a full farm to table wedding next fall at a property we just bought, we have 120 acres of blank canvas (no worries after this I’ll make sure I’ll keep the flower space manageable). I would love to attend your workshop some time but it seems you are full already :). Great to see that you not only are making this model work but thrive. Keep up the good work thanks for sharing and hope to see your farm in person some time.

    Reply
  79. Tracy Simpson on

    Hi,
    I truly enjoy your site and am looking forward to ordering and receiving and of course planting the seeds and waiting to see their beauty.
    I have always loved gardening and wait impatiently for the growth and bounty but also enjoy watching each seed sprout and turn into the
    beautiful flower, or vegetable I am impatiently waiting for. I love the feel of dirt on my hands and tilling the soil to prepare for whatever
    seed, bulb, plant I put into the earth.
    I recently have started over, bought my first house and have a blank canvas to work with, I have spent the past few weeks getting the backyard cleared and uncovered tons of river rock and am now planning my beds. I stay at home to care for my mom, but need a little something for me. I decided after scouring over your site and all the beauty, that I will start a small little home based flower business selling on the weekend at the local farmers market.
    Thank you for your inspiration and wish me luck….

    Reply
  80. Sarah Marshall on

    I am so excited to have you as a reference. I’m trying to stay optimistic as I will be growing from my urban home (but do have a nice yard) and this will be my first time to really try and produce. So I’m starting from square one and am trying to do it as right as possible from the beginning. Thank you for all of the advice and encouragement.

    Reply
  81. Leo Martinez on

    Hi I just saw your website today and was so inspired by your web page.
    I ordered some tall Allium Bulbs because they were on special, they are coming in this week of Jan. I know it is to late to plant them but is there
    any place I can keep them stored till the fall and they won’t spoil?
    I was also wondering can I try growing Allium indoors?
    Sorry I have one more question I see that some of your flower mixes are sold out, how soon until they are available again?
    thank you again for taking time in reading my email,
    my regards,
    Leo Martinez

    Reply
    • Susan King on

      Hi Leo,
      If your ground isn’t covered in snow or frozen, I wouldn’t be afraid of planting your allium sooner rather than later (as soon as soil is workable) rather than risk rot during storage over prolonged period. While fall planting is advisable, you can still plant in spring–they just may not not do much their first season–and they should be just fine. And sorry, the specially packaged collections are sold out for the season, but you can buy many of the varieties as individual packets.

  82. Lydia jackson on

    New to your blog, but am loving the honest insight, your trial and error and ultimately the successes. I’ve been a gardener for as long as I can remember and I own some acreage on Vancouver island. I am researching which direction to take it. My hands are forever in the dirt and food and flowers are my peace. Thank you for sharing it looks amazing and like a lot of sweat and blooms.

    Reply
  83. Andressa Bertaioli on

    Absolutely love your brand and your beautiful work! You made me fall in love with dahlias! And to take on the challenge (in my mind) of growing flowers from seeds. So excited to dive in this new adventure for my personal life to flourish as well as to use it in creative design for my business. My first time ever “playing with dirt” was last fall and through that experience I received so much healing. It is a beautiful thing to give the earth something that seems dead but within the right time springs up to abundant life. Thank you for dreaming big! Thank you for inspiring a multitude of people to create and celebrate beauty!

    Reply
  84. Janice Norris on

    Hi Erin, I have been dreaming of my own flower farm for about 10 years now. My plan is to starting this year, plant a trial garden to experiment with flowers I want to grow and document everything from how they handle the Alabama heat and my growing season. I will be retiring from my job in about 3-4 years and plan to go full time farmer then. I live on 15 acres and am currently plotting out 3 acres just for this endeavor. I recently ordered some seed from you and excited to see how they grow here in the South. I also have pre ordered your book and am excited to get this adventure started. Any advice would be more than welcomed…

    Reply
  85. Amanda Welch on

    Erin,
    I have followed your blog and Instagram for quite some time. I am fascinated and in awe of what you do. I love to garden and grow flowers, but I have always stuck with perennials and landscaping; but I’ve reached a plateau and I’m bored. So, thanks to you I’ve dabbled with growing annuals. I’ve even made bouquets for a dear friend’s wedding, an arrangement for an anniversary party and casual arrangements for my mom and always something for my kitchen table. You give me hope, hope that maybe this little passion or hobby of mine might someday be something . . . more. In the meantime, keep up your awesome work that inspires us to dream. That is the most wonderful gift you can give.
    ~Mandy from Wisconsin.

    Reply
  86. Ginger Whitehead on

    Thank you for the time you have dedicated to this blog! I have spent too many years thinking about flower farming. I finally have 3acres but I’m going to start with just part of one. I absolutely love your photos and they are so helpful. I commute 3hours a day 3 days a week and would like to eventually replace my income with flower sales. I love flowers and the thought of having my own flower farm is so very exciting. I really appreciate your wisdom and experience. I have many books but have learned more practical stuff in the couple of blogs you have written. I will definitely be following them all! Thank you so much.

    Reply
  87. Charlotte on

    I am in central Virginia with very different growing conditions from yours. Weeds and humidity are one of the greatest pitfalls we have to deal with. That, along with extremely acidic soil. Mine is a sandy loam, almost devoid of organic matter and a PH of 4.8! Last year I cleared between 1.5 and two acres of overgrown swamp and thriving Tulip Poplars tangled with poison ivy and briars. Once the land was cleared, leveled and drained, we tested for nutrients and PH. What a shock to learn that the land, that had been neglected and abandoned for about 30 years, held little to no organic matter. We immediately planted buckwheat and moved a flock of chickens to winter in the garden area.

    This spring we will have truck loads of organic compost hauled in. In addition, I plan to order and incorporate 8 tons of lime (spread out over 3 acres) to be followed by another 8 tons in the fall. We have 60 acres total to amend over time. But the garden calls most urgently, so that two acres will be first in line for remedial work. Much of the two acres will be devoted to vegetables; however, a 15 by 200 foot space will include my greatest love—flowers. And, your Web site and books are inspirational. I have the earlier book and will be ordering the new one.

    Your photographs are spectacular. I am particularly impressed by the height of your flowers. Is this height a function of genetics or growing conditions—hoop houses in particular? No one on line grows flowers that compare with yours. Again, you are inspirational. Thank you!

    Reply
  88. Madi Fletcher on

    I am SO GRATEFUL for your blog posts! I am just getting started with my own flower farm operation, and (sadly) the internet seems to be full of a lot of vague information that isn’t quite helpful when you need specific information. Your website has pretty much filled that gap for me! Thank you!

    Reply
  89. Kate Houssney on

    This series of posts is so helpful. I appreciate how generous you are with your wealth of knowledge and experience! I also appreciate the dose of reality you give in these posts as I do spend a lot of my time wrangling little people. ;) Thank you so much.

    Reply
  90. Suzanne Brummel on

    I live in Northern Indiana and I have always gardened for our myself and family.. perennials and vegetables. Two summers ago, I endeavored to jump into cut flowers for my daughter’s wedding with happy results! About that time I found your blog along with much inspiration! Last year’s garden I grew enough to provide flowers for different ministries (visitation and a couple events) at our church. I would love to jump into it more for profit; but I feel like I’d be taking too much on by myself. My husband helps with some of the big chores of gardening, and is very supportive, but he’s not a farmer and doesn’t have the desire to be one… he’s a busy software engineer. How did you manage rallying people together for support while you were getting started. I also have a small photography/graphics business with my daughter.. and finding it hard to ignore the flower part of it pulling at my heart. ~Suzanne Brummel

    Reply
  91. Janell Schintu on

    Hi! I am from Charleston SC and I am trying to learn all that I can in hopes of starting a small cutting garden and selling the blooms at our weekend farmer’s market. We have a long growing season here, but it can certainly get hot! I only have half an acre of land (backyard) but my goal is to sell 25- 30 bouquets each weekend from May to September. Does this seem possible? I hope to start small and work my way up to a thriving business. I am trying to understand how many plants I will need to accomplish this. I will certainly read all that you have here. Thank you for all your help!

    Reply
  92. Fiona on

    I am writing from italy where there is a lot of sun and very dry summers. As a new plant grower i am facing with many failures and adaptations but my hopes are high !
    You are very inspiring indeed !

    Reply
  93. Alma Buettell on

    Ok, you ask for it. I have grown flowers for many years and have had two good friends that we pick our seeds and they help me transplant into the flats for a portion of the flowers. This is so therapuetic for you when you are feeling over whelmed and cant get it done in one day. We visit and it shortens the task. Then I sell what flowers I can and plant the remainder.

    Reply
  94. Susanna P on

    I am loving your site from all the way over in England. Can you tell me what kind of soil you are growing on please. I have 2.5 acres to farm on but it is clay soil so i need raised beds. Can this be a viable solution? OR should i move house (wink).

    Reply
  95. Hillary on

    Your posts are so inspirational! I have a rose garden and absolutely love flowers. I’m hoping to grow a cut garden this spring. I’m so glad I came across your website. It’s magical.

    Reply
  96. Raquel Hink on

    I love your post, and your blog! All of this information is spot on and resonates so much with me too. I have an enormous passion for growing flowers and just started growing dahlias in Colorado after living in Seattle and falling head over heels with them there. I can’t wait for my copy of your book! Last year I found space to grow 16 dahlias and this year I hope to make it more like 30. I can’t wait for you to open up your tubers for sale! Thank you for your encouragement, honesty, words of profound wisdom and for taking time to share your world of beauty with the rest of us.

    Reply
  97. Cindy Gold on

    I am new to Flower Farming but grew up on a farm in Ohio not far from you. I love the smell of freshly turned dirt in the spring and look forward to planting flowers. I am not much of a vegetable gardener but LOVE growing flowers. At 62, I have worked in an office for 28 years and am looking at growing flowers as my retirement “job”. You struck a nerve when you asked why grow cut flowers. My Dad and Grandpa loved farming. I must have inherited that feeling of peace, being out in the fields and feeling closer to God – and also to them – while growing something I love. It is my Happy Place.
    I have 6 acres but 3+ for planting. I am now only using a small portion of this- being wary of how much I can handle myself my age. Your page is such a big help to guide me to the next step. I would love nothing more than to fill all 3 acres with flowers. Sunflowers, lavender those are some ideas. I have my little self serve cart and do some markets but am looking for guidance to move forward. What equipment do I need? How do I keep the weeds under control in a large area so that I am not overwhelmed?
    Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    Reply
  98. Mags Riordan on

    For years I have flittered in and out of your resources and never left a comment but now that we are expanding our business I am compelled to finally write and thank you all for this amazing resource. While I live and work in southern Ireland so much of the valuable information here can be applied to my climate etc. It has to be the best worldwide resource for flower farmers. The posts on forward planning are invaluable also flower varieties, bulbs especially dahlias. Again many thanks and please continue. I would love to see on-line workshops becoming a feature as I live in Ireland. My dream would be to attend but access to an on-line one would be the next best thing.

    Reply
  99. Susan Pelletier on

    After 35 years keeping horses we made the tough decision to find our boys a good home. I work at home and one of the pleasures was being able to look across and watch the horses out playing. I realized that I have an empty horse barn, a paddock and fields that need a new use. I became a master gardener in 2004 and have collected perrenials for year from friends, garden sales, etc. I am a great bargain hunter and also love unusual plants. Living in Vermont I have always pushed the envelope as far as planting in my zone. I have indoor plants that I have waited years to bloom and like nothing better than figuring out how to keep a bouquet fresh looking in my house for the ultimate length of time. In the summer I am out till past 9 at night weeding, checking my flowers and just enjoying after a long winter the opportunity to be outside with my flowers and shrubs. My neighbor told me about your wonderful website and I am planning a small flower and herb business for next spring and summer. We can sell our maple syrup and my cards I make from pictures I take year round and plan on contributions of organic teas, goats milk creams and vegetables for sale from a hopeful partnership wih my neighbor. As I enter my 62nd year I am delighted to finally start doing what has been decades of accumulating perrenials and growing and experimenting with annuals. I appreciate all the online resources available, have been reading The Flower Farmer and look forward to purchasing your book.

    Reply
  100. Lisa Hamrick on

    For me, the reason I have come to farming is that while I don’t know that I can change the world, I do know that I can change my piece of dirt for the better. The opportunity to be in business for myself scares the holy heck out of me, but at 53, it’s time. When figuring out what I wanted to farm, I was a little afraid at first to embrace the idea of cut flowers. But cut flowers offer the opportunity to brighten someone’s else’s day and that can even include mine! I am also looking forward to expanding my skills as a photographer while creating a pollinator garden. I am truly hoping that this new endeavor is a win-win for all – me, customers and the environment. This spring will be the first spring on my new property and I am so very excited. I think I have a good beginner’s infrastructure and am looking forward to seeing my first bloom. You have been a total inspiration and I will continue to return to your site for all of the valuable info you offer. Happy 2017 and thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  101. Eva Alexander on

    Thank you Erin for this post and hopefully the series, which I am going to read! This is very useful as I am starting a small flower farm this year after gardening for many years and experimenting with some flower growing. Trying so hard to prioritize and make sure it’s not going to be overwhelming, as I work at a perennial nursery for my day job! It’s hard when I want to trial so many things this year to help figure out what grows best in my northern Vermont old hay field, as well as having enough flowers to sell to my florist friend whose preferences my plant selections are based on. . . and for my own floral designs. I am working on my business plan and the answers to these questions will go into forming that. . . . Thank you again!

    Reply
  102. Denise Cargill on

    I have just stumbled on to your site and have been intently devouring every word. My husband & I are retiring in the coming year. We grew up as farm kids, but have lived in the “city” for the past 30 years. We are currently formulating a plan to move back to the country and have a small hobby farm in our retirement. Flower farming sounds like the perfect endeavor for me as I was once a training florist and educated as a horticulturist back in the 70s. I wasn’t able to make it my life’s work back then but it sounds like something I’d like to try in the future. I am taking in every word of advice and dreaming of my future. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  103. Jessica Kiwiet on

    Love your posts. They are so helpful and hopeful. We have a small plot and are just starting up a small flower business while working full time. Your information helps us be efficient with our time and space. Can’t wait for your book to be delivered!

    Reply
  104. Alexis on

    Love this post! It’s just what I needed to read to give me some direction… I would love to know what the best type of compost and/or other soil amendments are to start preparing a growing area and when you should apply those. How and when to use supports and the different types would be great to learn about as well. Thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge!

    Reply
  105. Judy Beck on

    I found Floret thru the owner of Plant Barn owner, Denyse. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate your presenting these six questions. I believe that I am also one of those who is constantly living and worrying about the future, reading your post helped me to understand this and why I always feel so happy and grounded in my garden. I live at 5000′ elevation in Northern CA and have about 90+ days of growing and bloom time. I would appreciate and read anything you can share on growing sweet peas, just love those little jewels. Another subject I need more information on is what and how to use supports in the flower beds. Is that square netting I see in your beds wire or plastic, and how high in the bed is it? Love your site and thank you so much for sharing information. Judy

    Reply
  106. Susan on

    I am looking forward to continuing this series of blogs. I have a specific, new area to establish as a personal source of flowers. I’m interested in the numbers and varieties I can fit into the space, including some filler vines, etc. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  107. Wendy on

    Thank you Erin. I have grown annuals & perennials from seed in the past for my own enjoyment. Now however, I need to grow them as income. Would you suggest purchasing some plugs as well as starting from seed? I don’t have a greenhouse, but will be rigging up something small to get a jump on the growing season. I am in zone 4/5 in Canada.

    Reply
  108. Zoë on

    Thank you for all the inspiring information, it gives me confidence that my dreams are not unrealistic! I will read every word on this website in the coming weeks and prepare for my mini trial next spring. And I’m getting started on some late autumn sowing in the greenhouse to start even earlier!

    Reply
  109. Jodi Truelove on

    Hi! Thank you for taking the time to blog about your experiences, it is very helpful to those of us just beginning the journey. My husband, mother and I are starting a cut flower farm on 5 acres. Our soil isn’t very good so we are trying to think of field flowers that can tolerate a fairly rocky soil (yarrow?), albeit remediated with dump truck loads of manure that we found locally. We are growing some of the standards in raised beds, planted intensively per your suggestion in another article. We got a late start this year, but did well with Zinnias and Sunflowers that bloomed all the way to Thanksgiving here in Missouri. Do you have any suggestions for poor soil or growing in raised beds? We are starting small with hope for better years down the road.

    I look forward to keeping up with your blog. Thank you again for sharing the value of your experience with the rest of us, it is a great charity.

    Jodi (Nectar Lane Gardens)

    Reply
  110. Briceland McLaughlin on

    Thank you for sharing all of your experiences! It is inspiring and has given me the confidence to move forward (although starting small) with my dreams.

    Reply
  111. Kathy Lea on

    I lived and worked in NZ. There was a very talented co-worker who once grew commercial flowers BUT felt the need to make certain the flowers were bug and blemish free. Just wondered what your impediments to sales are? Love everything about your business and your wonderful generous sharing of your knowledge and frustrations.

    Reply
  112. Lori Hernandez on

    Hi Erin,
    First of all, you are a great inspiration to our family. We have homesteaded on our 3 acre farm for the past 5 years, but finally feel ready to start a “real” farm. 2 years ago, we put a farm stand up on our corner to sell extra produce from our huge garden. Then last summer, my husband put in 700 dahlia plants, because he felt we needed more beauty in our life. Who knew we needed beauty so much?!? And so did our customers – people went wild over the flowers.

    In 2017, we are going to start a U-Cut flower farm and sell bouquets on the stand (last year, we just sold cut flowers by the stem). Women love the idea of U-Cut, especially because our farm is family friendly (we’re going to have a sand box/play area/fairy garden right in the enclosed U-Cut flower garden). Men love being able to quick swing by the stand and pick up a gorgeous bouquet (there is no florist in our town, so we fill a niche). My husband will continue working his day job while I run the farm.

    I truly think our farm will be successful – our farm is cute (complete with old 1880’s house/barn, free range chickens, goats, etc.) and only 3 miles from town, giving people a taste of the farm life just minutes from their home. Our farm is also highly visible on a highly trafficked corner, with easy access.

    My major concern is lifestyle changes. Mainly, who will do all the homesteading work that I usually do all day (we grow/preserve a lot of our own food). Who will be caring for my children while I’m working in the garden. How will we balance home life and work, when the two will be so intertwined. How will we create boundaries, so we don’t end up burned out.

    I appreciate reading your honest comments about how hard it was/is to balance life and work. This coming year will surely be an adventure! I’m trying to remember to be flexible and forgiving… and learning how to delegate! This winter will be dedicated to teaching my children how to take on many of the household/farm duties I usually manage. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking that a 10 year old and a 7 year old can manage a house and farm, but my husband and I will need to them to take over as much as humanly possible, as we’ll be busy working on the farm.

    I was truly hoping to get to meet you at the Association of Specialty Cut Flowers conference in Grand Rapids, MI (my home town!) this past November, but alas, at this point I can’t afford the membership. Maybe next year!

    Many thanks for sharing all your insights, ideas and inspirations! Know that you are making a difference in people’s lives. In our case, you gave us the gift of HOPE, and hope is a beautiful thing.

    Best wishes,
    Lori

    Reply
  113. Beth on

    Thank you, Erin, for being so open and sharing your flower world with us. I too am waxing nostalgia, planting flowers and shrubs that my Grandmother first grew. This will be my first official year cultivating the farm in which 6 generations of my ancestors have come before me, and yet I will be the first flower farmer. This year, as I listened to the Bob White sing his song, I put my hands under the warm soil, where my grandmothers dug before me, and wept into the dirt. I know, regardless of the outcome, I am doing the right thing to forge ahead into a new line of work that is all my own, tending the good earth and with any luck, feeding my family with the bounty it provides.

    Reply
  114. Diedra on

    Hi Erin, I found you thru Instagram and you are inspiring me to possibly convert my 3 acre Avocado grove in Southern California to flowers! I’ve always enjoyed gardening, and I’m researching new ways of combining my passion for flowers and succulents with an income producing crop. Water prices and foreign imports have taken its toll on the Avocado farming so I am very curious about water consumption necessary as well as best marketing strategies. Looking forward to your future posts. Ps. The insta shots you posted today looked like paintings! Photog skills are on point!! :)

    Reply
  115. Judy on

    Hi Erin,
    Love your blog and hope you continue writing. I grew a lot of dahlias last summer in my backyard. I harvested 3-4 bouquets a day plus gave away tons. How do you find a way to sell flowers when you have smaller quantities? Thanks,
    Judy

    Reply
  116. Viv Gibson on

    Hi Erin – How I love reading your blog! It is so helpful to us as we embark on our dream of starting a Flower Farm in New Zealand on a small holding of 7 acres we have just purchased. At this planning stage it seems at times that my mind is just so muddled and confused by the enormity of it. Reading this blog in particular has provided clarity and keeps me on track. I am soaking up all your valuable info and your passion resounds loudly with me. Thank you, thank you, thank you finding you has been wonderful!!

    Reply
  117. Brenda Stephens on

    At this moment in time I am not planning to grow flowers commercially but I love all of your tips and information! I have plenty of ranch land in north Texas. We are just finishing a large commercial greenhouse that we recently purchased from a retired fern grower. I have always grown lovely flowers at my home in town but never on a larger scale. It is very hot here in the summer and we are just coming out of a drought so I am very excited to try some new things at the ranch. Thank you so much for all of your beautiful photos and wisdom!

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  118. Judy Mortimer on

    Your comments and pictures have filled my soul. I hope to try out so many of your ideas but on a smaller scale. Thanks Erin and crew.

    Reply
  119. Sam Dowdle on

    I have been dabbling with growing flowers for market for several years and am planning to become a more serious grower. I look forward to learning from a successful grower!

    Reply
  120. Vivian on

    How I found your site I do not remember….but I am soooo glad I did. I live in a small community in Northern British Columbia, Canada. I have tried so many things in my garden but flowers remain my true inspiration. Weather is always my stumbling block as in my lifetime I have seen snow in every single month except July, so gardening is challenging. I so want to be sucessful but sometimes lose my desire when always competing with Mother Nature. Love your site and plan to read all you have to offer. I so wish I could come to one of your retreats and learn along with the best. Maybe one year I will be lucky enough to land a seat…
    Thanks for inspiring me everytime I come to your site for a look…

    Reply
  121. Amy Young Miller on

    THis is precisely what I needed to read today. I’ve been raising specialty veg, herbs, and edible flowers for upscale restaurants, but my heart draws me to raise more cut flowers. I don’t have lots of space, but as my littles get older (we homeschool) I have a little more time (just a little!) and I know that learning about how to grow more flowers is something I want to pursue. Your blog is a true thing of beauty. Blessings to you for sharing what you’ve learned!

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  122. Susan on

    Very helpful and food-for-thought. Thanks for your hard work and encouraging of others, your beautiful flower farm photos and the general cheeriness of your business and site.

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  123. Vickie on

    How do I catch up? I wrote your site down 3 years ago, found through the Flower Farmer Book by Lynn. Silly me, my research takes forever. But I hope to get caught up reading your blogs. This is great work, and I know of at least 4 more people I know that are loving your site. Thanks! A new Oregonian neighbor.

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  124. Vanessa Vernham on

    Thanks again so much Erin and all at team floret. I have been wanting to grow cut flowers for quite some time. With twins and a toddler also at my feet, ( now 9 and 11) and a part time paediatric nurse, time is rare. My garden,though full of weeds and on the back burner is my sanctuary. I find myself taking a few flowers to work, each time when I would rather be home pulling weeds! I love my work which is why I am still there 25yrs on. But would love to try my hand at growing cut flowers. Being in the present, as you say, is mighty helpful! I know it will be a ton of work too! We already have the farm,( hard fought for), the water, and soil which needs some improvements. Just need to assess a bit more and take the challenge! Your blog, and I know you have heard it before is one of my greatest inspirations. Along with my biggest treasure my Mum. So thank you for all that you do for others, and I wish you a joyous and happy Christmas.xxxx

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  125. Melissa on

    I am so glad that I stumbled across your website all the way from Australia. It is such a source of joy and inspiration for me!! I’d gotten to a stage in my life where I needed a sign and when I saw your flowers on Instagram it was like a lightening bolt – THIS IS IT!

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us all and inspiring others to fill this world with such beauty x

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  126. Melissa Brauneis on

    To see that you started when you had 2 very young ones gives me hope that I can make a cut flower business thrive, not without struggles and many tears I’m sure, but that it is possible. Thank you!

    This is the number one question I get when I tell family right now, that I want to make room on my almost 6 acres to start a cut flower farm. “How are you going to handle a business like that, how are you going to handle strictly the farming aspect? And where will you have the time for your kids?” I tell them, honestly, any way to get my kids outside, in nature, rain or shine, is extremely important. It’s becoming, for me, one of the most important things I can provide my children in this day and age of electronics, mega tv’s, and shows that hook you at the first scene. I need them outside. Period, and this will be one fantastic venue I hope for our family to accomplish this goal.

    Plus, I really, really, really do not want to use my degree I have and the original career I thought I wanted to do. It sucks you dry, and spits you out shattered. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I have stood there and been extremely proud to do what I have done, but they are too far and few to keep me going and leave anything left for myself and my family. I pray, doing this instead, will feed a fire of life, instead of slowly sucking it dry. (The career I am lamenting about is nursing. Sad for me, but so true.)

    Reply
  127. judy york on

    Thanks so much for all the information, encouragement, and reality check. I truly appreciate all the effort you put into this blog. I spend hours reading and absorbing all the information, not to mention the beautiful photography. I feel like I have been to growers school every time I spend time on you site. Thanks for sharing!!!!

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  128. Margaret on

    I have been dabbling with the idea of growing cut flowers for almost 2 years now: visiting farms, browsing through blogs, thinking if only I could intern or volunteer somewhere to really learn the craft and this past year I have struggled with the why can’t I just jump in and start something for Pete’s sake! After reading your post just now, I believe it has finally dawned on me what my problem is, I have been wrestling with those questions in my head but have never put them to paper or perhaps even knew what I wanted to put on paper… Thank you for your willingness to share!

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  129. Casey on

    Just stumbled upon your blog:) SO much amazing information. I’m from Wisconsin and with the colder temps, I’m not sure where to start. I’m sure you covered that and I’m still digging through your site:)
    Our little 2,000 person city doesn’t have a flower shop/florist. I’d, ideally, love to grow some at my home to sell. Working with a small budget, 3 small kiddos and a growing family and limited space, seeing as we also live within city limits. Excited to keep reading & learning:)

    Reply
  130. Tammy Fuller on

    I have been reading and enjoying your Facebook post for a few weeks. I’m in the early stages of planning my Cut Flower Farm called Fuller Senses. I have been wanting to do farming for along time but I was working so many hours and raising kids that it just was working out. So my kids are grown and my corporate job ends August 23rd. So this is my chance. I live on 7 acres and have recently ordered a hoop house. We have a ton of wind so at this point I will start in my hoops house and my garden plot for herb varieties. I have planted many Lilac bushes so looking forward for their production. Will be planting some Peonies in fall. We have planted many trees around for some wind block. We have honey bees as well so we have been planting clover the past few years so we will cut back on that and introduce more flowers. I don’t want to over burden myself to fast but I’m excited to start in my hoop house this fall. The hardest part is deciding on what to start growing. My hoop house will be 15×48, any idea on how many plants I can grow. Plus I want to start some bulbs as well in patch somewhere. So many exciting decision.

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  131. Tammy on

    I just found out about you a few hours ago and have been sucked in since. Two years ago I thought “I wonder if anyone would buy my flowers… I’m growing them all anyway…”. I threw up an ad on Craigslist with some pictures and I got 2 weddings! Now I’m looking around and seeing you and FarmGirl and wanting to learn how to really do a business of this. I can grow the flowers, I can make the bouquets, I live in a great climate (Santa Cruz County CA), I get great Yelp reviews and I love love love the delivery and my flowers being part of an event but I have no clue how to run a successful (profitable) business. And the worst part is I’m lazy to learn. You have no idea how disappointed I was to see that your upcoming workshops are sold out and you don’t take names for a waiting list! Your 6 questions are a start and I have my fingers crossed that I get more info and inspiration — and soon! I think we’re about to buy a house on about 1/3 and acre and I want it to be my bigger garden plan. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us and creating a tribe of flower people!

    Reply
  132. Anabel Trudeau on

    Hello! I just recently discovered you through Country Living’s Facebook page and now I know there are Flower Farmers who actually have small farms and all our flowers don’t come from “flower mills”! I’ve been a Pastry Chef for 32 years and I’ve owned a bakery for the last 25 years. Along with baking, I’ve always had a slight obsession with flowers and not only fill my bakery with cakes and pastries, but potted fresh flowers too because I love the way they make me feel and the way they look in the bakery! As a matter of fact, they are growing so well inside the bakery right now that I made a comment to one of my bakery clerks yesterday that owning a nursery was going to be my next business! I don’t know if I’ll actually ever be brave (or crazy) enough to start and run my own business again, but growing flowers would be at the top of my list if I did! I would love to attend one of your workshops and get a real feel for what it takes to do what you do and do it well. Your story is inspirational, and I literally thought of myself when you said you cried in a garden full of weeds. But just like baking for others, growing flowers and being around them brings not only others joy, but yourself as well! Thank you for being so good at what you do and for sharing your joys and trials with us all. Looking forward to following you on social media and finding out what it actually takes to be a flower farmer! Keep going and best wishes for continued success!

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  133. Maggie on

    I am a huge fan of you and your farm! You’re posts are always so helpful and I find myself saving them to read again! It has been a dream of mine to one day have a small scale flower farm. It is a bit overwhelming as I am just starting out, but I already love to garden and plant a large vegetable and herb garden every year. I am a firm believer that a little dirt under the nails does the soul good. I live in southern Ohio and our growing season is usually May- October. I was just wondering what you would recommend as far as what varieties that are best for the newbie? I live on a farm and we raise livestock. We pasture most of our land but around the house, we have at least 3-4 acres of good ground that is not being used. I’d love to plant a little section but don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.
    Best of luck to you and your team this season!
    Maggie

    Reply
    • Floret on

      Hi Maggie,

      You might look back on some of my past posts about what flowers to start now. The small space growing series last year also had some great suggestions from other growers. Otherwise, definitely try Zinnias, Cosmos, Amaranths, dahlias, as they will all do well in your climate and are pretty easy. Ohio flower farmers got together earlier this year and shared some of their favorite perennials for cuts, which you can view here: http://www.buckeyeblooms.com/blog/2016/2/6/highlights-from-the-2016-ohio-flower-farmer-meet-up Good luck!

  134. lbPartyka on

    I am so appreciative of the resources you provide. I am just getting started with my floral farm and need all the advise, resources and other tid bits to help make it a success.
    I have always had a passion for flowers from a very young age. I worked along side my Great Grandmother, her daughter (my Grandmother), and her daughter (my Mother). So, I have long wanted a floral garden….and have had them, small and just in my yard in the cities. But now, I have moved more to the country and have 5 acres to play with and make my dream of becoming a Floral Farmer a reality!! The thing is……I have the place, but that left me with little funds to get started with all the rest of the necessary things……my fields were farmed by regular crops, so….I believe the soil is great….at least it looks like it. But, I will still need the other necessary things like the fabric, seeds, etc. Money is tight, and I just left my job working for Len Busch Roses to get started. My other half has a great business of his own, but that pays for itself and the regular bills. So, I guess I need advice on how to start out cheaply……..is there places that I could contact to see if they would send out what I would call trial bulbs/seeds to use?? Do you know if that is a possibility??
    Sorry for the informational overload…..I am just super excited to get going and finally be able to do what I love!!
    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  135. Heather on

    How inspiring, thank you. Here in England I have in the past grow a few blooms on my allotment which have filled our house for a few weeks in the summer. Your blog is mana from heaven! I am about to leave a full time career and have for so long wanted to start a flower growing business. As we move to a warmer part of the country I might just be able to it!

    Reply
  136. Elise Stubbs on

    Just started reading your blog. I am going through what you felt like when you started enthusiasm and frustration in equal measures there is just not enough hours in the day to get everything done and give the children their time as well! Growing flowers is definitely my passion but also my monster as well! Look forward to reading on and seeing how you managed your time, I could do with a few enthusiastic helpers on board. Thanks for taking time and offering your advice. Elise Jersey Channel Islands.

    Reply
  137. andi on

    I am so happy to have found your site! Thank you for all the amazing information!
    We just bought our 40 acre bit of paradise and i am hoping to start a cut flower garden. I have had some brain injuries which have made me unable to continue my old career, but i am feeling more confident in the possibilities of starting a flower growing business! Seeing that i can start out small and take it slow and learn and expand as i go, is giving me great hope for the future! Flowers bring me great joy and i am so inspired by reading your blogs! Thank you for sharing and being so honest about what is working, and not working for you! Peace, Andi

    Reply
  138. Lindsay on

    I know this is an older post, but couldn’t sign off without telling you how much I appreciate this whole series. Last week I read of a nearby flower farm being offered for sale, and I can’t get it out if my kind. I’ve been devouring your blog and posted resources as I daydream about this place… Not now, perhaps, but maybe someday…. So thank you.

    Reply
  139. Wenda vince on

    Your generousity is appreciated by myself and so many other gardeners, thank-you! Our frost free days here in Eastern Ontario usually May 24 -Sep 15 or there abouts. I am astounded at your wonderfully organized beds! my garden is a tangled 2acres with house, trees,shrubs,perrenials,natives, bulbs and annuals that I squeeze in wherever I can! I dream of straight rows of abundance! however at 69 years OLD may not get my wish! I do love my Tangled garden! My advice to would be gardeners is just Start Growing! Thanks again for your enthusiasm!

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  140. Carlie on

    As a beginning gardener, I tend to bite off more than I can chew! Thank you for your advice and tips…keep them coming!!

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  141. Stephanie on

    Yes, this is very helpful! Please keep posting and I’ll keep reading! Thank you!

    Reply
  142. Vivian Seiler on

    Thanks for the 6 points to ponder! I started growing flowers last summer by default here in OK, one of the hardest places to grow flowers. My son 21 started a beyond organic produce production in a 7th of an acre. I added flowers on the edges for pleasure. Last year we decided to out the flowers as an option for the CSA clients and they bought them! Wow! Never expected that around here. So this year I am adding 50′ for just flowers and any edges I can carve but still keeping it small as I learn about this wonderful world. One thing my daughter mentioned to me was the “ugly names such beautiful flowers have. What is with that?” Haha! Thanks for inspiring us as we learn!
    I am sure I will think of questions for you in this journey?

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  143. Shelley on

    I have definitely gotten ahead of myself and ordered a ton of seeds this year. I just want the flowers, NOW. HA. I am trying to learn as much as possible in a very short amount of time before getting started. You are so generous with your time and knowledge, thank you! I will try to absorb as much as possible so that I can grow a little mini flower garden of my own. I can’t wait!

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  144. Madeline on

    Love this, and so looking forward to more!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and passion!!

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  145. Julie Abrera on

    I’m just digging in to these posts with my box of seeds on the desk next to me. Can’t wait to get started and start growing some wonderful things for my 2016 brides.

    Reply
  146. Carissa on

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips and experience with the world! These questions are great and made me really think about the plans I have set so far for our new flower garden. This will be our first year growing a lot of flowers for cutting – and our first Spring and Summer in our floral design business so it is reassuring to know I am on the right track with things I have already done in planning, but also so helpful to read your tips on things I hadn’t fully figured out yet. Excited to read more!

    Reply
  147. Allison on

    I LOVE your blog and find every bit helpful and encouraging! I had never considered flower farming until I was introduced to your blog, but now I have BIG DREAMS! Thank you for your honesty in this post to bring me back down to a do-able reality. Please keep writing, and it is my prayer to one day come to Floret for one of your fabulous workshops!

    Reply
  148. Madeleine on

    I started reading your blog back in the spring of 2011 as an escape from my boring desk job, day dreaming of gardening and farming! I lost track of your blog as we bought a little 1/4 acre property, babies came along and I made my way from a gardening job to a florist job and being a stay at home mom. It has been such a joy to start following it again 5 years later as I attempt my second season growing a few things for the florist I work for. It’s incredible how your farm/website/business has grown! (pun intended) It has really brought together the florist/flower growing community. Thank you for the reminder that you can’t do it all the first year, that it takes time and little steps each year. These articles are very helpful! Last year my seedlings all had little mushrooms growing with them under the grow lights, this year I’m going to try more bottom watering!

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  149. Marguerite on

    I’ve arrived a little late to the party, but I thoroughly enjoyed this post. The easiest question for me to answer is: Why do I grow flowers? For me, it is because I cannot not grow flowers! This will be my 3rd year at the farmers market, where I am trying to establish myself as a flower farmer. Your blog is very informative and inspiring.

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  150. Tricia on

    Thank you for your beautiful flowers, vision and writing! Every little word helps. I absorb it all and look forward to someday using every tidbit and tip in my gardens!

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  151. Valorie on

    This was super helpful, thank you! I love what you do and the way you do it!

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  152. Rachael on

    Thank you for this post. This will be my first year getting started growing flowers in south central PA – an addition to our 70 acre fruit and berry farm that’s been in the works for 10 years. We first started out with the intention of providing pick-your-own fruit to our client base, and this year we hope to open all varieties of fruit to the public for picking. I thought that PYO flowers would be a great addition, and an eye catcher :-) I’m super excited to dive in, and I love learning more from your blog. I’m new on here, so I’ll be spending lots of time looking around to see what other “getting started” resources you have.

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  153. Tara Douglass on

    I had to scroll for a long time to get to the comment section. I guess everyone took your ask very seriously! You really did a super job laying everything out in a straightforward way. Thank you for doing the work for us. It is important and there is also nothing wrong with supporting other flower farmers by buying their flowers for events. I did the math, and for the moment that’s the route I’m taking. I am so happy to go to Union Square in NYC every Saturday and but local flowers in bulk for my weddings and flower stand.

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  154. Cheyanne on

    My husband and I just bought a 45 acre organic farm. My mothers friend in Seattle sent me your link when I told her I wanted to farm flowers. I am 48 and changing careers with much anticipation. I have read almost all your blog posts. I look forward to each one and hope to come to one of your classes next year. Thank you for inspiring the next generations of flower growers/lovers.

    Reply
  155. Carolyn Bupp on

    Flower Farmer on the East Coast, Cross Creek Farm Glen Rock PA. I read, learn, enjoy & envy. You are where I wanted to be by now. Started 15 years ago with garden containers & wagon of cut flowers at the end of our lane. But just couldn’t manage it all. Get off to a good start every spring and like you crying in a weed patch by mid summer. This year…with your inspiration and guidance will be the year we make it work. There I said it…that wasn’t so hard. We have a lot of irons in the fire around here. I am the florist/gardener, my husband the mason/carpenter. We have a flower & farm market. My husband does hardscape and custom sheds. I do special event flowers and decorating. I announced to my husband back in 1998 that I’m going to sell cut flowers… and I was so very proud of the first $2.00 sale in my wagon coffee can. Things grew (family 3 daughters) and directions changed constantly with no real game plan or focus. These last few years met with great challenges and it is time to find and define a new starting point. Maybe even make a plan this time. Thank you for sharing all your lessons learned. Some I am very familiar with but all make me feel I’m not alone. I’ve got some catching up to do on reading but keep it coming. PS My husband does work side by side with me also…here is my biggest problem: telling a farm boy he can’t plant flowers like corn. LOL so I put him in charge of the sunflower patch. Thanks Again, Carolyn

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  156. kasseduffydesigns on

    Thank you so much for the inspiration and information. It’s greatly appreciated!!

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  157. Marta on

    Hi! I have just found your blog roll and It’s fantastic! Congratulations! I’m far away from you, writing from Seville in Spain. And although I’m a landscape architect I love flowers and my dream is to do a flower farm. I feel there is a lot to learn but I see you enjoying it so much (obvioulsy with a lot lot of work and ups & downs) but its really beautiful and inspiring. Thanks so much.

    Best wishes, Marta

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  158. Meryl Gartside on

    I am thrilled to have discovered you, your seeds, your blog, ALL of it!! Thank you for writing from the heart, and for all of the valuable information you so generously share with your readers. I am soaking it in and getting ready for the spring, which is now less than 4 weeks away!! I garden on Cape Cod where I grow flowers and donate them to a non-profit organization called Flower Angels. They make and deliver flower arrangements to people in nursing homes, hospitals and hospice care. All of their flowers are gently used flowers from weddings, memorial services, events, and grocers. Volunteers take these (often) oversized floral arrangements and make new bouquets that are delivered all over Cape Cod. I decided to be the first person to grow fresh flowers and donate them for their arrangements. I devoted about half of our 20’X40′ community garden plot to growing cut flowers. I also started a cut flower garden in our Master Gardener children’s teaching garden and the children donated most of these flowers too. I can’t wait to receive your seeds and get growing. Thank you again for being a fantastic inspiration!!

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  159. Janna on

    I am a habitual blog lurker! But because I love reading your blog and all your other media, I thought it would only be right to leave a little note. I have been growing vegetables for a few years, with some success. We live in a very shady two acres just north of Raleigh, NC. We try to nourish our gardens well, and they do produce, but the lack of great sun slows the process down quite a bit. Now I’ve got a bag of Floret seeds waiting for me to design their space, and I’m both excited and intimidated. I’m reading through the series to get motivated and a bit more educated. Thank you, thank you, thank you for providing such a wonderful resource!

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  160. Heather on

    I’m brand new to gardening, but I’ve had a passion for flowers for as long as I can remember. I’m a new mom of a baby and a toddler and I’ve decided not to return to work, but instead, homeschool my children. Discovering you and your blog has given me a realistic hope that I can have the life I’ve dreamed of. Thank you so much for being so generous and sharing your experiences. I owe you so much already!

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  161. Elsa Bell on

    Extremely interesting and useful post! Gives me a great information about how to start gardening and to do it in a right way. Thanks a lot for sharing!!

    Reply
  162. Sarah rogers on

    you are such a talent and guiding light! I am just beginning the planning stages to get my little paddock of land, in Australia, to be floret flowers when it grows up. I’m considering your blog full of amazing knowledge, passion and gorgeous images my online flower school. I love to learn and I devour anything I can find on the subject in point. Thank you for being so gracious and kind sharing such knowledge.

    Reply
  163. Virginia on

    Oh how I love your story, your passion for flowers, and your hard work and willingness to share all the details of the ‘how to’ with newbies like me. I just stumbled across your blog a week ago, and it seems like every spare minute I am back reading your posts. As a Momma of 4 kiddos (13 yrs, 12 yrs, 10 yrs and 9yrs old) I have a busy plate, but long to help contribute to my family. Flowers are a passion of mine, they are my therapy (partially because they don’t talk back!) and I feel this would be a wonderful way to start up perhaps a little roadside stand (or help supplement the stand belonging to the elderly lady down the road who only sells dahlias). I’m in the Wilammete Valley, south of Portland, OR and as I read your story and your ‘how to’s’ I feel this tug deep down that gives me hope that this is something I could actually see myself doing. Thank you, thank you for sharing all your nuggets of wisdom, and things you’ve learned along the way. I’m daring to hope, and anxious to keep reading your posts and to go out and turn up my soil!!! :)

    Reply
  164. Heather on

    Such wonderful posts! I can relate to the ‘crying in the garden’ days. It can be hard to balance and in the luxury of late winter downtime I find myself overestimating the amount of time I can dedicate to spring and summer gardening. This will be my first year building a flower garden in two 25′ x 10′ beds. I want to use perennial and annuals, and start from seed. The challenge I’m having now is deciding when and how many seeds to start indoors, what is best sow directly, etc. One tip that I have is planning seed purchases and waiting as long as possible before ordering. The wait time helps me weed out the impulse items I added to the list.

    Your posts challenge me to think through these things and be realistic.

    Reply
  165. Erica on

    Thank you for sharing your hugely helpful insights and experience. I live in Italy and have been thinking about starting my own cut flower farm for e few years and it looks like the time is ripening… Your articles have been an encouraging place to come back to again and again!! grazieeeeee!!!

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  166. Anna on

    Thanks so much for sharing- so much information and helpful advice in one article! Your posts are so real and down to earth. I feel really inspired that you had days crying over weeds and managed to start your own business in between time with your babies. I’ve just started trying to grow cut flowers and the day your article came in I was feeling so discouraged and over whelmed! But now thanks to you I feel I can still do it! :)

    Reply
  167. Mona Gabriel on

    I love reading your helpful blog…I garden in the deep south..Georgia..where it is hot and humid. I envy your climate but I have always grown flowers even in my hot and humid Georgia…
    thanks for your gardening wisdom..
    Love,
    Mona

    Reply
  168. Rachel on

    Hi Erin!

    I’m loving this series of posts. They’re truly so helpful – I’ve been taking notes on so many things! I’ve been following (lurking) for a long time and I appreciate everything you post about how to plan, tips for growing, different varieties, and floral arranging! I grow and arrange flowers for my own therapy mostly, but I dream of one day doing it for an income! I’m pretty proud of the variety and bounty I’ve eeked out of my urban 1/16-acre lot, most of which is shaded and covered in driveway. I ordered some Floret seeds this year and I can’t wait to get my paws on their mature blooms a few months from now.

    Reply
    • Sarah on

      Hi Erin and thanks for this post–I never thought about charting the growing period so that was really helpful. Also, thanks to my buddy Rachel, for sending this post my way.

      I garden as a creative outlet and like to harvest both flowers and vegetables so I don’t have to buy them. Also because fresh cut flowers are such a great luxury to enjoy inside the home and I have so much fun making arrangements. I hope that my garden can help to increase biodiversity in my backyard and provide a food source for birds, bees and butterflies. I also want to reduce my reliance on imported flowers because I worry about how the workers that gather those flowers are treated after watching the movie, Maria Full of Grace, like 10 times.

      I appreciate your resources and generous sharing of them!

  169. Rach on

    I sit in a cubicle all day, looking out the window dreaming of working outside, growing up on a farm doesn’t seem so bad anymore. I stumbled upon your page and found a new hope that I could have that someday. So I have been dreaming BIG for a few months now, I was going to do this! This post definitely put things in a better perspective. Still dreaming, but maybe not so big of a rush. I will just start with flowers for me ;) So thank you, I am sure my husband thanks you too!

    Reply
  170. Kate on

    Hi Erin – I have a pretty small backyard. Only get full sun in parts of the garden mid-summer, the rest of the time it is part shade. Because it gets so hot and humid here in Saint Louis City (Zone 6A/B), plus the garden is small and fenced in, I get a lot of powdery mildew, too. Full shade plants scorch mid-summer. I know flowers are tough with part shade, but I look forward to your recommendations.

    Reply
  171. Anna on

    Love these posts!! So helpful! I live in a pretty arid climate zone which I haven’t grown up in and am starting to plant flowers to see if a farm is worth considering. I have a background in soil science, but there truly is an immense amount of knowledge to gain from those farming in similar regions or zones. Do you know of any mentoring farms or farmers?

    Reply
  172. Barb Neubauer on

    Your gardens are very impressive. I am new to your site & have enjoyed reading the blogs. I live in eastern Washington with approx 2 1/2 acres avail. In about 10 yrs I will be retiring so my husband & I are starting to research the possibilities of what to do with the land & our time. We are avid gardeners but nothing really organized. Your words of wisdom regarding watering/drip systems, etc would be appreciated. Also, hoop houses…do you make your own? Thanks for advice!

    Reply
  173. Danielle on

    This post is very helpful! I just bought a house and am starting to wade into “what to plant” territory. Thank you!

    Reply
  174. Marilyn on

    Hi Erin, your information was extremely helpful, thank you for sharing what you have learned! We have been growing for a few years but I still work full time in another profession, so it is a challenge but you have inspired me. I just can’t stop growing! The information about spacing and succession planting was especially helpful. Hope you have a great year! Marilyn

    Reply
  175. Rosanna on

    First off Erin I want you to know that you are truly amazing and so darn inspiring!! Your passion just oozes out of every article!
    I own my own flower shop in Rhode Island for over 15 years. I would like to grow some of my own flowers as well. What kinds of cut flowers would you suggest I start with?
    I thank you in advance!

    Reply
  176. Christi on

    Wow! I am so excited to have found you, and to read these posts! We live in an old farmhouse in town (it used to be in the country when it was built in early 1900’s). I have a kitchen garden, which I love and have grown a row (or sometimes two) of flowers along with my veggies, because I love to clip them and bring them inside. Because of the age of our home/property we have a lot of large trees. Of course, this is really great, and gives us a lot of wonderful shade here in Texas… but can be a challenge for needing sunlight hours on the garden. There lies the difficulty of growing flowers for me.

    We recently bought a little fixer upper right across the street from our house. It sits on a very unique lot… quite a large piece of land for an in-town property… a few big trees, mostly open and a creek turned culvert that runs through the back side. We may want to build some sort of pretty multipurpose barn type structure at some point, but for now I thought it would be the perfect spot to grow flowers!

    I’m sorry this is so lengthy…but I am so very excited to read and learn! Thank you so much for all the time you have put into these posts. I am eagerly looking forward to sitting each evening and reading your words of wisdom!

    Christi
    Texas

    Reply
  177. Casie on

    I first read about floret in Martha Stewart’s magazine awhile back, and it was quite a timely article because at that time the idea of a flower cutting garden was swimming around in my head. It’s becoming a reality but I am so new at all of this. I admire your work SO much and am grateful for any insights you can share! Thank you for these articles!

    Reply
  178. Hope on

    Erin! You are such an inspiration! I am starting my own small flower farm in NJ on my parents property and I am so nervous/ excited! You are my business inspiration and it is so nice to feel your support to other farmer florists every step of the way!

    Reply
  179. Chris on

    I am on the opposite end of the age spectrum, in my late 50’s. We bought 30 acres in Brenham, Tx which gets very hot in the summer. I have allotted a couple of acres for a garden and flowers and am interested in which flowers can survive Texas heat.

    Reply
  180. Carla Housley on

    I love the article! Love the pictures of all the flowers. After reading and seeing all of the responces…. I think you will need more than just a little time to read and respond. I was lucky enough to have won a calender when I ordered my seeds and bulbs from an Instagram post. You were added to the favorites as soon as i saw the beauty of your flowers! Huge Oklahoma fan here….

    Reply
  181. Louise on

    Thank you for your words. You have provided much food for thought. All the way from New Zealand. :)

    Reply
  182. Nicole Tone on

    Your posts are of huge inspiration to me as someone who was born and raised in a large city (Chicago, IL) where space for gardening in general is extremely limited. I have always dreamed of farm life, where I could persue a more sustainable way of living with plants and animals. I have long wanted to transfer my creative background into floral design and combine it with my farm dreams, but this has always been a scary prospect to me since I am relatively young with little money and no clue how where to start. Reading your story and seeing all the other people commenting here makes me feel incredible, and it helps me cope with being stuck in the city for now. It helps me realize that having these dreams and goals are good, but not everything needs to be accomplished RIGHT NOW. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts, thank you so much for being so open and candid about your experiences!

    Reply
  183. jacin on

    I can’t thank you enough for the time and effort you’ve put into your resources on your website and the cards that came with my seedlings. We live in zone 8 (north of Atlanta) and our summers are hot hot hot but I’ve been reading up on the proper care for the seedlings we’ve started and can’t wait to see how everything turns out!

    Reply
  184. Heather on

    I work full-time plus, and I would like to focus on sweet peas. I have tried to get bucket loads in the past, and it has only happened once. Our climate is particularly suited to sweet peas I think (Atlantic Canada).

    If you have any tips on setting up an economical irrigation solution, I am all ears!!

    Reply
  185. Molly on

    We have a fairly big home garden and full time (or more) jobs. But can’t eat all the veggies it produces. So a few years ago we started trading out veggies for flowers. We’ve even been able to plan for and produce buckets of flowers for a few friends weddings.
    So, I can appreciate how much effort it takes to do it on a scale like yours.
    We just need help in organizing and learn how to even out the work load. Instead of four overwhelming garden events…planting, weeding, weeding, and picking.
    So, we are thrilled to try some of your varieties, love the calendar completely, and can’t wait to see, in depth, how you make your farm work.
    Your blog blizzard is going above and beyond, and completely inspiring! You give me hope that the good guys finish first. Thank you!

    Reply
  186. Jennifer Adkins on

    Please correct spelling in earlier comment…..should read “Eastern”, Ky.,…..lets not add to the stereotype, stupid autocorrect :)

    Reply
  187. Christina on

    Hi Erin. I was so excited to sit down and dig into your February Blog Blizzard series. You never cease to amaze me in the cleverness of your sharing and your ability to create community. I think I have read back through most of your blog post and will often do a search when I have question- so this is a great resource and gift to many. Thank you. My current interest are rose planting (amendments and technique), harvesting and care.

    Reply
  188. Erin on

    Hi Erin!
    You are always inspiring, but you totally hit home with this post. I started growing flowers in earnest last year after watching a friend grow zinnias. My amazing husband and that dear friend helped me plant and grow over 600 row feet of zinnias to give away- friends, neighbors, nursing homes, fast food drive throughs, you name the place, we gave them flowers! It was amazingly fun, but I am a stay at home mom of 3 littles all under the age of 5. At times I would get so frustrated at the lack of time to spend in the garden. However, I ‘m so grateful for these babies and know they come first. So glad to hear from someone on the other side if the diapers! This year, we are branching out and trying more varities (and succession planting). You are such an inspiration and a happy place on the web! Thank you-for everything. You bring a smile to my face each and every time I read your blog. Cannot wait for your book! Sending a big hug to you and all the Floret crew!

    Reply
  189. Natanya P. Enchanted Oaks on

    This post was so helpful! I am currently on the way to interview my local florists to see what feedback I can get. Your questions really hit home and echoed my own feelings and thoughts. I am interested in expanding past my own personal flower usage, but want to make sure there’s a demand. At the encouragement of family and friends I am taking a huge step and your posts have really solidified my quest! Thank you! ♡♡♡

    Reply
  190. Jackie on

    I have a farm and was hesitant to read this ‘beginner’ post. But, as always, glad I did! I appreciate the section about ‘How much time and energy do you have?’ and also the bit about the year you first expanded to 2 acres (again, a ‘time and energy’ thing). I look forward to hearing more about time management with young children!

    Reply
  191. Brittany G. on

    Love reading the blog posts! I’m a personal home gardener. I like to Mix my cutting flowers into my regular beds but I’d like to start a cutting only garden now that we’re moving to a house with more acreage.

    Thanks for all the good tips! Now I just have to figure out this whole water drip system that you mentioned for my dahlias.

    Reply
  192. Lauren on

    This is so spot on! We can all drool over your pictures and order away thinking we will grow the same gorgeous blooms wherever we are, but the issues you raise are so important. I love having cut flowers but right now my veggies take up most of my space. I will tuck these where I can but really, where are they all going to go? Can’t wait to dig in and do the prep work, including measuring space, amending soil, and timing the plantings. Taking the time to plan now will eliminate the risk of disappointment in six months. Thank you for opening up about your journey and sharing it with us. The time you take to write and share means someone you will never meet is going to bed on this cold February night dreaming about walking out into a summer dusk to take pictures of your lovely flowers’ descendants growing in their backyard and hope they look, smell and feel as beautiful as your pictures promise. Keep spreading the joy!

    Reply
  193. Paige on

    Thank you so much for posting! My fiance and I will be planting an acre of cut flowers this year, and your posts, site and farm are incredibly appreciated and inspiring!

    Reply
  194. Tina on

    Thank you so much for the information and experience you are sharing.
    I am gardening in the Netherlands. I am growing flowers for several years but still learning :-)This coming season I am renting some more space just for experimenting with new sorts.

    Reply
  195. Carrie on

    Like everyone else, I want to THANK YOU for your generosity of time, and sharing your knowledge! I am just starting out so I have been pouring over books and everything I can find on your sight. We bought a quaint property out in the country near Vancouver, WA last summer that looks like it belongs in a Country Living magazine (kudos to the previous owners and all of their hard work!) We have about 3 acres that slope, but the bottom acre is relatively flat. I’m not sure if we’ll end up terracing or what, but we have enough flat space to get started. Is a half an acre too ambitious for a beginner? I am an artist (oil painter), who has had to put the paintbrushes on the shelves as I’ve been raising my three small children. I have always loved gardening, but realize my flowers are always my best crop, because I give them the most TLC. The artist in me just loves to grow them for beauty’s sake, and to share that beauty with others. In the last couple of years cancer has touched our small family (but we are in remission!) and as a stay-at-home mom, I am motivated to help bring in some extra needed income. It’s been great to be reminded by seasoned veterans like you to start small and let your business grow. (I almost always bite off more than I can chew). I would love to see more information about planting schedules, which plantings can be staggered, which types of flowers should be grown in larger quantities to have a well rounded, profitable variety on your farm. Other information that would be helpful is the marketing of flowers. How do you approach florists or grocery store chains? How do you talk pricing when you are a begginer and have NO CLUE. I am super intimidated by this. I would love to take a workshop but by the time I discovered you, they were full for this upcoming year. I will be eagerly awaiting the chance to register for next years’ workshops! Thank you, again for all the helpful info and gorgeous, inspiring photos to drool over! I might just have to bust back out those paints ; ).

    Reply
  196. Sarah on

    Hi Erin! I’m a floral designer from Maine and have been dreaming of growing for a long time. Your blog has been very informative and inspiring…so many things have hit home for me! I left my job as a designer to be a full time stay at home mom for a few years. This list will be a perfect starting point for getting my thoughts and capabilities in line for future growing. My one struggle remaining is “when”. I am currently thinking I will try out a few different seeds each year for the next few years to start getting my hands into it and then once my daughters are in school I can go full scale. This is hard as part of me wants to just dive in and, like you, do it ALL right NOW. Any advice on how slow or fast to get started? Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to our comments…I don’t know how you get it all done!

    Reply
  197. Amanda on

    Keep going Erin!!!! You are on the right track! Keep writing. This is gold!!!

    Sincerely,
    Amanda (mom of two boys and a weedy garden)

    Reply
  198. Carly on

    Cheers to all that is spring planning and the perpetual optimism this time of year holds for growers?
    On a personal note I so appreciate the reminders and tips for effective planning (both physical bed mapping as well as successive planting schedules)–trying to improve on that end so I always appreciate the advice and observations you share.
    Also, you’re prompt to think about why we grow flowers—I’m sure we all would be well served to really consider this (soul consider as well as business consider!) and when I cone up with a succinct answer on that one you better believe it’s getting tacked up on the workshop wall. So important to remember when overwhelmed by August heat and chaos.
    Lastly, always appreciate advice on season extention here in still snow covered Montana
    Thank you for sharing and for growing this community of growers/designers.

    Reply
  199. Sally on

    lurking. enjoying. keep going.

    Reply
  200. Kristen on

    I have a quick question about what kind of containers you can use for arrangements. In your resources section of this website you show how to make a beautiful arrangement using an old tin can. Should a person worry about lining it with something so the water doesn’t get rusty? Does that affect the water quality at all? Same with any sort of wood container. I have a bunch of wooden containers I could use but I am afraid of either ruining the container or making the water really gross and affecting the vase life of the flowers. Do you know of a product or way to line different shapes and sizes of containers to avoid any damage to the flowers or the container. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Floret on

      You can tuck plastic liners into metal containers or wooden containers–or any vessel that otherwise isn’t water tight. Re-using clean yogurt tubs or various sizes of deli containers can work great for this!

  201. Frances on

    Thanks for blogging on this subject! Here in Cincinnati we have a wonderful climate for peonies and dahlias. I look forward to your future posts. AND I love your Instagram pictures!!!

    Reply
  202. Xenia on

    Thank you for sharing your time and information with us. I look forward to more.

    Reply
  203. Sarah Barkhouse on

    Hi Erin,
    I’m always so taken aback by how openly and generously you share your experience with us all! Thank You so very much!
    This makes my 10th year as a flower farmer and 5th season running my own cut-flower farm. I ask myself and answer the questions you posed practically every day… but I live in denial of the truth until June 1st hits. It’s usually at that point have a temporary breakdown because of how overwhelmed I am! My partner and I each have full time jobs along with raising our pre-school daughter and toddler son (sound familiar?!)but nevertheless, I continue to make big plans each year- grow more, take on more weddings, new accounts etc… The pull is too strong and the income is so neccessary.
    The thing I struggle with the most is like you said about not having to do it all Right Now. Having started a small-scale successful business, there’s the fear that any loosening of the reigns and all of my hard work will slip away, never to come back! Even though our life is insane 7 months of the year (bed at midnight, no time for decent meals, cleaning house or quality family time), I still feel like I have to try because if this ins’t my time, I’m scared there will never BE another time. (I’m pretty sure I’m giving you the textbook definition of ‘insanity’ right now! Ugg.) I would love to hear your thoughts on how you decided to “go-big” verse scaling down to fit with you time contraints and family life. Each year I feel like I come closer to having to choose between trying to make the flower farm my full-time work or cutting it back to be more of a “hobby” and accepting my place in the 9-5.
    ~Sarah

    Reply
  204. Marzy on

    Yes, there are lots of comments here, but you asked for them so here we go. I am a avid follower of your writings. They are so informative and delightful to read. So honest….but in regards to this specific post, it is wonderful and to the point. You have listed real concerns that real people need to think about before getting started. So basic and realistic! Thanks……….M

    Reply
  205. Cate on

    I am a hobby gardener, just growing flowers for my own home & pleasure. My sunniest small plot gets direct southern sun all day, abuts the house and gets quite hot (zone 6). When I first started I planted too many perennials there (and spent too much money doing it) but over the last couple of years I’ve discovered that a few dollars of seeds fills up that space much better with zinneas, sunflowers, cosmos and a few other gems. I’m going to venture into more dahlias this year as well. Thanks for your lovely blog, photos & inspiration!

    Reply
  206. Faith Anne Pitts on

    I am excited to learn from this series! I am hoping to have some home grown blooms to be able to use in my floral business.

    I ordered a bunch of your seeds (I was so excited!) without answering most of the questions below. I’m totally intimidated and they are still sitting in their packets on my kitchen counter. I live in Texas where it gets HOT and have a mostly shaded backyard that is overrun by rambunctious retrievers. They have trampled most of our landscaping. I think to be able to have any luck I am going to have to start with some pots that the dogs can’t trample and that I can move from the sun to the shade when the days get over 100 degrees.

    I am a total newbie so I am excited to learn from all of your knowledge! Thank you for sharing! :)

    Reply
  207. Madeline on

    Time and Energy!! I know that most of your followers are young women with children at home. My husband and I are in our early sixties and starting our 4th season on a half acre in Pennsylvania. Our weekly customers are 2 florists, a specialty food store, one farmers market and a restaurant (we trade 2 large arrangements for delicious French pastries). One thing that we need to be conscious of is how far we can push ourselves without doing harm. In spring and fall we can spend the whole day in the flower beds. But, when summer heat and humidity hit, we’ve learned to scale back to just 2-3 hours. Even if it means letting the weeds grow. Knowing our physical limits is so important; and hiring some young people to help sometimes works too!

    Reply
  208. Karin on

    Holy cow look at all of these comments!

    First I’ll start with a mini question that’s more curiosity than anything. What’s the first farm thing you do when you wake up? Basically you have one thing that you seem to do every day no matter what? I feel that it would be the equivalent of asking what morning habits highly successful farmers have to best get started or motivate themselves to move on with the day and not dally around. (I may or may not be inclined to dilly dally over things to avoid freezing in the dark morning outside and may or may not need a way to fix that -wink, wink.)

    Okay, here’s my biggest question: Expansion.

    You already covered it on the Design Sponge series, but I am planning a lot of volume, it’s coming! I don’t know how much help plan for when I hire, or the “best personality types” for certain field jobs. I have always been a one woman show. I think a great lesson would be seeing a “mock schedule” of how many people it would take to run two days from cut to delivery and their roles ( what kind of volume that would cover -xx bunches xx stores). It’s a tall order to request.

    Maybe a simpler question to start with would be: For what tasks do you hire others and what jobs can you handle yourself without being overloaded? Mostly in regards to field work.

    Side Note: I am not yet overloaded with paperwork now, only because I let some other time consuming projects go for the moment. I will eventually need a wonderful back office crew like you have. If I do I will do a happy dance because that’s a milestone in itself to need that kind of help!
    :D Also, my own “Copter Chris” has a full time job right now as Chris once did, so I cannot really include him in my daily routine either. Bummer. I want my awesome guy by my side too!

    XO Erin
    and… it may take me a week to go through and learn from the previous comments and your answers. I hope this isn’t a repeat question.

    Reply
    • allison on

      amazing questions!!!! I second all of this!

  209. Elizabeth on

    You are absolutely on the right track! Growing flowers from seed for me is kind of like making a pie crust from scratch – very intimidating. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series and I thank you for taking the time to teach us.

    Reply
  210. Kelley Simmons on

    hi,
    I am super thrilled with this post! I live in Maine and decided to spend a year exploring and teaching myself growing flowers from seed….if I can manage it and love it then I’ll branch out into flower farming “for real.
    As the mom of a 3 and 4 yr old I loved the point about time and how to manage everything (looking forward to that post :-)
    thanks again for the wealth of knowledge….
    Kelley

    Reply
  211. laurie on

    Great questions! Last year I went from a little pretty cottage garden where I would wander through and pick pretty little flowers to a productive intensive garden. What I found hard was the difference between picking beautiful little bouquets where imperfection is okay to picking masses upon masses of sweet peas and just chucking the imperfect ones on the ground. The beauty of one plant versus a hundred is a bit of mind shift.
    You have such a great site. Thank you so much for sharing!
    L

    Reply
  212. Emily on

    I found you and your site just in time! I am a young farmer starting out on new land. We have a little over 1.5 acres and a nice patch that gets ample sunlight for flowers. My partner will be focusing on the organic vegetable operation, and I am looking to take on flowers galore! We will be selling at a local farmer’s market and hopefully to some of the restaurants and other retailers in our area (Hudson Valley). I am very new to flowers. But, I am very enthusiastic about them, and I have a bit of experience making bouquets and arrangements. I have spent the past week compiling a seed order for the flowers that I am in the process of refining. I do hope to order some seed from you as well. This series of posts sounds like it will be perfect for me, and I am so grateful that you are taking the time to share all of our your knowledge with the world wide web!

    Reply
  213. Anna on

    Thank you so much for this post! Can’t wait for all the next ones!
    I am a mom of a toddler and another in the way (in June- figures, huh?) in Northern Virginia, and while I have little experience in gardening I’ve just chosen this year as my year to dive into growing my own cutting garden in my (fortunately) super-long front yard. We will see how it goes! I’ve been crazy drawn to flower farming for a while now and I just can’t shake it- I HAVE to do this! I’m aware though that the hardest part for me, like a lot of other commenters on here, is the time and energy problem especially while dealing with little ones. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on that.

    Reply
  214. Shannon on

    Thank you for so generously sharing all of your knowledge. It is, quite frankly, a breathe of fresh air.
    As a first generation farmer for nearly 23 years, I would love to know how you find the time to do all that needs to be done on your farm? Something I have always struggled with as there only are so many hours in a day…

    Reply
  215. Andrea Heffernan on

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart, soul, and hard-earned insight with us! I moved from LA to just outside of Portland with a small farm and have dreamed of growing flowers in abundance! I also have 4 kids ages 8, 6, 3, and 1, whom I homeschool, making those dreams difficult to realize. So much of me feels like I need to do this NOW, and I know I physically can’t because of lack of time and energy. I remember reading that you Homeschooled and I wonder how did you do it? Is it something I should just hold off on them to avoid those tear-filled sessions among the weedy flower beds?? But, the flowers call!

    Thank you, again! You and your team are amazing!

    Reply
  216. Heather Korger on

    I’m so excited for this!! I’ve always loved flowers and I can’t wait to put this into to use this spring. By the way, I have a 2 year old daughter named Erin ❤ It’s such a beautiful name.

    Reply
  217. Joy Alberts on

    Erin- I just recently discovered Floret and am just smitten! You have tons of comments to read so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Our seeds are sitting on my kitchen table and I can’t wait to get them started, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    Reply
  218. mclean.joanna on

    Eeek! I’m so excited! Ive been so tempted to start my own mini cut flower farm in our backyard but have needed guidance. I have a toddler and preschooler so was very encouraging to read that you started as a young mom too! I secretly want to be in the business of flowers but have no idea how that idea will ever come to fruition:) Anyway, I live in central California where it is very hot especially considering our yard has very little shade. I need help finding flowers that like a lot of hot sun and not a lot of water. I look forward to your posts. Thanks so much for a very timely topic in my life that is close to my heart!

    Reply
  219. allison on

    Sweet Erin!
    Thank you again for being so willing to open up and share with the community of fellow flower lovers! I feel like I need to constantly return to the why of what I do, remembering the “north star” of my purpose and vision. This article was a gentle reminder…What I do, what we all do, is unique in that we all bring our own personal signature to our own brand of flower stories. . Instead of getting bogged down with comparison and envy, I remind myself to continually choose the joy and ” why” of what I do and giving voice to what makes my heart beat a little faster. You seem to offer a beautiful reset and a gentle reminder that we all share a love of returning to nature. No matter if it’s 2 acres, 20 acres of a few pots on the back deck….there’s a power in the beauty of being able to grow things and I feel lucky to be on of many stewards of the soil.

    Reply
  220. Madelene Sutton on

    Hi, Im reading this from Australia, and all the questions you ask are exactly perfect for me right now. I know I need to sort the water, we are on 10 acres but I still need to remind myself of this. I have the first section of paddock fenced off to start with shelter trees and then eventually native shrubs & bushes and finally flowers and vegetables over the next couple of years.
    Love your work and now I will endeavour to read more often. I definitely would like to buy seeds, although I know I can get seeds here.
    We are in central Victoria. Clear four seasons. 800m above sea level. Average 900mm rain annually. Frost prevelant! Summers can get quite hot. Pourous Volcanic Soil.
    Great Potato growing country, vineyards etc

    Reply
  221. Denise on

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m finally getting better at keeping things alive after years of having a black thumb, and this post is so very helpful.

    Reply
  222. Kim on

    Taking time to think of my wants and needs this year and this came to me in perfect timing.
    I have followed your little tidbits and have been successful however..time…
    My dream as always is to someday grow everything I need for a full time studio or retail shop.
    You are an inspiration. Love this post!

    Reply
  223. Mindi Bruckhart on

    Erin,
    I’m so excited to read your upcoming blog posts. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into it! Last year was my first year growing cut flowers and selling arrangements! I consider you a mentor and a friend. Thanks for sharing!!
    Mindi

    Reply
  224. Shelly on

    Appreciate you so much! Thank you for this list of questions to help me focus during this off-season time of year when I am feeling a little lost. Trying to decide what and when to plant but feeling nervous that plans will fall short of hopes. This list is helping me set some things aside and set some realistic goals. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  225. Helen on

    Erin et.al.,

    Thank you x a million for this series – can’t wait! Just one request – will you make sure to write in specific, relative terms about sowing and transplanting (i.e., 2 weeks before last frost instead of “in April”) so we can translate your knowledge to our zones? Thanks so much forever and ever.

    Reply
  226. Maureen on

    Thank you Erin! I look forward to more information about the soil, raised beds and irrigation. This will be my first year of growing and I have being reading and planning. I have 1 acre available for planting this year, but I may plant less. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I am looking forward to attending the Farming Intensive course in September.

    Reply
  227. Carla on

    Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge. I’ve been a home flower gardener for a long time but only began to grow specifically for cutting in the last couple of years. I’ve recently retired and I’m looking forward to devoting even more time to my cutting garden. Your own story has inspired me to grow and share my bouquets with others! I love your design style and I’m looking forward to the book you are writing. “Fresh from the Field Wedding Flowers” was instrumental in showing me how to create the bouquets, bouts and table arrangements I made for my daughter’s wedding. Your series of February posts is very exciting! Thanks!

    Reply
  228. Ginny on

    Erin, I have been following you for the past year and you are truly an inspiration! I am a self-employed horticulturist and have been for 35 years, but always working as a personal gardener for other people. After raising 3 children on my own, restoring a 105 year old farmhouse, and with 10 acres of land I have bought, I am going to grow flowers for weddings, seasonal bouquets and however else I can sell them. This is my “retirement” job. We have a long growing season here in Zone 8 but incredible heat in the summer months! I would love to one day attend one of your workshops and meet you. Please continue to write, uplift and inspire!

    Reply
  229. Ann on

    If you could comment on what I harvest from season to season and how to appropriately store that as well, I would really appreciate it!

    Reply
  230. Ann on

    I’m wondering about the viability of seed from a previous season? What is the best way to store your leftovers? Not speaking so much of things I harvest myself , but seed packets purchased elsewhere. Is it foolish to place too much time energy and space into their reproduction? Thanks!

    Reply
  231. Kirstie on

    Hi Erin.

    <>

    I, Kirstie, am a lurker.

    I love your blog Erin and am really looking forward to more of these posts. I have a teeny tiny garden (which currently looks more like a building site) and I’m thinking of trying to grow a couple of interesting varieties in tubs this year to supplement my floral designs. I’m in the South West of England and lucky to have a few really great flower growers locally so there’s no pressure to get it perfect this year but I’d really like to give something a go!

    I find it really hard to find nice vines from the market and from my local growers so I’m thinking of trying cup and saucer vine – Suzanne of the Blue Carrot gave me a baby one last year but I was very naughty and neglected it. If you have any suggestions for things to try in tubs, that would be wonderful, I’m also planning to plant some larger shrubs so any suggestions for pretty foliage would be very gratefully received.

    You are an inspiration Erin.

    Kirstie
    x

    Reply
  232. Lauren on

    Hi Erin! I loved this list of questions–thank you for putting them together, and for always being so generous with your knowledge. I know I’m reitierating everyone else when I say that you are an inspiration, but it’s true! I started gardening with my Grandma, and then my Dad, and now I have my own, where I was very slowly exploring new flower varieties and what might work for my yard–but ever since I discovered your blog two years ago it’s been a rapid shift into becoming a crazy flower lady (and in my early twenties, no less!). The things I think I would like to hear more about are timing of flowers–how to succession plant well, so that there aren’t big gaps of dying plants and babies, and what to plant over what (I get stuck on whether or not it’s okay to plant over bulbs/anenomes/etc.). I would also like to hear more about–if you ever think about it–what plants are both beautiful and serve our pollinators! I have a great wildflower mix that I love and have lots of echinacea, bee balm and lavendar in my garden, but if there are other things I could be doing to entice the local bee/butterfly/bird populations I’d welcome suggestions. Also, I’m a gardener in Portland, OR.

    Reply
  233. Sheila Clark on

    Erin, thank you for all of your inspiration. Over 20 years ago I planted my first patch of flowers. I sold a few at work and gave many away. We had a small plot of land and raised my two kids there for 7 years. We moved into a neighborhood and each year my dream of owning a flower farm blooms, takes seed and flowers. My fulltime job is in law enforcement and it drains me many days. I still love my job but find myself returning to your site time and time again to fertilize my dream. My son is 19 and daughter is 16 now and my dream of the farm is revving up for my retirement from law enforcement at age 50 in just a few short years. Next year we will begin to search for our forever home, the flower farm my dream of dreams. The most recent blog asked why do I want to be a flower farmer. That is one of the most important questions to me. I have witnessed and experienced so many sad things with my job that I yearn to see people smile, to see people be happy to see me, to sooth my own soul and add sunshine to people’s days. I try to do that now with encouraging words and lots of compassion but at the end of the day, I’m emotionally spent. SO WHY DO I WANT TO BE A FLOWER FARMER? To realize my destiny and to change the course of my life, to start a new book that is filled with warm summer days, chickens, flowers, my dog Oscar and peace! THanks again….

    Reply
  234. Laura on

    These are indeed very important questions! When I read the title, I thought you’d be asking questions like “what kind of soil do you have?” — that’s me getting ahead of myself and you’re right — need to figure out my motivation and goals FIRST. I was just about to bite off more than I can chew. Thank you!!

    Reply
  235. Jo on

    Hi Erin,
    Grateful for all you share and so happy you are offering seeds now!
    I am in Santa Cruz, CA. and I grow flowers for my own happiness/ sanity. I have a sweet pea question. Since I’m in zone 9, I’ve already planted one round of sweet peas that are in the ground already , and then last week sowed the 3 varieties of sweet peas I ordered from Floret in 4″ pots. I tried planting Nimbus seeds from another grower with my first batch, and though all the other varieties germinated great, not a single Nimbus seed grew. Now with your seeds I have almost 100% germination with the Mollie Rillstones and Oban Bay, but again, not a single Nimbus has sprouted. Any ideas? Does that variety need something special to germinate? Thanks!!! Jo

    Reply
  236. Natalie on

    Hello Erin
    Thank you so much for all your generosity in sharing your useful information I noticed in the photo a grid which I assume is for stem support I would love to hear more about this I ordered a packet so seeds but really excited about the dahlias coming in.

    Reply
  237. plantmut on

    Also any info on how to keep out deer. Don’t know if you have deer like we do here in Virginia.

    Reply
  238. plantmut on

    Thank you (do you get tired of all the thank you ??) for all you do to help others. I am trying to get up and running this year. My questions as people have already stated are related to the business end. Did you grow a full season to see if you could do it before committing to a farmers market or florist? How do you approach a florist? How do you start the wedding side?

    I feel ok with the growing part except I have never tried to do any succession growing. Do you use a calendar or something on the computer?

    Reply
  239. Helen on

    Hi Erin,

    this is a great series of blogs. I’m intrigued and inspired by your whole business model and have plenty of questions, but will try to ask only a sensible few!

    I’m based in South West England which is fairly mild – so OK there – and the growing season spans from April (Spring bulbs, blossom, etc) through to October.

    I’m very lucky that we own our flower farming land and it adjoins our house, so it’s easy to pop out and spend every spare second, sowing, potting on, planting out and, hopefully, harvesting. With a grown-up daughter and a very supportive husband, flower time is good, but there’s never quite enough.

    I’m entering my second year as a grower and am getting to grips with a planting plan to make better use of the space, what to plant where and when – no doubt there’ll still be the odd surprise popping up during the Summer! I have a 2 acre plot, of which I’m only using a 50m x 50m area at the moment. My husband, John, prepared 12 lovely raised beds last year – while wearing a monster boot for his torn achilles tendon!

    Questions –
    How do you prepare your beds?
    Do you use any raised beds?
    What is the purpose of the grid I can see on the beds in your photos?

    As for ‘Why do I grow flowers’? To be outdoors, to see tiny seeds become beautiful blooms and to deliver something that carries a message into so many lives for so many different reasons – everyday.

    It’s hard work, but nothing else comes close.

    Reply
  240. Annette Crawford on

    Thank you Erin for posing these important questions for us to consider. I have been an avid organic gardener and beekeeper for many years in Boulder County, Colorado. I always thought I would not have the opportunity to be a farmer in this lifetime but then I saw your story in Martha Stewart and realized it is never too late to follow your heart! I have an oversized lot in a lovely neighborhood with a huge south facing yard and well established garden that has grown lots of vegetables and forests of sunflowers over the past 13 seasons depending on the year and my level of inspiration. (Learned my lesson about letting sunflowers go wild!) I plan to cut 6 beds out of the lawn this spring to expand my growing area. I also have a small greenhouse where I can start seeds etc. I need to purchase some equipment and supplies such as seed starting mats, low tunnels, weed cloth, mesh and drip watering system. Can you recommend sources for these supplies? I’m still working but the kiddos are grown and gone (well sort of they are never really gone LOL!). I have 4 growing seasons to figure things out before I can retire and grow flowers full time. I’m hoping by then to be fairly well established. I’m lucky that my hubby Tim is on board as well and we have a full wood shop in the garage so we can build just about anything we need. I’d love to hear a story about the early years of cultivating customers and how you learned to be a sales woman as well as a flower farmer. I have so much to learn but I am looking forward to the journey! All the information you share is so much appreciated, thank you!

    Reply
  241. jillian on

    Thank you for starting this blog saga- I work for a small organic garden center in CT and we are seeking out alternative outlets for our gift shop– we see opportunity in cut flowers and I’d like to start a weekly share from flowers grown on our very small piece of land that we currently use as perennial demonstration gardens. Incorporating annuals in our small space would be a way to ensure constant blooms for regular bouquet shares and any help along the way is very appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
  242. Christopher on

    I got very excited reading this first post, so THANK YOU! This will be my first year growing cut flowers on a larger scale for my budding floral design business and I’m using you as my go to guide. I’ve been gardening my whole life, but I really want maximise my space and flower yield. I also have a shorter growing season (zone 5, Portland Maine) so any advice for getting a jump on the flower season would be helpful. I look forward to this blog blizzard and all the information you have to share, thank you again!

    Reply
  243. Lacey Jay Allred on

    Hello Erin,

    Budding flower farmer here in Oregon, on my second season and purchased seeds from you this year. So excited that you have seeds, offer such great resources and that your fields are so vibrant.

    I am wondering if I could get a little advice on seed starting. My question is around not having a greenhouse this year, as I have in previous farming years, and am going to build small seeding area outside my house. I unfortunately only have one large heating mat and am wondering in your experience if you think this will be a problem for germination??

    They are pretty pricy for me and feeling nervous that I can create the warmth they need with one mat, loads of trays and being outside?? Any advice would be so helpful.

    Lacey Jay

    Reply
  244. Samantha Rothman on

    I’m really excited for these posts. I like all the effort you put into planning and being organized – the business end of things (there’s lots of growing “instructions” for plants, but little for growing your business and family… without going insane). My husband and I sent 18 months renovating an old mansion from the 1800’s – it is a crazy big old house with a wonderful yard that I have set on turning into a flower farm. We have an easy acer of growing space for rows and an additional 1.5 or so for a permaculture design to incorporate with the landscape. My husband was recently laid off from his corporate job and I’ve spend the last seven years starting/ running a non-profit (Grow It Green Morristown … http://www.growitgreenmorristown.org) that runs NJ’s largest school garden. I’ve been wanting a farm of my own for a long, long time – and this is as close as I’m going to get, so I’m going to “bloom where I’m planted”. Please keep posting about the business part too – everything from packaging, office help, starting off, etc. Thanks for sharing this all!

    Reply
  245. Britney on

    My husband and I just bought our first house and after seeing your article in Martha Stewart Living. I have decided to give a flower farming my very best! I have been a lot of research but I am still confused by all the lingo. I think the most helpful tips would be a Glossary of flower farming terms.

    Reply
  246. Kati Barnes on

    I love this series! This was extremely helpful for me. I ask myself these questions literally every day. I live in South Carolina an always worry about the very hot summer months. The good thing is we have a long growing season. I planted 150 bulbs in a flower bed I made by my house. We will see how it turns out this spring ! I have acess to 800 acers with 100 of that currently farmable land, but that’s 45 minutes away! With a full time job and a baby on the way it’s hard to find the time. I’m starting to order seeds for the spring and this post help me to realize that I need to calm down a little and start smaller. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience, reading your blog is my favorite way to end the day :)

    Reply
  247. Julie on

    Hi Erin. We moved from the suburbs of Perth and bought 3 acres in the south west of Western Australia in a pretty dairy town called Harvey. We are building a small home and we have chickens and I have a horse. I have been dreaming of growing rows and rows of sweet peas like you and have been collecting seeds of all the varieties I can find. But it’s very very windy here at times and the ground is clay and very hard. We have plenty of water and lots of space but I’m discouraged already. I read your blog with a hungry heart for flowers that I’m dreaming of growing. It’s like a deep yearning. Xxxx Julie

    Reply
  248. Anna Angelo @ Flower Hen Farm on

    Thank you for doing this! I have been growing flowers on a small scale, we have a small roadside stand at the end of our lane where we sell bouquets along with our produce, but I would love to expand and improve the assortment of flowers I can offer my customers. I am really looking forward to learning some new ideas and tips for production on a somewhat larger scale. We have 10 acres where we currently raise chickens, angora goats, two milk cows and have a good size vegetable garden and I am considering turning part of our hay field into a larger flower garden.

    Reply
  249. Stephanie on

    Erin! Great questions and thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I’m a home gardener and I always have trouble remembering how much space I actually have, how much work it is to prepare a new bed, and that right now I don’t have the umph to start seed indoors so I should only order direct sow seeds. :) This post is a great reminder.

    Reply
  250. Ann Marie O'Leary on

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Perfect timing for me, as I am about to start growing flowers for cutting in the garden at my Studio. I am a complete novice – except for Sweet Peas…!
    My goal is to have beautiful indigenous blooms to add to designs & workshops.
    Currently I have to order all my flowers from Holland & it breaks my heart.
    Would you believe, no one grows flowers commercially in Ireland…!
    I will follow every post & truly do find your business & life an inspiration.
    AM

    Reply
  251. MaryBeth on

    WOW! so impressed with the comments and can say that I have been pondering many of the same questions from your blog as well as those posted by your followers. I, too, am starting a small cut-flower business this year after 30+ years as a Speech Language Pathologist – and feel a bit swamped with the planning and preparing required to start in just a few weeks. Living in zone 7A provides a variety of temps to consider – and recently it seems the rain has either come in downpours or not at all! Sooooo much to learn and get ready before sowing those first seeds in late April! Information on the following would be very helpful: 1)spacing/underplanting/succession planting 2)best way to keep weeds at bay 3) drip irrigation vs overhead/sprinkler irrigation when needed 4)harvesting and holding blooms for max display 5) fertilizing 6) critter containment to keep them away (mice, voles, rabbits, birds, possums, deer, etc – and even a few bears!) 7)marketing and pricing to local merchants 8) most important tasks to do at the end of the growing season to get ready for the next.

    Okay, that’s enough from me ;-) thanks so verrrrry much for your willingness to share information with all of us wanna-bees and almost-theres….hope you know that you are growing much more than flowers with your farm !
    mb

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  252. Diane Miller on

    Loved the post. Learned a lot in that small amount of information.
    What type of compost do you recommend and how many inches do you add to the plot?
    Thank you for always sharing your endeavours! It’s appreciated more than you can imagine. Cheers

    Reply
  253. Laura Pickens on

    I would love a blog on spacing. What spacing you use for your farm, and how big your rows are, pathways, etc. :)

    Reply
  254. Mindy on

    Like with all of your content, products, and services, you are a very conscientious business leader in the flower farming industry! Your words have a way of connection like I am sitting next to you listening to you speak. That is special! What I found most helpful in this article was the time, commitment and energy question. While starting this venture as a full-time college student, I have found those days where I feel absolutely drained and stuck. Those tough days lead you to question and most of the time answer the WHY? behind our venture, whether for hobby or income. I am so excited about these posts. As always, well-done!

    Reply
  255. Shayla on

    What are the hoops that are in many of your photo’s? Are they to pull frost protection over your flowers if needed, or a water supply? I’m starting a cutting garden this year, to supplement what I’m hoping will be a busy wedding season for me. I’m planning out several beds but live in Calgary, AB so don’t have the longest growing season.

    Reply
  256. Pam on

    Erin: Thank you for sharing all that you have experienced. Your comments follow right along with the ‘Starting Your Sustainable Farm’ course I am taking through http://www.cultivatingsuccess.org/ . Our first session centered around goals and assessments. I would like to share SMART Goal setting. S=Specific M=Measurable A=Attainable R=Relevant T=Time-Bound. GOALS are dynamic and should be reviewed often. I look forward to the rest of your postings.
    p.s. Map your space

    Reply
  257. Tara on

    What a wonderful post, looking forward to the entire series. You are so generous with your knowledge. I’m just starting out on 4 acres of land. I read all your posts they are all informative and inspirational. And honest!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
  258. Katie on

    I have a small 1/3 acre garden (with house, driveway, play lawn, and two huge shade trees) so being honest about my actual growing space is crucial. I am greatly anticipating each blog post, hoping to maximize the amount of cut flowers I can grow, for my own enjoyment and for giving away.

    Reply
  259. Bobbi Davis on

    Love love love this post. I have been dying for some tips from you on where to begin. I cannot wait to get my seeds in and put some of these wonderful tips to use!

    Reply
  260. Gill on

    Hello Erin. I have a small North facing garden in England. I love flowers and grow them from seed to cut for my home. All my seed is started indoors on windowsills; the plants just go wherever I have space in the borders. I never imagined I could produce so many flowers from such a small space. I’ll be reading your posts for ideas and inspiration for my own garden.

    Reply
  261. JENNIFER on

    Ecstatic and on board with pen and paper in hand! Excellent and on spot questions to start this series Erin. We are in the infrastructure stages of the business and farming pieces currently and looking to go full steam with starting seeds ( purchased from Floret), getting beds & hoop houses ready for spring cultivation and harvest for our floral CSA and weddings.
    I’ve gardened all my life but now will be doing it intensively on two of our 5 acres in zone 5 pushing zone 6. We have farm animals on the other acreage otherwise it would be planted…it might get encroached on.

    I will be looking to glean insight about amending soil and fertilization techniques along with starting seeds and all its intricacies and how to do this starting in an unheated house or inside my home for now.
    Details for layout of beds, hoop houses & low tunnels along with recommendations of what and where to purchase these materials would be so helpful. I’m also trying to sort out what needs to go inside a hoop house versus low tunnel or open field.

    Any and all info on succession planting with timing of different flowers and when to replace with another through the growing season. I will try to keep things blooming from June to October.

    We are fully irrigated from canal which feeds into our pond and currently we have in ground raised field sprinklers. My husband and I are trying to figure out the logistics of how to do the drip off of this system so that its not plugged up.

    We have about 1/4 acre yard area surrounding our home outside of pastures that has large Ponderosa Pines flanking it. My intent is to plant all the fence line with woody ornamentals, roses, hydrangeas, vines and perennials. Under the somewhat shaded tree areas I hope to use as beds for more shade loving flowers and shrubs. I’ve been contemplating what to do with bulbs and where to put them so not to take up precious area on the 2 acre cut annuals area.

    So many more questions Erin and honestly feeling a little overwhelmed but excited. I will devour every bit you post over this month and look forward to hands on with you and your team in April.

    Many, many thank yous for all the inspiration and insight that you share so abundantly!
    Cheers, Jen

    Reply
  262. Carmen on

    I’m really looking forward to this series and think it’s very generous of you to share knowledge. In my case, in a year or so I will be buying a property for my ‘forever home’ that I’ve designed and plan also to have some space for a flower garden. This type of information will help me to plan how much space I will need and also help me evaluate the depth of involvement I want to reach for…I know I want a large cutting garden for my home and to be able to gift arrangements to others, but I’ve also been mulling over having a small flower arrangement business when all the kids get to the age that they’re in school. I don’t have any specific questions, I know there’s a lot I don’t know, but right now I just don’t know what I don’t know.

    Reply
  263. Jenny on

    Erin,

    These posts are so very encouraging. As I’m in the process of garden-planning, I’ve had variations of these topics swirling around in my head, but it was so helpful to have them so thoughtful organized in this post. THANK YOU.

    I grew up gardening in Iowa with my flower-farming mom (bless the 90’s and the dried-floral arrangements) and my soybean & corn farming dad. Life revolved around the farming seasons, and I found that, as an adult, taking care of plants came second nature. Second nature was thrown for a loop when I relocated to Memphis, TN; I’ve been relearning the rhythms of the seasons (or lack thereof) ever since.

    Thank you for your honest, helpful tips! They are very much appreciated!

    Reply
  264. Emma on

    First blog comment ever in my life, here! Taking you seriously that you want to hear from lurkers…. I am a long time gardener and former farmer (grew too big, too fast and our little family just had to come first, so we changed direction a couple years ago, and I am now contemplating my next steps). Flowers are a vital part of my life, my heart, my joy, and if I farm again, I want it to be from a place of creativity and joy.
    All of my questions are pretty much centered around the family/business balance. How do you do it? Do you homeschool or do your kids attend school? What *did* you do when they were little? I have three children, 8, 6, and nearly 2. From past experience I know if I choose to pursue flower farming in some way, it has to be with my family in mind, as well…
    And, finally, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I have only just discovered your blog, and I can tell I will be spending many hours reading through every last post!

    Reply
  265. Ria on

    Hi Erin! Since I wasn’t able to get into one of your classes, this is the next best thing! I appreciate you sharing all these information. Thank you very much!

    Reply
  266. Katie on

    Thank you for this post! These are great questions. Last year was my first year growing flowers and I did pretty well. The growing was more successful than bouquet making as I was unsure how to really create such beautiful bouquets. I had bouquets all over my house and send the extra bouquets to the farmers market with my husband and our vegetables. I got better by the end of the year and learned so much through the entire process. Having a 2 1/2 year old was super challenging. Hoping now that she is older I can devote more time and balance my life to be able to do both motherhood and flower farming.
    Questions: do you crop rotate like vegetables? What are spring flowers, summer and fall and do some flowers follow others better than others? How do you create bouquets that look beautiful wrapped in paper for farmers market/grocery stores? Do you harvest every day or do you have scheduled days? How many stems per mixed bouquet? Pricing?

    Reply
  267. Mary Hegnes on

    Thank you for your post and your blog. I am preparing for retirement and my plan is to have a small cut flower business during the summer months. Your post really helped to to think about what I really want and how much time it is going to take to get this “small” venture off the ground. Thank you so much you can not know how much of an inspiration you are.
    Mary Hegnes

    Reply
  268. Jessica on

    I am ecstatic about these posts! I happened upon your bblog a year ago and it inspired me to take the leap into starting my business. I have some flower farming experience, as the slave labor of planting, picking and weeding ;-) and some horticulture and florist experience but I have mountains of information to learn. Your willingness to share your failures and successes is so encouraging and inspiring!

    I have a question on spacing. How close can you pack them? It it super important to follow the spacing on the seed packets? I know that it varies for different flowers. Do you have any general tips on this?

    Reply
  269. RACHEL E HEATH on

    An excellent read. What I am still struggling with is figuring out what flowers specifically will do well or not in containers on my apartment’s balcony.

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  270. drea @ morning glory acres on

    I know I already posted, but I just had to add this.. As I was reading thru everyone’s comments and questions, an answer kept popping into my head. If those of you starting out in growing cut flowers would join the ASCFG (Association of Specialty Cut Flowers) you would find the answers to most of your questions! It is a large body of cut flower growers, and there is a searchable discussion forum where is stored years and years of growing wisdom!! You can find answers for almost any question, and if not, ask it, and you will likely get an answer from one of the many helpful members! The ASCFG has made flower farming possible for us!! In our first year, I wasn’t sure if we could afford the yearly fee, but I will say that we have saved ourselves thousands of dollars already, by finding timely answers before we made huge mistakes! The two sites I check every day are the new posts on the ASCFG, and Floret’s blog! ;)

    Reply
    • plantmut on

      Thank you for saying that. I have the info packet on my kitchen table and that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out….is it worth the price.

  271. Yukie on

    Hi Erin!
    Love your blog and Instagram!
    I’m just a hobby gardener but also a full-time worker so gardening is my sanctuary in weekends.
    But I’m the only gardener in house, so everything has to be done by myself.
    I often get frustrated that I can’t have enough time to go outside and work in my garden, with lots of house chores I can only do in weekends.
    But I figured, it doesn’t make sense to be frustrated with something gives you so much pleasure, life is full of priority and decision making, and balancing as well.

    I agree what you said in this post!
    Even as a hobby gardener in a small city yard and I live in Toronto, Canada, so not much growing season as I want but still I can order so many seeds and plants more than I can tuck them into the ground!

    I try to be sustainable and organic gardener as possible, so I’m interested in what kind of fertilizer or pest control you use.
    In your area I guess it gets so soggy time to time!

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment and probably there are tons of English mistakes as I’m not a native English speaker (I’m from Japan originally)!
    Can’t wait for other posts! Thank you for the inspirations!

    Reply
  272. Meiska Starner on

    Struck a chord when you mentioned chasing down a toddler while longing to be able to focus on your work. This year my little guy will be 3 while we are working in our garden. Working with small children around presents the greatest challenge, and the greatest opportunity. As we are getting our area ready for Spring, I can see how much my son has changed and is more willing to stay close and is interested in helping. Bittersweet, of course.

    I’m excited about the ‘Blog Blizzard.’ Thanks so much for all you share.

    Reply
  273. Candice on

    Hi Erin! I think you got your wish about feedback! What an awesome response. My husband and I are looking for property for farming and your advice about the amount of light, etc. will be very helpful in our search and going forward! Thank you?

    Reply
  274. Mira on

    Thank you Erin for your Blog Posts! I love feeling connected to all these people that love growing flowers. Being the mother of an infant I am especially looking forward to your tips for getting things done without stressing too much. My goal is to share the garden with my daughter and inspire her, but the ‘standing in the garden looking at the weeds and crying’ -so been there!! Thank you again

    Reply
  275. Kristine Albrecht -Santa Cruz Dahlias on

    Thank you Erin for sharing all you wisdom on growing flowers! We are a lucky bunch of farmers to have your help. Here are some burning questions. Even after years of growing dahlias, I find giving the plants the proper amount of water the most challenging aspect. How do you determine your water needs for dahlias and the other flowers you grow? Also, I see you use a weed block material. Which types of flowers do you use it for? Are just the paths covered? Is it rolled up and reused the next season? Where is a good place to purchase it? What are the pros and cons? Do you have a resource guide? So many questions. Thanks again for all the flower fun and information you give to all of us! I love your blog.

    Reply
  276. Jana on

    Dear Erin, thank you for all the information you share! With this post I miss detail information, it is quite general, not as how you usually write. I follow you because for me you are the best leader to follow in flower farming for profit. There is a lot of source to seek when you grow just for your own desire, but a little source when you need to learn how to make a profit from growing flowers. So i would be glad if your posts would be aimed for flower farmers at the first place. For me it means to go deep in all the aspects of growing, marketing and so on. I am starting flower growing for profit and information you posted now, are just clear and obvious. But I struggle to figure out “numbers”. How many seeds will take how much space and make how many flowers to sell for example. How to choose seeds company, which one are the best for special varieties, what material to use for polytunels, how to make a good watering system etc. Information about how much space you work with for example are real gold for me, but there is a lot of other question I have.Bussines is a lot about counting i think… please help us learn how to count…which means, share how you count your numbers and we will try to learn how it work for us :)

    At the end please let me write you a feedback concerning the seed sale. I was just there on your webside studying, when you started loading the seeds profiles and I saw them jump up in front of me :) I was really excited and immediately started to choose which I need to have and pray for they could be send abroad to me. I communicated with Jill and it seemed that it is possible. I made my order but since then I didn’t get any message, even when I wrote her again. It’s a month now and I see that this year it didn’t go out, but I am sad that the communication was that way, even when I understand you had a lot of work and doing it for the first time. I am just sad I can’t grow your seeds this year :( I hope that the next year I will be more lucky. Best wishes from Czech republic, and sorry for my english :) Jana

    Reply
  277. Jillian on

    Thank you for all of your information and the chatter it creates. Farming is lots of work let alone blogging. You are a true inspiration.

    How do you fertilize throughout the season? What method?
    A bit more on succession planting, avoiding that lull in the season
    Bouquet processing//arranging method
    -Do you strip leaves in field or just cut and work everything else under shade?
    – After cutting & before its time for arranging should flowers wait in the cooler to take out the “field heat”? or do they need an hour to hydrate first?–(or is that just woodies)

    Reply
  278. Lorelie (Australia) on

    I stumbled across your site about 2 months ago & have been soaking up all you’ve shared. Thank you!
    I’ve got a few acres to play with once we move but 2 little ones to look after (my oldest is nearly 2). I’m still very much in the planning stages of deciding what to do with the house garden/yard as well as a paddock out the back where I can plan more of a cut flower patch. I’d like to build up stock & sell seeds, tubers, bulbs, corms etc down the track rather than cut flowers as it’s less time pressured for me, however I want lots of lovely flowers to cut for my house & as gifts – I agree it’s so nice to share the bounty of our gardens with others! ☺️??

    Reply
  279. Sophie on

    Oh. my. gosh.
    I am so so so excited for this series. Am in my 2nd year growing and just thinking about taking it up a notch or 2!
    Also. My answer to WHY is the same as yours. Im constantly thinking whats next whats next but in my garden I am present,

    Reply
  280. Pauline on

    Your blog is a constant inspiration.
    I am a fairly successful dahlia grower, I grow them for fun and to share on my blog/Instagram. I have tried sowing seeds directly in the soil, but nothing ever happens. Are the seeds eaten by mice, is the soil (sandy) not good enough?

    Reply
  281. Ana on

    Just writing to say that you are one of the few bloggers that I love to read. You have such a great enthusiasm. Love to hear any posts from your side!

    Reply
  282. Gina on

    Just getting my feet wet in my very own flower garden/farm, I am SO looking forward the blog blizzard! I’d love to know more about setting yourself apart as a farmer. Specifically, tips on stretching seasons (successive plantings, hoop house/tunnel use, etc), and more on your planning process!

    Reply
  283. Callie on

    Thank you Erin. Your wisdom and insight is wonderful and inspiring. I am a mother to triplets and have a love of gardening. This year I am expanding my cut garden to include so many flowers thanks to the inspiration on your Floret site. My goal is to give away flower arrangements to family, friends and co-workers. Flowers bring so much joy to life. I have started seeds and looking forward to (hopefully) a successful season. Thank you for your generous insight!!!!

    Reply
  284. Deanna on

    Erin! How are we all ever going to thank you for the endless inspiration and generous teaching?! For the first time in 10 years, I’m not buying seeds and planning beds…we’re in the process of buying our forever farm! What you said about knowing when to wait and how to live right now (and embrace these moments when my little people are still so little) really resonates with me. This year for me is all about learning all I can and being patient on the growing. What are your best recommendations for books and blogs about building soil and integrated pest management? Composting? Thanks for this amazing series!!!

    Reply
  285. Allison DeRungs on

    Beautiful, inspiring, and relevant! I’d like to know more about the biggest barriers you personally experienced to start up your business and how you overcame them. How much did you actually grow those first couple years? How did you do it financially at first? Did your hubs quit his job to run the farm with you? What are must haves in selecting a farm – key learnings from that experience. Thanks Erin and Floret team!

    Reply
  286. Susan on

    Thanks Erin! Excited for these posts! My questions mirror Andrews (above) and… I have a lot of questions about the use of hoop houses and caterpillar tunnels. How do you choose what flowers to plant in hoophouses. Why? and When? If growing strictly for Farmers Markets and seasonal weddings are hoophouses and tunnels necessary? Will Sweet Peas perform well without being grown in a hoop house. Thanks!

    Reply
  287. Melody on

    I have read, I think, the entirety of your site in planning for my little urban farming venture I’m getting started, so these new posts are gold to me. I really like hearing of your beginnings. I’m “farming” my yard this year while homeschooling three boys so I’m feeling the stretch already just with preparing the ground and starting seeds!! I would love to hear if you still utilize cover crops or not on your farm. Thank you for this, Erin!

    Reply
  288. Loren on

    I was so inspired when I first read about your lovely farm and stunning floral design in Martha Stewart Living, and now am so grateful to have rediscovered it through your beautiful and generous blog. My husband and I took the plunge a year and half ago and bought a 7-acre farm in Kansas City city limits because we wanted a lifestyle for us and our two small boys that pushed us to wonder at the beauty and abundance that God knit into those things which come from the earth He made. Now, as we look towards soon-approaching springtime and explore how we will make the most of the land we’ve been given, I couldn’t be more excited that you are sharing your hard-earned wisdom! I have so many sweet memories of creating bouquets as a girl from flowers my mother grew in her garden: mostly roses, but also lavender, gladiolus, sunflowers and sweet peas. For our wedding I sourced flowers (mostly peonies!!) from a local farmer and arranged them with my friends the day before as a way to rest and connect with beauty before the busyness of the big day…the idea of growing and surrounding myself with beautiful blooms sounds so satisfying.
    I’m very interested in the practicals of your planning process…when do you start what? How many in what area? How do you do succession planting? What stays in the ground? What keys have you found for growing specific flowers?
    So appreciate your generosity! Thank you!!

    Reply
  289. Andrew on

    Ummm, so I forgot to add-in my questions. and when I look at the length of my comment, I’m embarrassed. So sorry about that.
    Questions –
    How do you plan a color palette for the year? I’ve got three rough palettes this year, but I feel like I’m just guessing.
    How do you plan out your master planting schedule that includes succession and space for those succession crops? I get the idea of succession planning, but I’m struggling with when to pull up one thing and put in another.
    How do you keep up with what needs to be done that week? Sown, pulled, fertilized, harvested, pinched, etc.

    Reply
    • Floret on

      All great questions, Andrew! I’m hopeful we can answer many of them this month–stay tuned!

    • Katie on

      Andrew these were my same questions the succession time line. When to pull what and when to start what. The other question was do you rotate flowers the same way you do vegetables?

    • Killoran on

      Some of my questions, too! Succession planning is something I did last year, but our plot is so small (about 500 sq ft) that I don’t really know how to work it out timing wise – I mean, every sing square foot is precious. Luckily, we had a couple open beds and it was just a test year, but still. Are you on Instagram or anything? I loved your reply!

  290. Andrew on

    Erin, your generosity through your blog (and this particular blog post) is breath-taking. Before anything else, thank you.

    Your answer to an email or two a few years ago was the catalyst for me to think I might be able to give this a try. Last question first: the reason I love growing flowers is the beauty. If there is truth, goodness, and beauty, flower farming perfectly encompasses the last two. To me, a flower is one of the purest forms of beauty, and mixed with that the opportunity to nurture and share beauty with others? I can’t stay away. I’m betting there is truth in here as well, but I’m too new to this task to see it clearly.

    I’m in central Alabama, where the temperature may reach 20 degrees once a winter, so the frosts are few and not very hard. The springs can be longish with a few cold, frosty nights thrown in, and the summers are HOT. Falls are generally mild, and our first frost this year wasn’t until the second week in December.

    I work full-time as a telcom engineer (yeah, I know. Weird combination, but it works), but I get to work from home. So I might take the occasional conference call while weeding. I’m hoping to sell mixed bouquets some weekends at a farmer’s market. Huge, scary, big step.

    One of the other challenges of Alabama is the clay soil. Very little organic matter. We’re on 4 acres, but it’s all wooded. So far we have cleared a small section that’s somewhat open to sunlight, and we’ve put in 5 or 6 smallish raised beds, and a good friend has let us borrow a very small unheated hoop house. All total, about 300 sq ft. so far. Which is not enough to hold all of the seeds I’m starting in a cool basement under lights. Or the dahlias that I ordered from Floret. Talk about incentive to get moving on more raised beds!

    Random other challenge in this area: Finding good quality compost in any quantity!!! My time is precious, so I don’t compost today, but who knows? Desperate times, desperate measures, etc, etc.

    So I keep taking the next step and seeing what happens. Last year was our first with dahlias and zinnias. Ummm, yeah. This year is about triple the number of dahlias, but with more filler planned to even out the bouquets. Also started some bulbs and peonies, along with a couple of garden roses. When I look at the list planned for this year, it scares me, but I can’t bear to take one off the list.

    Tips from the first couple of seasons that I’ve run across: Tip #1 Have your soil tested! We had no idea some of the deficiencies or surpluses in our soil. I’m mixing our own fertilizer ala Steve Solomon, so we’ll see how it goes this year. Tip #2: I’ll echo the learn to start seeds. I can’t imagine being able to afford this if it weren’t for that, and the varieties it opens up are amazing. Tip #3 Just do the next thing. I tend to put things off because, if I’m honest, I’m scared. Scared I’ll fail, scared because I’ve never done it before, etc. This year, my scary next steps are trying out selling at a farmer’s market, and because of that, learning how to put together a basic mixed bouquet. So we’ll see, and it’s never dull. Tip #4: Have someone in your corner cheering for you. My wife is an amazing cheerleader and encourager. And the kids are pretty amazing and accepting of anything I want to try. Have those people in your life for when it’s hard, frost ruins a crop, or your hoop house isn’t where you left it the night before.

    Once again, I can’t thank team Floret enough. The knowledge, the encouragement, the honest look behind the scenes at the hard times, the seeds, the tools, the tubers, the how-to, and the love and beauty for this undertaking have held my hand and encouraged me the past two seasons. It’s a treat to order and support you and your team/family.

    All the best

    Reply
  291. Ieva on

    Came up out of my lurk-hole to post. It’s scary out here :). I’m an central Pennsylvanian aspirational gardener with a downtown rental duplex sitting on a big thick slab of clay soil, a kindergartner and a toddler with zero self-preservation instincts, and a bear-sized groundhog along with a small nation of bunnies living in my backyard that just can’t wait for this year’s neglected crop of flowers and vegetables (last summer they even developed a taste for CILANTRO.). My raised beds are a constant tale of woe and anarchy, but your writing and photos are the opposite. I love reading about the fruits of your hard work.

    Reply
  292. April on

    We just decided to add flowers for this year, and our initial plan is to sell to local florists. We’re figuring out pricing and would love some tips on that! Per bunch, per stem…? It’s also hard to find pricing for a lot of the garden flowers.

    Reply
  293. Kay on

    Hello Erin, Floret came to my attention on an Instagram feed.
    Your a very generous person. All your experience and advice is invaluable.
    As a new flower grower for personal use, I to enjoy that moment of joy you can see from someone when you give them a of bunch of flowers.The information you are providing allows a wonderful opportunity for many home gardeners to have success with cut flowers.
    I live in Australia, (Southern Hemisphere)I will be following this February blog with much interest our seasons are opposite but I will be able to adjust the information. Thank you for all your effort.

    Reply
  294. Angela on

    Hi Erin. Thanks for walking us through this. I realized my dream of becoming a flower farmer last year. I’ve always loved gardening so I decided why not take that passion and grow cut flowers. I found you on Instagram and then Facebook and your blog. I look forward to learning more from you. I appreciate the guidance you offer. I love that you want to help others.

    Reply
  295. Sarah Pabody on

    Thank you for your passion to share what you’ve worked hard to learn. I refer new friends to your blog almost weekly!

    Reply
  296. Melissa on

    Thank you so much for this series! I live on 5 acres in central Massachusetts on the top of a windy hill. The land has been hayed by a neighbor farmer for the past 30 years. Last year I nearly broke my back digging up the sod, adding compost and top soil to a few measly plots. My parents have been avid perennial growers since I was a child and are have only manually dug garden beds. They were horrified when I talked about roto-tilling the sod to grow cut flowers for sale. My question to you is how should we break up the sod for new beds? We don’t have a tractor, and I cant imagine breaking it all up by hand again, it was such a time crusher and with two small rambunctious boys I need every minute I can get. I have literally agonized over this question! Should we ask the neighbor for a days work tilling up another acre? Rent a roto tiller? I would love to at least double the size of my beds and sell at a farmers market in high summer this year. I purchased a bunch of seeds from Floret and am so excited for this upcoming season! Thanks again for the inspiration and your willingness to share your knowledge with us!!

    Reply
    • Anna on

      Hey I’m not as experienced as some, but this fall we made a big new flower bed in our front yard and we rented a rototiller. Totally worth it! I would definitely consider it. It would have killed me to dig up all that crazy grass we have in our yard.
      Godspeed!

  297. Eve on

    Ha! I didn’t know blog lurking was a bad thing; just realizing it after reading this and your design sponge posts! I’ve been following along for a year, but have read almost all of your posts since Hedgerowrose linked to your sweet pea posts.

    THIS is THE series I have been waiting for! I love all your blogging, but especially the growing info! I am especially interested in timing–how you plan your seasons, when/how do you begin plants (start seeds, bump up, plant out), how your maximize production (intensive methods?), succession to always have something flowering, when/how/what to fertilize… all the nitty gritty details of the outside work.

    I love all your content (flower arranging, business building, farm and family life)… Beautiful pictures to boot! Keep up the AMAZING work and don’t be so hard on yourself!

    Reply
    • Eve on

      Just looked and that sweet pea flower focus was 2 years ago… Thanks for all you do!

  298. Donna on

    Hello Erin!

    I have been growing flowers – especially dahlias – for the past 4 years. This will be my 5th. I live in Massachusetts (Zone 5b). I work full-time and weeds and lack of time are my biggest challenges. I refuse to give up, though, because like you, flowers pull me into the present moment! Need to learn about how to keep the weeds at bay, about drip irrigation, composting, and hoop houses/tunnels.

    A big, big thank you!

    Reply
  299. Lori Peplinskie on

    Thank you for taking the time to write these posts. I absolutely loved your flower focus series of posts. I would love to see more detail/images/video of posts on one specific crop, how the seed is germinated, images of the seedlings, when they’re transplanted and what temps the seedlings are expected to experience but still survive, fertilization schedule, when to pull plants etc.

    Reply
  300. Shelley Yoshiwara on

    I forgot to tell you I’m in Northern California Redding where next week will be getting temperatures in the 70’s but by June July well into September we have extreme heat where in July it can be over 100 for weeks in a row. We get irrigation water every 2 weeks along with our well water and the irrigation water keeps everything green and brings in lots of weeds!! Never lacking in weeds or bugs!!

    Reply
  301. Shelley Yoshiwara on

    I’m retired, soon to be 64 and we bought one acre in the country 3 years ago and my gardening adventure began. I’ve always lived in the higher Sierras where it was just to hard to garden Due to short seasons and poor soil. Now I have great soil and a longer season and want to utilize it! We put in a 50 x 50 foot garden and 6 growing boxes and along with my veggies I planted sunflowers and zinnias and I’m hooked now on flowers. Each year I’ve devoted more area for the flowers. I want to expand what I’m growing and would love to sell bouquets at my little organic market and juice bar. I tried last year but ended up not having a big enough variety of flowers and since it’s so hot here sunflowers and zinnias were pretty much all I had. So I would love to plant early, have a bigger variety in the spring etc. I absolutely love what your doing and the local flower market growing in our country. Hope this helps!!

    Reply
  302. Ronda on

    Thank you Erin. I stumbled on to your Facebook page this winter and now have bought some seeds from you. I’m so excited about growing honeywort bad cup and saucer vine from you. I will love to hear about cold weather varieties that can be directly seeded. I have a garage and start my 59+ dahlias in it under lights mid March but in Alaska that is what has to happen. Then I plant them June 1 outside. That is a labor of love and I get more roots to save in the fall. I store them in birch sawdust all winter in the garage. I’m also a new peony farmer. We have about 2,000 in the ground with 900 more coming this spring. So I am looking for things that can be directly sown and grow fast. I’m a teacher during the winter and a farmer in the summer! Hopefully when I retire in a few years all of this will be in place. Love your blog and I was so impressed that you signed the card in my seed packet! I tip my hat to you!

    Reply
  303. Connie on

    Thank you for all the inspiration, as I soak up every morsel of knowledge just before I embark on a one acre flower farm adventure in southern Manitoba, Canada.

    Reply
  304. Jane on

    I am thrilled that you are taking the time to share again with the flower world. The information you provide helped get me going this past year and now with a little bit of knowledge and the ability to read and re-read your posts, I am hoping the second year will be even better. Burning holes in fabric cloth, netting the snaps for support, burning the ends of poppies and euonymus and the endless lists of varieties and suppliers helped keep things a bit sane. You are a fountain of information and I am looking forward to all that you share. The six questions will help keep me focused as we start 2016, although I did just purchase another batch of sweetpeas from you after reading an Instagram post. One question I continually struggle with is pricing and selling to wholesalers, florists, supermarkets and the like. I have read and searched for information, but that is one area that seems to be hard to find information on. Thank you from all the beginning, and probably experienced flower farmers too, out there. You are a godsend.

    Reply
  305. Krystal Kerns on

    This was MOST helpful! I was wondering if you could suggest some flowers for first time growers? Please continue with the series of posts! Greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  306. Christine O'Brien on

    Hi Erin and Floret Team,

    your knowledge, tips and honesty about the cut flower industry is amazing. Very inspiring. Your tips today are very helpful to me, as I’m new in this venture. I’ve been working in the horticulture business for close to 20 years, but never have tried to grow cut flowers for “production”. Very excited to see your seeds grow and then share bouquets with friends, family, nursing homes, libraries… all I want is to brighten up someone’s day!

    Can’t wait for your book to come out. Floret is the reason I want to grow cut flowers~thank you!

    Reply
  307. Liz on

    Aloha from the big island of Hawaii! Thank you for sharing your passion about flowers, knowledge, expertise & insight! I appreciate the questions you pose and the thought provoking answers they bring about. I love that the post comments are from people all over the world and that all the questions will undoubtedly have different answers from everyone, but our love for flowers remains. We have lots of tropical flowers but I see lots of imported flowers too. I would like to offer a sustainable approach to flowers and keep them local. Flowers have helped to perpetuate this island’s culture and traditions. There is definitely a keep it local and sustainable attitude in the islands and we always support one another. I live on the drier side of the island and am looking forward to a great growing season. I look forward to information on rose care, home made pest controls, planning your growing season and how you choose seeds! Mahalo from your friend in Hawaii?

    Reply
  308. Candy on

    Looking forward to these posts. I am an avid vegetable grower, but ready to branch out with a small cutting garden.

    Reply
  309. Evangeline M on

    So excited for your February Blog Blizzard! Your content is always inspiring both in your humble tone of words and your lovely pictures!

    The thing that continues to puzzle me is plant spacing. I am not the best at numbers, so a visual graph/photo showing exact seedling placement for getting nice full beds without wasted space would be so helpful! Especially since spacing recommendations on seed packets usually refer to row situations, not beds.

    Reply
  310. Virginia on

    Erin you answered the question I have been wondering all along about how you managed in those first couple years as a young mother. Time management for starting my cut flower farm is my biggest question right now. I too have a wild little boy toddler and am currently working out details on time management for this upcoming season starting out growing cuts on about 1/8 acre and selling at market for the first time. I can picture myself crying among the weeds as you mentioned, biting off more than I can chew, because honestly, there are just so many amazing plants to grow and so little time, and like you said, I want to do everything RIGHT NOW!! Its so inspiring to see how you persevered!

    Reply
  311. Grace on

    I’m looking forward to this new series of articles. The questions you’ve put forward are spot on. I know my limitations(two small children, small yard and very little time) but my yard has been used more times than I can count by people wanting a bouquet of flowers for something special. I have lots of roses and I used to have beautiful flowers but the past two winters killed most of my flowers, quite a few of my roses and my hedges of lavender. Those two winters and a subsequent drainage problems caused by a bad grading job have ruined my yard. I’m looking forward to fixing it this year and I think these articles will be the inspiration I’m needing!!

    If I might make a suggestion/request. While I grew lots of flowers I know next to nothing about arranging them. A video post of a bouquet being built would be so helpful!!!! Just to watch it all happen would be so awesome!

    Grace e

    Reply
  312. Robin on

    Thank you again a million times over for sharing your blog, your hard-earned wisdom, and your practical advice for those of us behind you who also love flowers. Excellent introductory questions today, which I will sit down and answer. I’ve referred to your blog and website many times, searching for a variety of topics, and 3 questions I keep thinking but have not yet found answers from you are:
    1. What do you use for watering? Drip irrigation?
    2. How do you plan out and make a visual map of the contents and planting times for each flower bed on yojr farm? I need an idea of the number of cutting stems per plant, and the number of stems you offer per bouquet — so I can somehow translate my mental image to a practical, workable scale on paper and in the ground. I also need help figuring out whether I am better off ( in simplicity & wider profit margin) to focus on retail 1-by-1 bouquets, wholesale buckets to florists, or wedding and other custom design work?
    3. How do you harvest and bunch your stems? For example, do you strip the leaves off each zinnia stem one-by-one, hold 10 stems under your elbow, grab a rubber band & bunch these, move the bunch (to where?), and repeat? Or do you cut stems, add them directly to a bucket of water, and de-leaf and bunch them later?

    Reply
    • Eve on

      ☝?️^^great questions!

    • lindsey0009 on

      Great questions Robin!

  313. Joanne on

    Erin, you have been an inspiration over and over again. Have been following your journey for a few yeas now and have learned many things along the way. Thank you for sharing your successes and failures and all the information you share with your fellow flower growers.

    Reply
  314. Beth on

    Thank you for sharing your experience. You are an inspiration. I have plans of growing flowers on our Missouri farm…in between a full time job, a 5 year old and 2 year old!

    Reply
  315. John on

    An Orny Hort grad who travels too much and is an apartment dweller finding it difficult to grow but I am living vicariously thru your blog. I enjoy your posts immensely and appreciate your willingness to share. Thank you and am looking forward to this series.

    Reply
  316. Kim on

    I am developing my plans for a market garden. I have always grown flowers side by side with veggies, but I wanted to do more with flowers for cutting.

    We are building a new home (where the farm will be) and my hubby loves having fresh flowers in the house. I love the look of your bouquets, and so I am going to try to grow enough flowers to emulate you – at least in my own house! Maybe I can market some, too. I hope to attend one of your floral arranging seminars one day.

    Also, so much of what you teach about growing things for market applies across the board – taking care of your soil, how much time, money and energy can you invest, what are your growing conditions, and why are you doing this – these factors apply to all farmers and growers. Thank you for taking the time to lead newbies along the way.

    Reply
  317. Carolyn Thompson - Willow & Mabel Garden Co. on

    I love all of your blog posts – they never go to waste & I always learn something from each them. I started my farmer florist business a year ago. These blogs could not have come at a better time. I truly believe in being able to have enough hours in the day to achieve your goals – yes you shift things around but there are certainly things that you can not shift. I work 4 days a week which limits my time but I how have two teenage boys so they are less time consuming than toddlers and can be very handy at building raised garden beds and some hard manual labor when needed! I don’t want to over stretch myself otherwise I will start to hate what right now is a major love in my life – growing my flower business. On my list of things to do this week is to get my plot of land measured and drawn out so I know what I’m planting and when. Also super excited as I am signed up for your May Farmer Florist workshop!!

    Reply
  318. Heather on

    I am beyond excited about your posts! I have been a full time massage therapist for going on 16 years. Love my job but also love gardening. This year I am venturing in very small scale flower farming, approximately 10ish 4×8 raised beds to get my feet wet. In 2017, on the wait list, will be taking one of your workshops! Yay! Till then, this may seem silly but drip irrigation stumps me a bit. Maybe something on that, if not, no worries. I shall figure it out. Oxoo!

    Reply
  319. Sherry Shuler-Sherry's Flower Farm on

    I glanced at your post early today but couldn’t wait until after work so I could read every word and write down my answers to your questions. Everything you touch on in your writing has value. Even if it’s something I have already considered, taking the time to write things down and give more definition to the process of developing viable plan of action helps keep me grounded. Like one of the others who commented I first learned of you in the Country Living Article. It woke up something in my heart that I didn’t even know was there and brings tears to my eyes even as I write this. I have a 1/4 acre that used to be our vegetable patch. But nothing has been planted there for about 20 years. So, I am starting from scratch. As business owners that took a hard lick in the economic downturn and have only been slowly recovering, we have almost no money for startup. My plan is to start with one 4′ by 25′ bed of different varieties of zinnia’s and add another bed whenever we can. I am using the methods you describe in the How-To-Grow zinnia’s guide I bought from floret. Getting the ground fabric, and drip lines for starting small is doable but I am having trouble finding compost. We live on a 36 acre farm but the business we run on the property are not farming business. So I have plenty of raw material for compost but am a little overwhelmed at how to even begin. The only place I have found in NC to get organic compost is in Raleigh (about 3 hours away) and they will only sell a minimum load of 20 yards of compost and a delivery charge of $70 hour for travel. That bill comes to $1000 which is out of our budget. I really only need to buy about 3 yards of compost to get started and have enough to make compost tea but don’t know where to get it. There seem to be plenty of resources for seeds but not so much compost. If you know of any resources for compost and such in different parts of the country that would be great. But barring that, could you give some information on how to start composting. I have a plan in my head for planting rows of crops that are good for compost since I do not have a ready made source of manure but right now I have plenty of fall leaves and grass clipping to get started.

    Reply
    • drea @ morning glory acres on

      I’ve heard really good stuff about Charlie’s Compost. It can be purchased on Amazon! Check it out! May work for your size of set up!

    • Sherry on

      Thanks for the suggestion. I checked it out thinking maybe I could get free shipping. Not gonna happen though. I had already ruled out ordering over the internet since shipping makes it impractical. If I can’t find something close to home I will just spend the first year figuring out how to produce good compost and then start with a good supply next year. This post has been has been a great help for honestly assessing resources and limitations. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to do things right. I can still put some seeds in the ground later in the year when I start getting some finished compost.

    • marybeth on

      sherry – don’t forget to have your soil analyzed by your county extension office. for the size garden bed you mentioned, one sample bag (with soil from a couple different places in the bed) shouldn’t cost more than $10 (probably a lot less) and will give you lots of good information on what best to use to improve your soil. mushroom compost along with other bags of goodies may be all you need! good luck! don’t give up! you’ll have beautiful flowers in no time :-)

    • Laurie | Hedgerow Rose on

      Sherry, we just moved from PA–where compost was relatively inexpensive and easy to find–to NC (Asheville area) and it took me a while to work out the compost puzzle, too. If you live near Asheville, Asheville Mulch and Yard will deliver to you with no minimum order but there is a delivery fee, of course. Barring that, if you have a Lowes nearby, they will deliver to you for I think a $60 fee (no minimum order) and they carry Black Kow 50-lb Organic Manure which is really good stuff. Hope this helps!

  320. Irma on

    Hi from the prairies of Manitoba, Canada! I grew up being surrounded by flowers in our short growing season and took over my mom’s flowerbeds in my early teens dreaming of one day growing fields of flowers! When I stumbled across your Instagram feed through Joy Prouty the idea of flower farming inspired me incredibly! I finally feel like my dreams of growing fields of flowers will become more than a dream! I married a cattle farmer 13 years ago so I have the land available to grow a lot, not to mention years of composted manure at my fingertips. I have ordered so, so many seeds (mostly from you, thanks for shipping to Canada!), along with some dahlias, ranunculus, and anenomes. This summer can’t come fast enough and your posts are so very timely for me! Looking forward to learning a lot this month.

    Reply
  321. Elizabeth Daniels on

    I’m so impressed by your honesty and generosity in sharing your knowledge. Thank you! Along with several commenters before me, I am excited to learn more about hoop houses (pros, are there cons…?), as well as the specifics of covering beds (when, what, how). I’ve failed miserably at acclimating seedlings to the outdoors and would sincerely appreciate very clear examples of how certain varieties can be transplanted without shock, especially now that we’ve moved from coastal zone 24 to the mercurial (but lush and beautiful) zone 4!

    Blessings to you and your team,
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  322. Prince Snow Farm on

    This post was so helpful! I am on the coast of Massachusetts with about a 4 month growing season. I have twelve large raised beds and grow lots of organic veggies. I also grow flowers. I just ordered lots of seeds from you and look forward to expanding this year. I cannot wait!

    Reply
  323. Carolyn on

    Your posts are so encouraging and beautiful! I would love to know what your spacing is for each type of plant and how you support the plants. Mine tend to flop when the flowers bloom. Thank you for your wonderful photos!

    Reply
  324. Colette on

    Such a great series! I really appreciate you sharing such great info for me to think on as I start planning this year’s garden. I am growing for our own personal use and I always have bigger plans than I can actually accomplish! Perfect timing!! I will look forward to your next posts and I really have enjoyed seeing a glimpse into your beautiful world !

    Reply
  325. Elizabeth on

    Working on a new strategy for growing a true cutting garden this year. Would love any advice on starting seeds. I don’t really have room to start seeds indoors and have done most of my seed planting directly in the ground with mixed results. Any thoughts you have on direct sowing would be particularly of interest. Thank you also for always being a source of beautiful inspiration. Can’t wait to get my Floret seeds growing.

    Reply
  326. Tracey on

    Today’s post has given me the push to Get Started. I live on a beautiful old Dairy and have plenty of space to grow some jewels. However ,I have had difficulty taking that first step of preparing some ground. I kept looking at the acre of untouched land that sits right beside my house. It was too daunting and after reading today’s inspiring Blogg ,I am getting into a corner ,just a corner, of that field today!!! Small Steps. Thank you and have a smiling day today.

    Reply
  327. Karen on

    February is a great time for all this information while we are planning the 2016 garden. We have plenty of room (a 78 acre Ohio farm, mostly in pasture) but need to wisely size the flower part of the garden to our available time and labor. I was planning to stay around a 1/4 acre space for the flowers like last season, however, the amount of seeds I bought from you and Johnnys probably mean expanding that space! I also grow salad greens to sell plus veggies for our family to eat year round and I’m convinced that interspersing flowers with veggies is helpful for insect control. I’m having my 11 year old son who is smitten with my dahlias and flowers read your posts as well. He loves the pictures.

    Reply
  328. Sandra Sarlinga on

    Thanks Erin for sharing with us all your journey with flowers and sharing with us your knowledge, this is so generous of you! Looking forward for the next blogs!

    Reply
  329. Killoran on

    I’m so looking forward to the rest of these posts! I’m just starting my work of reclaiming my plot from the brambles and grasses – and it is TOUGH. Especially with a toddler. I’ve learned a lot since last year, which was a trial run (a kind of, let’s see if this is something I actually like doing or if I’m just all about pretty flowers), and even so far this past month. I’ve learned not to set a day to do something (because toddler and Vancouver Island weather), rather have a list of tasks for the week. It makes it much more manageable and allows me more flexibility (read: less guilt).

    I’d definitely recommend joining a local gardening group on Facebook. I posted about removing yard waste containing invasives and a guy actually came with his truck and took away two and a half HUGE piles (taller than me) and gave me his old shovel and rake! People are nice. Gardeners and farmers like helping other gardeners and farmers.

    These are all the questions I asked myself last year and they are so, so important. I’m glad I did the trial. It made me realise that yes! I do want to do this (and why). I also learned that my plot is just the right size as far as the amount of time I can spare.

    I just cannot wait to get started and share!

    Reply
    • Kim on

      Killoran, whereabouts do you live? I ask, purely out of envy, because I love Vancouver Island, especially the Sooke and Metchosin areas.

      I keep threatening my hubby with a move to Sooke if Trump gets elected!

    • Killoran on

      Kim – I live in Victoria. I know a few people who live in Metchosin and they love it. I’ve yet to go, but hopefully soon! Whenever we go out of the city (and even in the city) I’m really amazed at the beauty of the province. My husband is American – I told him it’s a good thing we’ve finally started the immigration process. Haha.

  330. Kim on

    Thank you Erin. You have inspired me, echoed my emotions, put the seriousness in with the wildly riotous beauty and joy that growing flowers involves. My love of flowers is lifelong – beginning in my grandparents garden. Their soil was sooo good that it was springy and you could pull carrots out easily. Their flowers were beyond – and they let me wander, teaching me names, sharing slips and love of growing. Fast forward through various stages of gardening – to now – I am now a farmer – basil (fresh and for artisan Township Valley Farm pestos), hops (for our son’s craft brewery, Bald Mountain Brewery) and…cut flowers. The flowers give me such a mental break and I have happily learned my bouquets sell enough to notice. So, I want to expand this part of my business. As you know, farming is never done, I am usually behind on most things. One of my problems is always finding space for the flowers that are perennial. They become mixed in with the annuals, then I am scurrying around trying to transplant them before the next season’s tractoring. So I am taking your cue, and planting more in like-kind rows, and keeping the perennials separate (nothing like losing a Fama Blue). First rule, never plant where you can’t water. Thank You.

    Reply
  331. Paris on

    I loved this post, and I am excited for this upcoming series. I would like a “how to” for beginners, and maybe a budgeting timeline in how to steadily and sustainable grow year by year.

    Reply
  332. Katie Pence on

    Hi Erin,
    I bet you didn’t expect quite as many comments as you will get. I love the way you share information on this blog. Helping others also helps build awareness of fresh garden flowers, creating more customers.
    I think another thing you can do to create a cut flower farm, I have build many gardens and have grown and sold flowers for over thirty five years now. The first thing I do is start planting flowering shrubs, or shrubs with great foliage. These take years to get established. I buy small one gallon plants, or even 4″ or grow many plants from cuttings. Hydrangeas, roses, viburnums, abelia, weigelia, all types of willows, scented geraniums and many others can be grown from cuttings. This helps me always have year round flowers and interesting foliage to market. In the long run I can handle a huge garden of shrubs and perennials with small areas of annuals. Plus I plant it as my landscape so it makes my houses beautiful as well.

    Reply
  333. Angie on

    This is really helpful. I’m looking forward to your post about balancing being a parent to young children and starting a flower farm. I’m just getting started this spring, and I worry about how I’ll balance time in the garden with the needs of my 6 year old.

    Reply
  334. Erica van Emmerik on

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am just barely starting out and live in a city so will be using a small space behind my apartment building for now. I would love ideas of how to optimize space as well as the most fool proof flowers to start with. Also, I don’t think I can set up any irrigation so I may have to water them myself so any tips on that would be great as well. I am attendeding two of your workshops this year (!) and am so looking forward to every minute of them.

    Reply
  335. LindaQ on

    I forgot to add that Johnny’s Seeds has an interactive tool on their website that will give you the seed starting times for many of the flowers we grow. You just put in your last frost date and the program does the calculations for you! (The chart will show vegetables first and then the flowers.)

    Reply
  336. Cindy K on

    Thank you for sharing so much helpful information Erin, as always! I have a tiny garden and this post will help me from getting carried away with all of the temptations in seed catalogs rolling in right now. I’ll be growing more flowers from seed this year, including yours, and interested in learning more about creating a seed planting calendar/plan.

    Reply
  337. Catharine on

    Thank you for all the knowledge and inspiration that you share. Looking forward to the blog postings and your book when it comes out!

    Reply
  338. Jen on

    Keep it all coming Erin! I don’t know what the hell I am doing, but I’m determined to learn because I love watching you and your crew pull it all off! I have a small yard here in Kirkland WA that luckily already contains so many mature lovelies (camellia, hydrangea, several herbs, hellebore, iris, peony, rhodies, dahlia, huchera, hosts, bay leaf, holly, lilac etc etc). I pilfer from these plants constantly to supplement wholesale bought blooms for my small business. When I see your pics I just die to have those special blooms in my hands to play with! So, I’m biting off seed planting this year…I’m terrified, and reading everything you put down for insight! Looking forward to more tips and tricks, especially smaller scale ideas (sweet pea trellis? Mini hoop houses? Staking? Pest control?) to keep these beauts safe and healthy :) thank you!

    Reply
  339. LindaQ on

    My venture into flower farming started when my husband had the idea that our granddaughter and her friends could grow flowers and sell them by the side of the road. When I found out that all they planted were zinnias I went to all of the area garden centers to find seedlings of flowers that we could mix with the zinnias to make bouquets. Unfortunately garden centers sell primarily bedding flowers, not tall growing ones! I did find some rocket snapdragons and Victoria blue salvia so these were the basis for our bouquets the first year along with some sunflowers and we did OK selling our ‘Petite Bouquets’ at a local farmers market. The girls had a great time and wanted to do it again the following year! With that in mind I searched the internet and came across Lynn Byczynski’ book, ‘The Flower Farmer’ which in turn led me to the “Growing for Market” newsletter. I opted for the full subscription and downloaded all past articles about flower farming, most of which you wrote Erin! I also went to a local flower farm that sold cut flowers by the pound and picked one of each kind of flower and brought them home to identify and look up growing information. So many things to remember but it is all worth it in the end!

    Reply
  340. Jeanette on

    Thank you for this upcoming series of posts! I fell in love with flowers this year while planning my wedding and working with an incredible farmer florist, Carolyn Snell. I have a little space behind my apartment in Portland, Maine and I’m trying to plan a little garden that will keep me present and grateful. I’ve tried veggies in the past, but I’m so excited to try flowers this year to have cut flowers in my house and share with friends. Looking for tips on shade specifically, and any advice to turn a small cement area between two apartment buildings into a flower kingdom.

    Reply
  341. Hanneke on

    You are such an inspiration! I absolutely love your blog with the beautiful photo’s. The tips are really useful I must say. I live in the Netherlands but I think our climate corresponds with yours. I always feel so enthousiastic at the beginning of the season that I sow too much. This year I will try to sow more with intervalls so that the flowering season of, for example Antirhinum, will be prolonged. Do you sow with intervals? I look forward to your next posts!

    Reply
  342. Angela on

    Erin, I love how open you are about the realness of running your business– I really look up to you!! I am so excited for this month of posts from Floret! We bought a house recently and are getting into landscaping and gardening our new home this spring. We’ve gardened & grown a few cut flowers at our previous home, but I am anticipating this next month of posts will guide us into doing even more with the small space that we have. Thank you!

    Reply
  343. Michelle on

    Thank you so much for this article. It gave me some things to think about while also giving me encouragement that I am heading in the right direction.
    I am hoping to start growing flowers on a farm in Norfolk but currently I am trying to narrow down the list of flowers I can grow and would like to grow. I would love to grow them all but don’t think I have the space for one thing and there is no way I could grow them all well!

    I will definitely be using your 6 questions as guidance.
    Thank you again!

    Reply
  344. kate on

    Thank you, Erin! I currently live in a small apartment with no garden but am searching for a plot of land to call home and to start growing flowers. These posts are so helpful and very much appreciated.

    Reply
  345. Shari on

    Hello Erin and Floret crew. I am grateful for your blog posts; you write beautifully. Your posts are always one of the roses of my day. I am guilty of having gone hog wild with ordering seeds from your site. Now I find myself with over 1,000 seeds and after having read this post, clarity is coming at me hard and fast. My goal is simply to have beautiful flowers for myself and friends. I have space, time and a wee amount of money for the project. However, like your friend, I live in a high desert and suffer from a short growing season. Should I extend my season by establishing a seed starting station in my basement? Should I build a hoop house in my pasture? Would low tunnels be more advantageous? All of the above? Since I have an excess of seed and am a complete newbie, would I be better off to plant a small portion of seeds this year and learn from trial and error? Will unplanted seeds hold over until next year? Thanks again for your time, graciousness and generosity with your blog. You’re totes amazeballs.

    Reply
  346. Eriko on

    Your photos and beautiful flowers always make me want to consider growing some flowers – whether for texture or for color – in my backyard to supplement my flower shop, especially for bridal clients. Reading your stories help realize it’s a lot of hard work, but also rewarding. However, constant visits by deers keep me from trying as they eat everything. If you have any tips and advise to deal with the animals that can interfere with the flower farming, it’d be great to hear about it!

    Reply
  347. Cill on

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about this series of posts. I am interested in soil amendment, pest prevention/treatments, how to prune flowers for maximum production, and how to find buyers. Thanks for sharing all this information!

    Reply
  348. Hannah on

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking such time to instruct us and provide us with abundant information and personal insight. This blog has been the greatest resource I have come across. Last year I too discovered that flower farming is my north star, yet I am mama of a toddler, renting a house in town while the husband is just starting grad school and have felt a lot of discouragement, that it will take me years to even get going with my dream. But, this blog, your help, has lifted me out of that slump and I am starting seeds in my laundry room, plotting out my small yard, and holding on to the vision. Thank you for inspiring and sharing. xoxo

    Reply
  349. Sarah Jordan on

    I really appreciate your generosity is sharing info like this. Just the other day I was thinking of printing of your “How To’s” for planting sweet peas. They will be a great reference. I am a mom with two girls under the age of 5 so it was reassuring to read your post and that you’ve been there too!

    Reply
  350. Elisa on

    As someone just starting out this year I find this post (and indeed all your other posts) extremely helpful. I have had a dream of farming flowers for about eight years now, and finally it seems to be coming true. You have been an immense source of inspiration during this time, and I am truly grateful for your generous sharing of knowledge and being a such tower of inspiration! Really looking forward to your next posts as they could not have come at a better time for me.

    Reply
  351. Helena Svermova on

    Shortly… All you do, is just GREAT! Thank You!
    I wonder if I would be able to get Your planned book in a e-book version in Europe, especially in the Czech Republic..
    I was prepared this morning to read Your post and then I realized that I must wait little longer :)

    Reply
    • daniella garcia on

      i love flowers i have all types of them in my garden

  352. lindsey0009 on

    Erin and the Floret team, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and passion! I am always excited to read new postings on your blog but I am especially excited about this series! I’m a home gardener but would love to expand to selling to others. I’m interested in learning more about fertilizer and irrigation. Also how do you go about approaching stores and florists? Also farmers markets vs CSA shares pros/cons. Anyone’s experience in starting out is helpful! Many thanks and blessings to you and the Floret family.

    Reply
  353. angela compton on

    thank you so much for making the time to guide and coach us along with hope and encouragement. I live in South Florida and have some experience in organice farming but never with flowers. Im looking forward to learning and “growing” with you and facing any challenges with our hot, humid, and sometimes endless rainy days!

    Reply
  354. Sarah - my flower cart on

    Your honesty that comes across in each post has saved me many a time! I’m in my first year and felt very tearful looking at the weeds as they grew out of my control around the flowers this month (high summer here in New Zealand)! Soul destroying! Your comment about not to expect things RIGHT NOW is so important too. I thought I’d be much further ahead than I am but I’m realising that this is going to be a low growing business for me. I’d love to just see more of the detail of your flower farm. How you plan for the coming season (quantities, varieties, how you plan your field space). Would love to see inside your hoop house (I haven’t got one….yet…..) Just love your posts. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  355. Lindsey on

    Yes yes yes!!
    After reading The Flower Farmer and doing some research and preparing to overtake my parents backyard…I had a baby and got engaged to a wonderful man with 4 wonderful children. Now I want to grow our wedding flowers for this September in the raised beds he built for me last year.
    It seems most of the information out there isn’t for my climate (west central Wisconsin). Sifting through and organizing start dates and such can be a bit daunting. This is going to be wonderful now that I am planning a wedding with an infant and 4 other kiddos! since becoming engaged all I can think about is the flowers, watching them bloom in the garden is so centering they do just bring you into the present moment and open your heart. Looking forward to the coming posts!!

    Reply
  356. Gretchen on

    It’s funny that I ‘found’ you; I was born and raised in woodinville, WA. Now I’m in Missouri where we have about 5 acres of land, 3 of it old grazing pasture. I was inspired for years by the gal in Monroe who does the $5 bouquets. My plan is to start small with seeds, just growing for myself and friends, see how that goes and add raised beds a few each year if I find demand, energy, and success. I’m very much looking forward to learning from you and your team.

    Reply
  357. drea @ morning glory acres on

    How I love this series!! There is no way to estimate just how many scrapes you have saved us as we started our flower venture! We (my husband and I) wanted to make flower farming a full time business, but no matter how many questions we asked hundreds of people, no one could tell us if we could really make a full time living for our family doing this! That is why your family has inspired us! I see it IS possible! This is our 3rd season, and things have gone beyond what I ever dreamed! My husband will work exclusively at the farm for about 8-9 months out of this year! And if last year was any indication, our dream will come true by the next year or so! We have one little one, so have to juggle a bit, but we plan on having 2 part time helpers this season to help with the load!

    One thing I don’t think you ever mention is delivery vehicles! What do you use and why? We’ve poured over this question for months now, and finally bought a Isuzu reefer box truck! Everyone has a different schedule, amount of flowers on each delivery, and so many other variables, that we had a hard time with it! I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject tho!

    Once again, you save the day!! Keep it up please!! I was so thrilled to hear that you read every comment! Means so much..

    Reply
  358. Sandy Allenbaugh on

    Erin I appreciate the time you have invested in helping me and others think thru the process of growing flowers. I grew up in Anacortes and picked tulip bulbs in the Skagit Valley during my high school years in the summers(which was a very long time ago). I think that is where my love of flowers began. Since that time we have lived in many different places in the US and Africa for 10+ years. I now live in Arkansas where the summers are very hot and humid. I have tried to grow zinnias and heirloom roses, but have not had a whole lot of success. I would love to be able to make arrangements of flowers and to be able to share with friends. We have a designated area for a garden with several raised beds that I would like to grow flowers in? We do compost and add that to our soil.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts. You are truly an
    inspiration!!

    Reply
  359. Trina Coombes on

    Fabulous, really looking forward to this series of postings.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  360. Jan, JW Blooms. England on

    Oh, and something else (sorry, am on a bit of a roll now…) I totally agree about not trying to do everything. Better to start small and do it really well than to take on everything and muck it up -better for morale and enjoyment, that is, as well as profits.
    Oh, and keep records! When you planted, sowed, harvested, the weather… Only that way can you replicate the successes or improve on the failures the following year.

    Reply
  361. Olivia on

    I dont know how you do it all, but I sure am glad that you do!! I’m a frequent lurker, so this is my first time commenting. I worked in a greenhouse all through high school and college and it was such a great escape from school and life stresses. I always said “How can i be angry/sad/stressed/melancholy when I am surrounded by such an abundance of beauty?!” . I’m a young mother now with three and a half year old twins so my green house days are over. We just moved from an apartment to a house with a YARD and a deck and I am just absolutely thrilled for my first spring with a yard!! I am wondering if you have any advice on growing cutting flowers in pots? We are renting and i’m not allowed to do TOO much in the way of gardening in the ground, so I’m restricted to mostly containers. Love coming to your blog for a quick, quiet escape into your garden and thoughts. Thank you! Looking forward to more posts!!

    Reply
  362. Jan, JW Blooms. England on

    Something also important to bear in mind is that when making your favourite pastime your job, there is a risk that the stress of it could put you off it for life! If that’s a risk you can’t take, it may be worth getting a job that isn’t related to that but which allows you to expand the time you spend on your beloved hobby.
    I have (after many years) an agreement with myself that if the business ever threatens to make me resent growing flowers, I will get out immediately and instead use what I’ve learnt to develop the most amazing garden to sit in and enjoy (and of course impress the hell out of my friends with!)

    Reply
  363. Amy on

    Erin, I know you get everyone telling you this on a daily basis, hundreds of times on all of the different social media platforms and your blogs, but never underestimate just how much inspiration, encouragement and support you give to all of us that have an ear to listen to you. Your posts always fan the flames of flower love and they are just so helpful and informative. You make it real. My only frustration I am finding myself, now that my time is becoming freed up from little uns, is coping with my own impatience. For a good year now I have been searching high and low for some land to grow on and despite living in the depths of the countryside, surrounded by farming land in Devon,UK it would seem impossible to find anyone willing to rent me any land. But I am determined to keep searching, but in the meantime I will keep my dream alive by watching and listening to you living yours!

    Reply
  364. Jane Berry on

    Hello, Planning my second year as a flower farmer and your posts are always helpful and I enjoy reading them. Good questions for someone to ask themselves before jumping in. I had great success last year in growing flowers but I need to find better outlets to sell them at. I went to a farmers market weekly and sold to a florist. I ordered a hoop house to put up in the next month so I can get a jump on the season and maybe have flowers in June instead of July. So anyway I love reading the blog, love the look of it-the colors and font and pictures and such. Thanks for all the advice you give flower growers, new & old!

    Reply
  365. Barbara Ayers, Waverly School Farm on

    Hi Erin,
    I run a one acre school farm (where cut flowers are our most profitable crop) and actively dream about moving to an area where I can have enough land to be a full-time flower farmer. Your blog has been an inspiration to me for ages, and I am really looking forward to the upcoming posts. I especially love all the little insider tips (like chilling bupleurum flats wrapped in plastic bags– finally, success!). Thanks so much for all you share, and I’m looking forward to your book!

    Reply
  366. Terri on

    About three kids ago, I started getting the stirrings of wanting to start a flower farm. It has only intensified as the years have gone on much to my husband’s chagrin. Kid after kid (after kid) followed and this fall I felt like I had enough breathing room to finally pursue my dream with the youngest being almost four. I bought tons of bulbs, ordered peonies, seeds, bought a fancy walk-behind tractor, etc., etc. only to find out in October that I’m pregnant with my fifth in July. It is much too late to turn back now and frankly, I’m SUPER excited to finally get a go at this thing but I’m overwhelmed by undergoing my first season with a newborn. I have a contract with a market to sell 100 bouquets a week (!!!) and I can’t imagine how I will do it all; I’m thinking I will need consistent help. My oldest daughter is 11 and my next oldest is 8. I’m wondering what farm responsibilities you were comfortably able to transfer to your children, did you pay them to help you, and if it comes to this, I’d love to know how you go about finding and keeping good help and how to delegate responsibilities to them? Oh my gosh, I love you and am so excited about the Blog Blizzard.

    Reply
    • lindsey0009 on

      Terri,
      Just an idea, but what if you offered a mentoring opportunity? I know it’s your first season but you will still be able to offer up lots of advise, ideas, and growing pains with someone else who loves flowers or who is interested in possibly having their own business. I’ll come to help! Blessings and best wishes!

  367. Audrey Coley on

    I love your blog and I am so very excited for these posts. I am setting up a booth this year at the farmers market and I am turning over some of my farm land to flowers. I have 2 older children and one toddler so I would love more info about planning and how not to do too much. I would like to grow enough to sell at market and enough for us to enjoy. I hate weeding and would love more info about controlling weeds. I second the comments above about some basic flowers for beginners that are great sellers. Thanks so very much!

    Reply
  368. Samantha on

    Thank you for sharing all of your perspective and insight. As a previous seasonal farmer I would have to stress that prospective farmers have the financial means to start a new agricultural business. This often comes from a spouse or a more reliable job, but it is a very important factor that often gets glazed over. Are you partnered with someone who will give or loan you money to start this operation? Do you have health insurance? Is it any good? Because you will get hurt at some point in your life, especially if you are farming! How many years can you go without a profit? How will that affect your family and yourself?

    Money is sometimes an unfun topic, especially in small scale agriculture, but so very important to discuss from the start.

    Reply
  369. Ann on

    I have hemmed and hawed about responding to this fabulous blog of yours I’ve discovered. I truly feel it has been a bit of “Devine intervention” if you will. I have for many years now enjoyed sewing my own seeds on a small scale. I’ve always loved the thrill of the process. How something so small and insignificant can emerge into something full of so much beauty, delight and awe!My children are much older now, though unfortunately I lost my oldest son a year and a half ago. Maybe it’s that loss that has given me the jump start I need to tred down roads a bit unknown? As I began to investigate the idea little further, low and behold I found your blog! It felt so wonderful to have something to grab hold of to pull me out of the darkness .The idea of information being launched forward to all of us following you, couldn’t be more important! I have to say at this stage of my life,I feel I have finally out grown the need for immediate gratification. Meaning, I’m able to think about this endeavor more proportionally. Don’t bite off more then you can handle, and make the most of the bite, even if its small to begin with. I’m really hoping for quality in what I take on, but it has to be manageable and realistic out of the gate! So please, continue on! Your knowledge is a goldmine for us all! Oh, I read many of the old blogs and have to say my favorite is dated April 15, 2015. After all it’s the sum of all our experiences that creates the person we become. God bless

    Reply
  370. Erin on

    I am sooo excited for this series of posts!
    I love the questions you’ve outlined. I’m super keen to know ballpark numbers for start up costs and what fair prices are for renting or leasing land. As far as I know, no one grows flowers in my on rented or leased land, just food (Squamish, BC, CAN). My task right now is finding some land and pitching a fair price for growing. I’m sure all my questions on what to grow and how will be answered in your upcoming posts so I will stay keenly tuned. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  371. Katelyn on

    Thank you! So looking forward to this series of posts. Going into my 3rd season of flower farming on 1 acre, and I feel like it’s the “make it or break it” season. Trying hard to remember that every season is another lesson learned, and that it my business will grow along with me.

    Reply
  372. Ann on

    I have hemmed and hawed about responding to this fabulous blog of yours I’ve discovered. I truly feel it has been a bit of “Devine intervention” if you will. I have for many years now enjoyed sewing my own seeds on a small scale. I’ve always loved the thrill of the process. How something so small and insignificant can emerge into something full of so much beauty, delight and awe! It’s so wonderful to cultivate something from nature that can become such a pleasure to so many. I have 5 children and was at home most of the years while they were growing up.Many times I had tossed around the idea of selling vegetables and flowers from my home and at the market. It always seemed I was a bit too busy juggling so many hats that it never came to fruition. During the fall of last year I began to really ponder the flower thing. My children are much older now, though unfortunately I lost my oldest son a year and a half ago. Maybe it’s that loss that has given me the jump start I need to tred down roads a bit unknown? As I began to investigate the idea little further, low and behold I found your blog! It felt so wonderful to have something to grab hold of to pull me out of the darkness that has engulfed me! The idea of information being launched forward to all of us following you, couldn’t be more important! I have to say at this stage of my life,I feel I have finally out grown the need for immediate gratification. Meaning, I’m able to think about this endeavor more proportionally. Don’t bite off more then you can handle, and make the most of the bite, even if its small to begin with. I’m really hoping for quality in what I take on, but it has to be manageable and realistic out of the gate! So please, continue on! Your knowledge is a goldmine for us all! Oh, I read many of the old blogs and have to say my favorite is dated April 15, 2015. After all it’s the sum of all our experiences that creates the person we become. God bless

    Reply
  373. Debby on

    I am ready to get serious about having beautiful flowers in my garden and I am so excited that I have found Floret. Everything that you do is beautiful. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Reply
  374. Jennifer on

    I’m so excited to for this blog blizzard month! I particularly liked the question about how much time and energy is available. I started growing flowers for a farmers’ market when I only had two young children and then we were blessed to have three more. I have to constantly remind myself that I cannot do it all … which is sometimes hard when I follow so many other flower farmers facebook and instagram accounts and am constantly seeing all their successes. I’m learning that I’m happiest when I don’t bite off more then I can chew. I would rather walk out to my field and see less weeds and more happy flowers that were properly taken care of.

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  375. Denise on

    Love your blog, always helpful.

    Reply
  376. Lisa on

    Great post! As a mom of an energy-filled two year old and a 10-month old, I appreciate your reminder on taking time and energy into account. Looking forward to hearing how you fit it all in and can’t wait for spring so I can start my Floret seeds!

    Reply
  377. Celia Spillmann on

    Thank you for putting so much energy in lifting up others and providing some great resources. I’m just starting out as a flower farmer in North Carolina and trying to learn as much as fast as I can, and your blog is one of my favorite and most helpful resources. This year is my trial run and learning curve, and your tips and questions have helped me set myself up for a smarter and more enjoyable experience.

    Can I still have a good first year without hoop houses?

    I don’t have any experience with conditioning my soil, do you have any good resources for that? (Waiting on some soil samples now)

    Thank you again for being my flower farm hero.

    Reply
  378. Kara on

    I am so excited about this series! I am thrilled to start thinking about starting a small flower garden in my Minnesota backyard! Thank you!

    Reply
  379. Lacy on

    I love your blog and Instagram feed! I live in Skagit Valley as well (near Edison) and am always excited to see the lovely photographs you post. I garden purely for personal pleasure on a much smaller scale, but glean helpful tips and inspiration from your site. Thank you!

    Reply
  380. Krys on

    Knowing what you know now I think it would be great if you’d post your top flowers for beginners ones you had the most luck with and the ones that perhaps a new flower grower should skip. Obviously it’ll be slightly different for everyone reading it when you factor in climate and soil but as a newer flower grower I always wonder if I’m missing out on a really nice flower to grow or wasting time and money trying to grow a particular flower.

    Reply
  381. Shannon B. on

    I am a home-gardener with only about a tenth of an acre and every year I dig out a little more grass for my expanding flower garden. I live in the high-Sierra desert where we have hot summer days cold nights, and where water is a limited resource.

    For me, there’s nothing better than growing flowers. I love the physical work of gardening (I have a full-time desk job), the waiting and care that goes into creating something so magical, and of course the pay-off of having a yard and house filled with beautiful blooms. I love to make gigantic, outrageous bouquets as well as tiny, simple ones.

    I sometimes think about selling my flowers to florists, restaurants, or doing a small bouquet subscription, but don’t think I have what it takes to be a fulltime flower farmer. I’ve visited your farm and have seen how much work it is firsthand.

    I have a lot to learn and would like some tips on setting up drip lines; how you plan when to start seeds indoors, plant them in the ground, etc.; and building great soil. Thank you, Erin and Floret!

    Reply
  382. Jenny Rae on

    Can’t wait for this slew of blog posts! So excited to learn some of your growing tricks and tips, helpful tools that are worth while and overall some ways how to work smarter- not harder! Thanks for being awesome and so inspiring.

    Reply
  383. Kristen on

    This is so great! I am really looking forward to this series. Last year was my very first year planting flowers and I had some difficulties with the timing of everything. I was so surprised that I didn’t see any flowers until the middle of July! What is the best way to really plan everything out so you have something blooming most of the growing season and that the things that are blooming look good together so you can use them in arrangements. I know better this year and am going to try and start some seeds indoors so any more advice on how to rig up a seed starting system in your house (unfortunately no greenhouse) would be great. Also the best way to keep weeds out of your isles would be wonderful. And how to arrange all the beautiful flowers you just grew! Oh, and any money saving tips you might have. Thanks for putting this all together.

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  384. brenda on

    Thanks Erin for the wonderful insights that you share. I am just starting this spring with planting on 1/2 acre and I read everything you write. I have a very short growing season so it is nice to know that it can be done. Thanks again!

    Reply
  385. Grace E. on

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m a reader who, until now, would just pop in occasionally to admire your hard work and beautiful flowers. But this year, I’ve become inspired to expand from growing veggies to creating a large flower garden. Posts like these that are full of so much content and advice (that you’re so generously sharing) will definitely keep me checking in more regularly. Thank you!

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  386. Kathy on

    I think these are great questions and super important, even for those of us who have been growing for a while. It’s always good to think about where we are going and why. Thank you.

    Reply
  387. Jennifer on

    Hi Erin! I’m just starting out and have begun prepping my soil and building garden beds. Your mention of the monetary investment required really hit home for me! Along the way I’ve been keeping track of every expense, and just recently have begun feeling overwhelmed with the amount of start-up costs involved, which was compounded by receiving our soil tests back last week indicating we’ll need quite a bit of compost and organic amendments to get on track. Although it’s trying at times, it’s reassuring to know that others have gone through this as well and is inspiration to keep going!

    Reply
  388. kim moyer on

    Hi Erin,
    I am soooo excited by this series you are beginning. I am a newbie and want to learn as much as possible before getting started. As a mom of three (ages 7, 10, and 12), I am really interested in how you all manage your family life around Floret. Would you mind sharing? We are toying with the idea of homeschooling too, but I can’t wrap my head around how one successfully runs a business and home educates simultaneously. Thanks so much for your kindheartedness and generosity!

    Reply
  389. Ashley on

    Erin,
    I remember when I planted my first “official large scale” flower garden. I had been dreaming of growing cut flowers for years and was finally going to have land to do it! It was the spring after we had purchased our property and simply put it was an utter disaster…I made so many mistakes! I was so heartbroken and felt like the biggest failure. I put my flower plans away thinking I’ll come back to them when I’m ready. Then about a year later I was standing in line at target and came across a magazine with an article about you and your family….It was so heart-tuggingly-inspiring! I read that article over and over. It gave me hope! I pulled those flower plans out, scaled down a bit and became more realistic about what I could grow. That year I grew more bouquets than I thought possible in such a tiny area! I have loved reading and seeing how much you have created and accomplished! The wonderful and supportive community you have curated and how you have inspired so many others like myself! Your information has helped me and guided me so many times. I am so looking forward to reading what you have in store for this series. I personally would love more info on succession planting. Knowing which varieties best follow others and how to get the most varieties out of a season has always been a topic I really want to know more about. Thank you for creating such a space for learning and sharing…it means more to most of us than you know! Thank you thank you!

    Reply
  390. Erin on

    I have the land, and the machinery, and the passion/drive but what I don’t have is the time! I have a full+ time job (that I actually really enjoy) plus my husband and I have a beef farm where we rotationally graze and grow all of the cows winter food. So my question for you or anyone else that may want to chime in is how do I make this a business that will pay the bills while I am working at my job that actually pays the bills? There is no way I can chuck the current job to dash after my dreams. But how do I make my dreams a reality?

    Reply
  391. Yelena on

    I simply love your blog and have been using it as a way to daydream of one day starting my own little flower venture! I am guilty of bouncing back on here on an almost daily basis to see if there has been a new post and to sometime simply just escape into the flower photos!

    I find your blogs highly informative and take notes all the time!

    I’m interested in learning more about soil amendments, when starting out, as well as watering techniques/methods. I would also love to learn how to actually divide dahlia tubers. It seems that every year I buy tubers, but am never able to actually divide them before they all shrivel up (or do divide them and they shrivel up and I just give up and end up tossing them). I’m also interested to see photos of pinching back flowers, when they’re starting out to promote branching and as well, plant maintenance when they’re producing. I know people keep saying the more you cut, the more they will produce. IS there a proper way to cut to promote growth/treatment of the parent plant? So many questions…so little time! :)

    As always, thank you for your posts and dedication to the flower community!

    Reply
  392. Sharon on

    Your business is an inspiration to me, and I have learned so much from your blog. Thank you. Would you consider posting more information about woodies? Lessons learned, your favorites, best sellers (and duds) — any and all information would be great.

    Reply
  393. Gaylynn on

    Hi Erin!!! Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge. I have been gardening for many years and every time I read one of your posts, I learn something new. I purchased some of your flower seeds and cannot wait to see the results. I love marrying vegetables and flowers together, my beds always look so beautiful. Thanks again for all the inspiration!!!???

    Reply
  394. Giulia on

    Thanks Erin, your advices are so important for me!!! This will be my first year in flower farm. I live in the north of Italy, in my farm I have a lot of land, so not space limitation (that isn’t always a good thing!!!). And my climate is almost the same than your. When I discover your blog you gave me the confidence to start. Thanks thanks thanks for all!!!!

    Reply
  395. Abby on

    Thanks for your blog, Erin! We just moved into a new house last summer in NC (but we used to live in Seattle, and my husband is from Skagit Valley, yay!) with a nice big, flat, sunny backyard. We’re really looking forward to growing some of our own food. I’d also love to keep fresh flowers in the house as much as possible! I’d be very interested in hearing about prep for “virgin ground” — steps we can take starting now, when to start seeds inside, etc. I’d also love to hear your climate-specific recommendations, as we live in the Southeast, and it’s quite hot and humid for probably 7 months out of the year! Thanks!!

    Reply
  396. Delta Breeze on

    Thank you! Looking forward to hearing more about how you balance it all and how you prevent being overgrown with weeds!

    Reply
  397. Rebekah Critchlow on

    I’m so excited about this and the upcoming posts! I’ve recently decided to go for it and start learning how to flower farm and start a new business from this. I’ve got a small plot of land (in the UK), about 600 square metres, and so many questions it makes my head hurt just thinking of them. I feel like when I look at the big picture its like being a rabbit in the headlights. I guess what I worry about the most is the admin of arranging a plot…like, once you have a long list of blooms and greens you would like to include, how do you short list so that you have the best and most efficient use of your space through out the different seasons and for using in floristry? How do you get the quantities right for limited space so that you have enough variety but also enough quantity? Its the detail I struggle with sometimes, I’m constantly thinking how wonderful it would be for a more established flower farm to show exactly and in detail how they did the previous year..site maps, plant lists, planting schedule..but thats quite a lot to ask. I would also love to hear more about how you started the floristry side to the business! Thanks for sharing what you do and love, it is so very much appreciated!

    Reply
  398. Kay Chandler on

    Thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge. It’s like finding a pot of gold! I am about to dip my toes in the water this year and begin my first paddock of flowers. this blog will certainly has encouraged me think through and plan what will work best for my growing conditions and lifestyle. I would be very interested in learning about how to prep my soil and also about practical equipment that you use etc. The practical information you share is relevant no matter where in the world people live.
    Kay, NZ

    Reply
  399. Paulina Alesand on

    Hej!
    We are just getting started over here in Sweden. I stumbled over you at Instagram, while I was looking for inspiration and people that are flower farmers. Here in Sweden you can’t find that! I am so excited that I found you just at the right moment. I struggel with the laungue and hope that you understand what I’m writing, English isn’t so easy for me ☺️.

    Being a mom and having your own flower farm, planing the season and important things you should think about as a newbie are things I wonder. Thankful for all the tips I can get! Your blogg is my evening lecture right know and it have already helped me a lot.

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and opening up your beautifull world for us.

    Bästa hälsningar Paulina

    Reply
    • Veronica Wendt on

      Your English was nearly perfect, better than a lot of Americans :) Good luck to you!!

  400. Jennifer Flowers Logan--Whimsy Flower Farm on

    Looking for income ideas, I was inspired by your sweet pea posts in January 2014 and started growing for local farmers markets. This summer, we are tilling right at one acre. Your generosity in providing all manners of info from seed selection to soil prep, growing notes and harvest tips has turned our family of six into a farm family in two seasons. My teenagers are learning valuable life lessons about self-employment, hard work and passionate dedication, but most importantly, all four kids get to see Mom pursue a dream and Dad throw his energy into making it happen! Great adventure for us all!

    Reply
    • Barbara on

      You have been so generous with sharing your flower growing knowledge.
      Last year a grew more dahlias so I would enough for bouquets…I was so inspired by the beauty of your photographs .
      I live on four acres of land, I wish I could cultivate it into a beautiful massive flower garden…..just not sure how to go about preparing the land.
      I will study your blog and see what I can learn.
      Thank you for all your sharing.

  401. Laura/ Sunnyside Drive Flowers on

    I am so excited for the series! My sister and I are starting our first year! In the Chicagoland area. We are neighbors and combined have 10 acres – however we have woods and hills and a 2 acre pond and some areas that are low … So figuring out the best spots and where to compost and what will work for hoop houses is all a bit daunting! It was very encouraging to read that you started with two young kiddos maybe your expectations were high but you did it nonetheless! I have seven myself all under the age of eight so I am trying very hard to plan realistically – I can’t wait to read more!!!

    Reply
  402. Anna on

    I have been growing flowers in a small way now for a few years and your blog is a real inspiration fiving me new ideas and ways to improve how I do things, its a journey of discovery there is always so much we can learn and improve, thanks.

    Reply
  403. Lynn on

    Erin, what a fantastic article with much needed thoughts. I live in Oklahoma and can grow almost anything it seems. I’m putting in 3 new 3’x12’x1′ beds, am going to see how the growing season progresses. Almost everything I’m putting in is from you!! I’m taking it slow, not going too nuts, and see how I do this first year in intensive gardening. My goal is to move to hopefully an acre of land – I don’t think by myself it would be wise to attempt more, as I have a full time job. I want to eventually do small weddings and sell at the farmer’s market. I’m so looking forward to the continuation of your initial article – and yes, I absolutely have considered all of your questions :) Thank you for being so amazingly generous with your time and knowledge!!

    Reply
  404. patricia on

    Thank you for the posts. I keep looking at my seeds and wondering when should i start? I live in southern california and our weather has been so
    unpredictable these past 5 years that I can’t rely on past gardens for timing. Hello El Nino. I grow flowers just because I love them. I really appreciate the beautiful posts, images and words that you share with all of us. I look forward to this continuing series.

    Reply
  405. Jessica Braun on

    I love how you emphasized that you can grow flowers even if you only have a few pots! Renters with no yards need inspiration too!

    Reply
  406. Sondra on

    I began gardening to keep the legacy of my grandmother’s garden alive. I spent many joyful hours in the garden with my grandmother and watched as she literally saved pennies to buy seeds. Now, I want to pass the memories on to my children. I have three ages six, four, and two and would love any advice for gardening with children and how to garden when you have so many children to also care for…my kids will have their own garden plots this spring and they are looking forward to digging n! But I also want to know how to fit gardening into our days – I usually find little moments to tuck into the gardening throughout the day. Thank you.

    Reply
  407. Allison on

    Hi. I’m looking forward to reading this series. I live in the [very humid and hot] pineywoods of East Texas. For a time my husband and I grew vegetables, a little bit, for a small farmer’s market in Houston. We would offer bouquets of sunflowers and zinnias. We grow both every year, but now just for ourselves as we are no longer growing for market. I dream a lot about things we’re going to do “someday” and more flowers is one of the dreams I have, so I am reading with interest what you have to say. We have a pretty long growing season, on average March 15-November 15 (although our first freeze this winter was January 4). Issues are always soil health, pests and disease. I think what you’re doing is just magnificent, the growing and managing itself, your venture into offering seeds, you’re online presence, offering words of wisdom and teaching, all while raising a family and having a home life. Pretty amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    • Allison on

      I’m also Allison in East Texas, and much of my comment could read the same as yours, though we are closer to Dallas than Houston. Soil, pests, and water (not enough or too much!)-Those are some our biggest concerns too. I’m so excited about this series since this is our first year trying to grow a large amount of flowers. We have 8 acres but some places have excellent drainage, and others are quite soggy. The wild flowers seem to like it, so I have hope that I can use it.

  408. Heidi on

    Thank you for sharing these questions. I look forward to your series. We are stepping into year one this year. Seeds are ordered and map in progress. Working on the steps for field prep so when the snow is gone we can have a smooth transition from seed to harvest.

    Reply
  409. Roxine on

    Thank you so much for your articles! I am hoping to become a farmer-florist and am starting small (in ground to plant), but may have gone a little hog-wild in ordering seed :-) Your posts are so beautiful and informational and very much appreciated.

    Reply
  410. Terri Todd - Stolen Flowers Farm on

    Erin, I am cheering your success and generosity so loudly that if you step outside and listen toward the southeast you’ll hear me rebel yellin’ all the way from Armuchee, Georgia!! xoxox

    Reply
  411. Lauren on

    Thank you Erin! I am really looking forward to your climate specific post as I live in the low desert of Arizona and there isn’t much info for growing in our area, specifically on quick flowering varieties that do well in heat. I have loved the growing info on the seed packets and especially the growing guides, looking forward to more wonderful, useful info!!

    Reply
  412. Glynis on

    As per your request, I am referencing your blog daily as I kickstart my farm with a branch in growing cut flowers for market. You, Lynn Byzinski and the Johnny’s Growers Library are my three manuals. Thank you!

    Reply
  413. Rachell on

    Your honesty about the hard parts and not just the pretty parts of being a farmer is great. I’d love to see a post about managing the workload when you have little kids. Thank you!

    Reply
  414. Amanda on

    I’m so looking forward to this series! We’ve just purchased land (6 acres!) and plan to move out on to it within the next couple of months. I’m anxious to be productive outside this year! I’m very interested in reading about planting zones, when to start the seeds vs when to put them outside, and getting results where it gets pretty hot during the summer! Thank you so much for all of the hard work you’re putting into this. <3

    Reply
  415. Allison on

    Hello Erin & thank you for the information. Your 6 questions were exactly what I was looking for as my husband and I plan for our 1st year as flower farmers! We will be discussing these questions and our answers, at length. Your photographs are V E R Y helpful to me and always inspirational. (I have your calendar over my work table & my sister sent me your postcards as necessary visuals…love them!) I look to you daily as my source for information and encouragement. Keep it coming! ;-) Allison

    Reply
  416. Shyla on

    Erin, thankyou for this. This information is needed & so so appreciated. Thankyou for sharing what you know with others. I’m so thankful.

    Reply
  417. bronwyn on

    I hardly wanted to get out of bed this morning. Yesterday I spent the day plotting our future cut flower garden, it is located in the most spence part of our farm, with a great view of our veg. patch and young orchard. I spent hours planning, digging, raking, pulling up weeds, and plotting. I woke up knowing it would be another day of physically demanding work. Although at first I was not too keen on layering up in long johns to go out into the cold to make these crazy dreams of mine become a reality, but knowing the cut flower farming community is full of people willing to help, share, and guide others makes it all worth it. Farming is about community and not competition, and articles like this keep me going when my body says take a rip to Mexico for the rest of your life ….. In no other industry would people be so open and willing to share what’s worked for them – this is a godsend to beginners like me! As for my question, what were some of your most valued mistakes in your career as a flower farmer? As farmers, our days are filled with constant learning by trial and error, and sometimes things don’t go as planned …. however, there usually is a silver-lining, or lesson in making that mistake that then makes our efforts that more efficient and effective! Thanks for your time, take care!
    -Vancouver Island, Canada

    Reply
    • Killoran on

      I’m on Vancouver Island, too! And just starting out. If you’re in the Victoria area, let me know, maybe I can help out a bit if you need it. I have a toddler and a crazy wild plot to tame, but you never know!

  418. Jordan on

    Hi Erin and team! I am a SUPER newbie and have a goal of growing cut flowers for market (farmer’s market, vintage markets, etc) MAYBE looking into a mobile flower truck! However, I am so unfamiliar with how this goes, so I am starting small and seeing how I handle the growing process in general. I have ordered seeds (from Floret!) and have about an acre I am working with right now…more available if I need it in the future. I would love info on tilling, composting, fertilizer, etc. I know nothing about hoop houses, but that keeps popping up:) THANK you for this series! xo

    Reply
    • Sharika on

      Jordan, we are practically neighbors :) if there’s anything you need.. Questions for local sources, encouragement or support, feel free to look me up on Instagram – Pétala Flower Farm.

  419. Karen Fulbright Pollack (Fig & Scallion) on

    Hi, Erin! I’m really looking forward to this virtual class series! I live in the SF Bay Area and am redoing our back courtyard. Last year I redid the 1st half and this Spring is the other half/side — which is mostly raised brick bed — in the shade…ugh! I will be re-installing a new drip system and trying to nourish our neglected flower beds. (We moved into the home 1 year ago and the entire backyard had been enclosed in overhead trellising for years…we ripped it all down and liberated the plants that were suffocating back there.) I would appreciate any tips/ideas for shade loving flowers/plants (other than hostas)…they have to live under a very large Japanese Maple, a large Willow and a huge Lemon Tree. Oh, yes…the previous owner planted Calla Lilies that keep coming up all through the flower beds…I haven’t figured out how to deal with them, definitively, yet. Best to you! Karen

    Reply
  420. Melissa on

    Thank you! I really liked hearing about your field sketches and how you use them to see how much total space you actually have. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  421. Tracy Mahar on

    These are fantastic questions Erin. I am starting my first year growing flowers from seed. I can’t say that I’m not nervous. I would be very grateful for any advice on amending the soil. for these annuals. Many Thanks! I enjoy your blog so much, very inspiring! Someday I hope to be able to attend one of your workshops so I can meet you!

    Reply
  422. Line i Alvehagen on

    Lovely post and great information, as always. I’m extending my growing area this year, to grow more perennials. (West coast of Norway, northern Europe) As it is now I don’t feel I can afford to let the perennials take up space in my current cutting patch, still there are so many perennials I would like to grow! Good to be reminded to plan. Dreaming of all the beautiful blooms I would like to grow is one thing, having the right amount of space is a different matter altogether. Thanks for sharing! It is truly inspiring and much appreciated.

    Reply
  423. Thea on

    The WHY question is really most important, no? I don’t grow for retail but I might have considered it 20 years ago when I left the corp world and discovered gardening. I achieved a bit if success growing flowers for cutting for my own personal enjoyment. Finding and discovering your story might have spurred me on farther. I moved to No. Virginia which is a veritable bloom come spring. Peonies do quite well but I have found roses to be much more trouble than when I lived in NY. The moist heat in summer isn’t that great for flowers. I met a cut flower grower from Newport News VA whose flowers are amazing. However, having been to visit the Seattle area, the weather is so conducive to flower growing. I truly wish you all the success with your venture. I’ve shared your posts on my garden club pages. All the best! T

    Reply
  424. Veronica Wendt on

    Thank you for this post! I can totally relate to your frustrations in the baby years and agree with setting realistic expectations. I have 9(!) kids and tried many years to get my business going, only to be met with frustrations at not being able to get it all done, which in reality was just my own unrealistic, self imposed expectations making me crazy. Rather than give it all up, I just did what I could and now that my youngest is 3 1/2 this is my first “official, doing it for real, jumping all in” year. Babies are the best flowers to grow, although when they grow into teenagers, they sometimes feel like weeds :)

    Reply
  425. Taya on

    Great post! My home is on a little over an acre and I have been considering growing some of my own flowers. It was great reading your 6 things to consider. The main one being lack of time, with a 3 month old baby I don’t know think it will be anytime soon. Thank you!

    Reply
  426. Estelle Hayes on

    I’m so excited for this series. I moved into a new home four months ago in a new city in Southern California and I’m still trying to get my arms around my property. I’m targeting a large bed that need new soil and fertilizer and a new drip system. It’s currently being overwatered above ground. I’m starting zinnias, cosmos, sweet peas and sunflowers from seeds (many ordered from you!) and am looking forward to learning more about preparing the soil and watering requirements. Many thanks!

    Reply
  427. Terri Bowlby-Chiasson on

    Thank you, Erin! I have been checking your blog all morning for your first post in this series(forgetting we have a four hour time difference!)…this is helpful to us.
    We are beginning our second year of cut flower farming here in Nova Scotia, Canada…I found it helpful to be reminded to factor in the costs of compost, fertilizer, etc. and recommending starting with annual seeds so as not to break the bank…thanks again!
    You continue to be my source of inspiration and I truly appreciate you sharing all the ups and downs…you are a real person with real challenges and successes! xo God Bless!

    Reply
  428. Melissa Clifford on

    Your website inspires me to be creative ! Thank you for the information you provide!

    Reply
  429. Jennifer Erin on

    Wonderful post, Erin! Full of great information and important considerations. I can’t wait to read what else you have in store. Glad you mentioned climate and encouraged new growers not to despair. While my climate does not allow for beautiful garden roses, (Saskatchewan, Canada!)the sweet peas I grew last season (bought from Floret!) were absolutely amazing, and bloomed their hearts out all summer long. Many thanks for such a wonderful resource!

    Reply
    • Joanne on

      Hi Jennifer, sorry to hijack your post, but when I saw Saskatchewan, Canada I needed to connect with you. I am also a grower in SK, 60km NE of Saskatoon. Would love to connect with you. Have been growing for 10+ years now. Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/mistik.acres. Would love to hear from you! Joanne

  430. Leyla Dorsey, Joy Flower Farm on

    I love your blog and all that you write! I literally read it word for word each time you post! THANK you for your enthusiasm and encouragement—- Just posted this on your Facebook page:I LOVE your blog posts! So inspiring {I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a flower farmer until I read your feature article in Country Living!}! I am totally hooked and after studying and reading all fall and winter, I am starting my first year! Thank you, and please, keep writing!

    Reply
  431. Shannon Kubenez on

    This is fantastic! Great questions and great information, thank you for posting!

    Reply
    • MareBear on

      Thanks so much for doing these posts! I’m on the Olympic Peninsula so I glean so much of following the how-to’s of your farm. These educational posts are exciting to get, kinda like getting your favorite magazine in the mail!! It’s also a great resource to point friends to that are just beginning with new possibilities of growing their own cutting garden!

    • Amber Tiede . Riverwood Flower Farm . Ontario on

      I appreciate your candor and honesty! We women put so many demands on ourselves and on what we think it means to be successful. We are just starting to grow seriously this year… All your information is appreciated!

    • pooh stevenson on

      So love your work and can’t wait to start your seeds here in Michigan when things warm up. I’m interested in Dahlias and… what are your favorite crops grown in hoop houses. Also successive plantings to keep the blooms coming all summer long. We are in zone 5 but can still learn from your work and adapt it to our growing season. Thank you for all you do! Love Love your calendar!

    • Alexis on

      I loved this article. I came across your Facebook page because I love your floral design style. I absolutely love your “why” about why you grow flowers and how much it means to you to share the beauty of them with people! I feel the same way :)
      I am a florist and my boyfriend and I have recently bought a business with a store front and 6 greenhouses on half an acre in Ontario Canada. We will be growing a lot of annuals, vegetables and bedding plants for the spring in the greenhouses, but I would also love to grow some cut flowers with some of the land out side and possibly one or part of the greenhouses. We also currently have 1 hoop house used for storage and room for a second. What suggestions do you have for types of cut flowers we could grow up here, particularly outside to start? Thank you! And I’m so glad I stumbled upon your site :)

    • Floret on

      What an exciting new endeavor, Alexis! I’m planning an upcoming post on easy-to-grow annuals for beginners that I think you’ll find useful–stay tuned!

    • Jennifer Adkins on

      Hello!…..You are basically my hero :) I live in Eadtern Ky., and my huge dream is to revitalize the area economy with cut flower production, starting with me, lol……I have grown cut flowers and herbs for my local farmers market (tiny) as well as community members for the last two years…..I want to get bigger and better….any advice you offer is invaluable to me…..THANK YOU so much!

    • Ruth Reynolds on

      I read and re-read your blog. I work as a designer in a busy floral shop and on the side i have a huge garden which for many years was filled with the heirloom tomatoes i grew from seed. I think one of the things I’d like to see you talk about is when u seed or dig your bulbs. Do you overestimate for those seeds that fail to germinate? do you direct seed or use plugs?
      I did take your advice and this year will grow many annual flowers from seed before i commit to growing a complete garden of them. I love your blog and so look forward to it when it arrives in my email. Your pictures are spectacular.

    • Nora on

      This was really helpfull to me! Specially the part about having young kids and being realistic what you can handle in your garden! I probably think of you when I watch my weeds grow faster than my flowers :D but it helps me to be patiens with myself when it doesn’t workout this year as I want to. Thanks!! greetings from the Netherlands (Europe)

    • Stephanie on

      I loved this post! I somehow stumbled on an article about your gorgeous flowers and farm last weekend and have been a woman obsessed since. I love my vegetable garden but could not truly see myself turning that into any kind career path. When I read about you, the 50 mile bouquet and seasonal flower movement I felt so inspired and felt like I could actually see a future for myself in there! I am so excited to take my love for gardening and try my hand at a cutting garden. I am totally a future thinker too, so in my head my yard is already full of flowers. This was a nice snap back to reality and a reminder to not get carried away, but take it step by step and really plan it out. Thank you for your thoughtful, informational posts!

    • Dianne St.Amand on

      Your article has been very helpful. I love the part about being in the now, as I tend to get to far ahead of myself. I love gardening, and I love a challenge. Your comments will remind me it is one step at a time.

    • Heidi Smith on

      First I want to thank you for the vast amount of information I have found on your blog, beautiful and informative post. I am very much a visual being, and your photographs have spoken to my soul
      I live in Northeast Oregon, we live on 7 acres of land right on the Grande Rhonde River
      It is truly an amazing place, and this would be an absolute dream to be able to cultivate, nurture and love the journey of creating our own little flower farm, as there is nothing like this in our area
      My husband William and I both have a love and respect for gardening, both fruits and vegetables, and we also have a small orchard with cherries, apples and pears.
      I want to learn from you, I am slightly obsessed with going to your site as well as gathering all of the information that you offer off of your brilliant pinterest boards

      I do want to dig in
      …and flourish

      Sincerely,
      this flower child…
      Heidi

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