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February 4th 2016

How-To Grow More Cut Flowers Than You Ever Thought Possible

Written by
Floret

Floret_Seed Starting 101-2Before we dig into one of my favorite topics, I wanted to take a minute and say THANK YOU for your incredible feedback. When I asked for comments on the last post, I had no idea that the response would be what it was. Hearing your stories, your struggles, you dreams, your fears, your grand plans…it was amazing. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you took the time to share them with me.

Oftentimes when I’m writing, I feel very alone. I want what I’m sharing to be clear, helpful, and hopefully strike a chord, but I have no real way of knowing if it will. Your incredible feedback was just what I need to hear, in order to know that yes indeed, I am on the right track. So, thank you very much!

Ok, now let’s dive into the good stuff.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-2Here at Floret, we have just two tiny acres dedicated to flower production. Yep, you read that right, only TWO acres. We utilize every available square inch of that space growing large volumes of high quality cut flowers that supply over a dozen grocery stores, numerous flower shops, our on-farm workshops and wedding couples throughout the Pacific Northwest.

We employ high intensity production techniques that work on a small scale. As soon as one variety is just about done blooming, we have another one ready to plant in its place.

One of the biggest mistakes we made early on in our farming career was expanding. We rented a two-acre field down the road, in addition to the two acres we tend here at home. At the rented site we were in a hurry and were out of money, so we barely prepped the beds, added a tiny sprinkle of compost, minimal fertilizer, no landscape fabric and overhead sprinklers instead of drip irrigation.

That year about killed us. We weeded and drug hoses all summer, hired extra labor just to stay on top of the weeds, battled insect pressure and disease like never before.  We had to scrape for good quality flowers and ended up tossing at least half of everything we grew. The crops at home were grown in heavily amended beds, with consistent irrigation and produced literally three times the amount as the other field. When we did the math at the end of the year we found that the entire rented plot had been a financial loss. In an effort to save time and money up front, we paid for it in the end.

The next year we let that field go, tilled in all of our grass paths around the farm and added another 40 beds when we thought there was no way to expand. We also worked super hard to grow the best possible blooms and packed every square inch with production. That massive failure taught us such a great lesson, and our farm has been profitable ever since.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-3One of the biggest questions I get from budding growers is how on earth we get so many flowers out of our little plot. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share with you our keys to success including succession planting, soil preparation, landscape fabric, seed starting, bouquet planning and much more.

My hope is the information will dispel the myth that you need a sprawling field or estate-sized yard in order to have your own flower farm or cutting garden. Our little TWO acre plot keeps our entire family plus a team of employees busy most of the year. By simply dedicating a little spot to flowers, you too can have beautiful, abundant bouquets all summer long.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-12When visitors come to our farm, the first thing they comment on is how small our place is. While I have shared that we farm just two tiny acres more times than I can count, until folks actually see our micro farm firsthand, they rarely believe it.

Like so many others, we got sucked into the myth that we needed to expand in order to grow the business. This was before the idea of Lean Farming was introduced, and a bigger plot seemed like the obvious next step for us on the road to increasing revenue. But after scaling up and nearly killing ourselves in the process, we realized that there had to be another way. The more we looked for answers, the more we realized that there was still so much good growing space going unused on our tiny farm. So we let the extra field go and refocused our efforts on maximizing our tiny two-acre farm.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-10 Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-11In addition to fine tuning our succession planting schedule and preparing our growing beds with the best amendments available, we also discovered that plants can be spaced much closer together than we originally thought. John Jeavons, in his groundbreaking book Grow More Vegetables: Than You Ever Thought Possible, outlines an intensive approach to gardening revolving around close plant spacing. His discovery was that most plants only need a small amount of space to thrive. The key is planting on a grid versus side-by-side rows. A secondary bonus to increasing the amount of plants grown in a small space is that as they fill in their foliage canopy covers the soils surface and blocks out weeds. We took this idea and applied it on our flowers with incredible results.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-6We quickly realized that we could double; possibly even triple our production by adopting this new method of growing. It took a bit of trial and error to figure out exactly how close each variety could be planted without diminishing production or inviting in disease. We finally settled on what worked the very best and simplified things by creating just six separate spacing regimes: 6×6”, 8×12”, 9×9”, 12×12” and 18×18”, with the 9×9” spacing being our most popular.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-9In the old days, one of our 70-foot beds would have had two rows of snapdragons planted down the center, spaced roughly a foot apart, equaling 140 plants. With the new method, plants were spaced 9×9” apart, resulting in five rows per bed and a total of 466 plants. That’s over three times the amount of plants in the same bed!

Our growing beds are four feet wide, with 18” paths in between. This allows us to fit an enormous amount of plants in each allotted growing bed. It also makes for tight working conditions, but we feel it’s a worthwhile trade off. We use landscape fabric with holes burned into the spacing grid for each variety. I will show you exactly how we do this in an upcoming post.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-5It’s important to utilize consistent bed widths and lengths, whatever you choose, throughout your planting area for ease in calculating the number of plants needed. And if you aren’t able to plant an entire bed with only one variety, be sure to plant varieties with the same spacing requirements, and roughly the same amount of days to flower in the same bed. This is particularly important if you are using landscape fabric.

This intensive approach is suitable for both flower farmers and backyard gardeners. It will take a little testing to see what works best for you. I know many flower growers throughout the country in varying climates who have great success with maximizing their growing space by utilizing planting grids. Give it a shot and see what you think.

Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-4

Here’s a little peek into what spacing we use for some of the most commonly grown varieties, based on our four foot wide, 70 foot long beds.

6×6” spacing = 7 rows per bed. This ultra tight spacing works great for: Lisianthus, Bombay Celosia, Larkspur, flowering Cabbage and single stemmed Sunflowers.

9×9” spacing = 5 rows per bed. This is by far our most popular spacing, making up about 80% of our field. Works great for: Honeywort, Basil, Frosted Explosion Grass, Snapdragons, Chinese Forget Me Not’s, Iceland Poppies, Nigella, Bupleurum, Dusty Miller, Globe Amaranth, Pincushion Flower and Zinnias.

12×12” spacing = 4 rows per bed. This spacing is ideal for plants that get more bulky like: Bells of Ireland, Celosia, Cosmos, Amaranth, Perilla, Queen Anne’s Lace, Chocolate Lace Flower, Foxglove, Black Eyed Susan’s and Scented Geraniums.

18x 18” spacing = 3 rows per bed. This spacing is great for large plants like branching Sunflowers, Salvia Leucantha, Eucalyptus and Dahlias.

Vine spacing: 8” between plants and 12” between rows = 2 rows per bed, one on each side of the trellis. Great for Sweet Peas, Nasturtiums, Love in a Puff and Hyacinth Bean.

Floret_How To Grow Sweet Peas-15 Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-8 Floret_Grow_More_Flowers-7

It took a lot of time and energy to create this post and without your feedback, the team and I are unable to know if we’re on the right track. I would really appreciate it if you would 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, or if you have any great resources relating to this topic that you’d be willing to share with other readers.

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 with your friends.

357 Comments

  1. Charleen on

    Hello,

    I just got my first allotment plot and it is 100m2. I intend to grow cut flowers to sell and am currently reading your book. Do you think my plot will be large enough to produce flowers for the whole growing season?

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Charleen, hope you enjoy the book! You can grow a LOT Of flowers in a small space, particularly if you time it so that you can get two crops in one season on at least some of the beds. Read back through past blog posts to learn more–especially the small space flower farming series I did a while back. Best wishes!

  2. Chelsea on

    As a SPIN farmer and avid Lean Farm fan, I just *knew* there were flower farmers out there making the cut flower industry work on principles designed for market veggies gardeners. Everyone I talk to says we don’t have enough space, or they’re too long season to be profitable, but those just sounded like excuses to me. Bravo to you! I love that y’all only grow on 2 acres; small, diverse, and intensively planted farms are the wave of ag’s future!

    While much of our space is for edible flowers, I have been toying with the spacing on crossover edible/cut flower varieties to see if I can start offering cut flowers to our market. We also utilize landscape fabric, so I’d be interested to hear more on how you manage your soil’s longterm health with it covered (I’ve heard mixed reviews, though we haven’t had any issues yet). I have had success with spacing even tighter than some you described above, so I encourage you to keep playing around! I can’t wait to hear more.

    Most importantly, thank you for sharing your journey! This is so vital for beginning farmers.

    Reply
  3. David Green on

    Hello from England.
    The Post is very interesting and informative. I am hopefully going to start my own Organic Edible flower and Herb business in the near future.
    I too have experimented previously with spacing and planting of seeds/seedlings. I have gone against others methods and had great results.
    I was wondering what mesh and materials you used and whether they are organically usable. I look forward to hearing back with your knowledge.

    Reply
  4. Suman Kenny on

    Hi Erin,
    I chanced upon your website just recently and I am blown away by the beauty and brilliance of your flowers. I appreciate all the information you are sharing so freely. I am so inspired that I have started planting Zinnias , got seeds from ‘Johnny Select Seeds ” and recently had my first bouquet of beautiful Zinnias. Thank you for being so inspiring.

    Reply
  5. Marcia Svenkeson on

    I can’t tell you how excited I was to read your blog. My husband and I purchased a small parcel of property in Eastern Tennessee and had not thought it was large enough to do anything significant with. Your grid system crops are brilliant! We have 3 acres of sunny meadow land that has never been farmed. Our daughter is graduating this year from the University of Tennessee with a degree in agriculture and hopes to create her own flower farm and business. I am super interested in learning how to amend our soil affordably, keep it healthy, and produce beautiful flowers! Keep the posts coming.

    Reply
  6. Rosalind on

    yikes 350 comments already!
    Brilliant post, I am a numbers girl and have keenly noted the spacings. CLOSE. well except for Dahlia which I have about right give or take.
    I’m growing on two large allotments (UK) each about 185m2 but more like 140-150m2 useable space (rest set aside for shed, workingspace, water butts and compost bins). I am always feelin short of planting space but reaslie I am planting too far apart and am far to lax in pulling out stuff that’s gone/going over as well as poor planning on my succession plants. I need a better timetable and some serious succession planning. Great post, really helpful. DO you grow shrubs at all? are they fair crammed in too?

    Reply
  7. Dianne on

    Hi Erin, I have just discovered the Floret Flowers website/book and love the fact that you are so giving in sharing your knowledge of flower farming, a gift in so many ways. You are amazing, the knowledge you share is so useful, and your enthusiasm is contagious. Cannot wait to get my book in the mail, as start my own flower garden at home.

    Reply
  8. chamni on

    I really thank you and really good luck that i meet this website because i just have a plan to retire my intown works.I have a little experiment of growing statice in hot climate(hardiness zone11)in thailand, and it is looking good right now. This statice I hope to be a main flower in the garden and same as you I have a small area too, so it is very useful for me to get a great information and idea detail here form you.
    In the future I would have many questions from you so far.
    Thank you
    Nick

    Reply
  9. Aleah on

    I’m very new to flower farming and I’m not sure I comprehend what the 6×6 9×9 (etc) means. Could you elaborate a bit

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Aleah, 9 x 9 refers to the spacing between plants in the rows of your bed. There’s a great graphic in the Floret book, Cut Flower Garden, and in our planning kit (available free with book purchase) which illustrate it: http://www.floretflowers.com/book/

  10. Katherine on

    I’m new to the cut flower world and am planning on growing 4 spaces each of them 4’x10′. Can you tell me where I can get the 9″x9″ & 12″x12″ flower netting? Also in your book you talk about soil sampling, why do you put all the samples into the same jar? Please help I’m so excited to get started!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Katherine,
      You can get the netting from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

  11. Katrine on

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m trying to take everything in. Everyday I’m dreaming of having my own flower farm. Still trying to figure out how to do it, without having the garden for it. But your blog is definitely helping me towards taking the big step.

    Reply
  12. Lyn on

    This post is especially helpful as I prepare to plant four or five 60″ wide beds, each 13.5′ long. The spacing you learned through trial and error of individual plants is invaluable and I will definitely use this guide when I am ready to begin planting. Thanks so much for sharing your hard-earned wisdom!

    Reply
  13. Patricia Dufflocq on

    Thanks a lot for all the useful information! I bookmarked this post to get back to it when the time comes (we have our Chilean winter here but spring is around the corner). It is great to read all your tips and techniques, failures and successes. I appreciate SO MUCH what you do for everyone here. I am learning how to be organized and to plan ahead by just reading and learning how you do things. Thanks again!

    Reply
  14. Evelyn on

    You are truly an inspiration Erin! I am now in the process of starting a small flower farm here in Fraser Valley, BC Canada that is why i consider your book as my go to reference. I am really looking forward to be able to attend to one of your workshops too. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge to everyone that has the same passion and love for flowers.

    Reply
  15. Natanya Piper on

    I am in my second year of growing cut flowers here at Enchanted Oaks and have made the wonderful, blessed transition to weed fabric this year. Wow, what a difference it has made! I burned the holes and planted the seeds all by hand. Crawling along on all fours became a little crippling after several hours!! Unfortunately the woodland fairies have not appeared to help! Is there an easier way to actually plant the seeds? Do you prefer using plugs. The hand planting was very time consuming but I have hardly any of the weeds I have fought in the past! Just wondering if you had posted in the past about how you actually go about all the planting and the techniques you use to get your plants or seeds in the ground. Thank you for sharing all your hard work with the rest of us!! It means the world to me and I know others feel the same way!!
    Sincerely,
    Natanya of the
    Enchanted Oaks

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Natanya,
      We start almost all of our seeds indoors and then transplant them out into the landscape fabric using a hori hori knife or, more often, a butter knife (we have sandy soil)! We do not direct seed into the holes in the landscape fabric. If you search our previous posts, there is information and tips on growing the few flowers we do direct seed. Good luck!

  16. Sheena Wilson on

    So helpful. Just recently I’ve considered growing cut flowers for a farm stand – just dipping my toe in if you will. I love growing vegetables but living in the Skagit Valley, there is such amazing access to beautiful vegetables that I thought I’d go with my first love – flowers. I am interested to know more about the infrastructure of laying out the grid pattern you have in your beds. Also your ‘playlist’ for succession planting here in the valley. Nothing makes me happier than going into the garden and picking homegrown bouquets.

    Reply
  17. Mary Ann on

    This is great information, thank you so much! I’m hoping to retire in a few years, maybe cut my working hours before then, and would like to grow flowers and herbs to sell. This type of information is what I need to avoid as many setbacks as I can, early on. Thanks again!

    Reply
  18. Jill on

    This is the most helpful gardening blog I have found to date! I’ve dabbled but your posts inspire me to take the leap! Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Lindsey on

    When I grow my zinnia close together I battle blight, any suggestions? I have a small space and want to maximize. Thanks in advance and I really enjoy reading about your farm (your book is at my bedside!) and following you on Instagram!

    Reply
  20. Bernadette Varner on

    Thank you. I love reading your posts. I’m just getting started, sweet peas is my thing, so I find all your information very helpful and hope to eventually start growing more than just sweet peas.

    Reply
  21. Inaya on

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so much, you are such a generous person and an inspiration! I’m 19 and in NZ, and I’m planning a cutting garden so I can sell flowers at the local markets. I’m very much a beginner, though, and I’m just a little (read: a lot) confused about how you calculate the grid spacing? I’ve bought your book and read that as well but I’m still baffled. How do you calculate how many plants go into X amount of space? Is there some kind of formula? Do you draw it out?

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, it’s been a great help!

    Reply
  22. Lara Altimira on

    Wonderful. Thank you for sharing your efforts, successes and stories.

    Reply
  23. Hazel on

    I grow a few flowers on my allotment, and want to increase next year. Very interested in your blog, makes a lot of sense .

    Reply
  24. Heidi on

    Thank you so much for your in depth info and pictures of your farm! Very helpful for getting started!

    Reply
  25. Carol Phillpot on

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I found it really helpful, informative and thought provoking!

    Reply
  26. Elaine Fuehrer on

    Good Morning..I found your site this Spring, and have read about everything You have posted. I need to ask u about soil.. do u plant alfalfa in the fall and plow it under in the spring to amend your soil. we have about a half a million dairy cows here and was thinking of buying the compost from them this fall. To cover our plot in 1 inch of compost we need 33 yards. Not sure yet what it would cost..I live in Southern Idaho. elevation 4000′ (the more u go south the higher the elevation) our soil is a clay type. roses love it and so do sunflowers…Im having a problem with keeping my flowers after i cut them. ive tried the bit of bleach,sugar, lemon juice; then the vinegar,sugar, bleach; then adding a few grains of miracle grow. of course with water. none of this works with cold water.. ive even added soda 20g of sugar.. my sunflowers and zinnias all droop. Help, anyone can answer

    Reply
  27. Sally on

    We only have 1 acre and thought that farming of any type was beyond our space – thanks so much for your beautiful Blog and your words of wisdom – we are in the initial stages of researching what our local florists and event planners need and then we will take your advice on board and set sail in the wonderful world of flower farming xxx

    Reply
  28. Sophie on

    I just found this blog. I’m thinking of farming the land around our house. I hadn’t decided what exactly I’m going to farm until I read this blog and now I know flowers (instead of vegetables, which was the other option) is the Best way forward for me. I was feeling overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge in farming and to get advice in a simple, straightforward way has helped calm some of that anxiety. Your in depth explanations are invaluable, thank you!

    Reply
  29. Rachel on

    Yes! This blog is also exactly what I was looking for. I’m toying with the idea of starting a cut flower farm at home as well, and your blog is helping me think more deeply and practically about it.

    I have John Jeavons” book, and have used his planting technique with vegetables and it is amazing how well it works!

    Thank you.

    Reply
  30. Tracie on

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    Reply
  31. Miriah on

    Yesssssssss! This blog is everything. Thank you.

    Reply
  32. Heather Letarte on

    This is the type of blog I was hoping to find. You are so generous with your time to share all of this. I am going to subscribe to your updates right now. I do have a couple of questions for which I am seeking an answer right now. I will share them here in case others have similar questions. We have just planted our cutting garden. It is minute in comparison to yours (Four 70 foot rows), but it’s a start. Right off the bat, I see that we could have gotten away with a better planting pattern. However, we can fix that next season, or add more plants to the current plot. We are in black plastic, but we do use landscape fabric in our high tunnel for our tomatoes and cucumbers, so we have access to it, and understand the concept of the grid pattern. I love that the grids are drawn on. How do you do that? My question for this year is that my husband noticed that a lot of cutting gardens use horizontal netting. I am not familiar with horizontal netting. I would love to know what you use and why, and also the pros and cons. I notice that you have horizontal netting, so my assumption is that the pros win. We want to order what we need, but don’t know where we should look or what we should use, and where we should use it.

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Hi Heather, the horizontal netting is called tenax or hortonova netting and it is useful to support flowers both vertically (sweet peas and other climbing vines) and horizontally (for snapdragons, lisianthus and flowers that need support or otherwise prone to flop over). -Team Floret

  33. mel gover on

    omg been hunting for this for yrs great!

    Reply
  34. Cindy Richardson on

    I am excited beyond belief! Reading what you are sharing not only gives me hope that I can do this, but I am even more confident since reading all the helpful information you have so generously shared. It is much appreciated. Tthis year is for learni g what will do well here in East Tennessee and then onward and upward!

    Reply
  35. Greg on

    The definition of inspiring. Thank you.

    Reply
  36. Sarah on

    Such helpful information and the most beautiful photos! Going to try this with my garden this year. :)

    Reply
  37. Rosa on

    Wow thank you for this post. Such great information. I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  38. Lindsey on

    Thank you so much for all the helpful information!

    Reply
  39. Steve on

    I found your blog massively helpful hope it works for us with the English weather!

    Reply
  40. kathy a ravenscroft on

    Hi, love the grid information and will try it tonight with my dahlia’s and soon with the zinnia’s. Question, which I am sure you already have somewhere, but what do you use to get the soil ready before planting (I use compost, chicken manure, light dusting of lime, and then some fertilizer and bone meal in the hole). Is this sufficient? what do you use during the growing season and how often?
    Thank you!!

    Reply
  41. Jo Winter on

    You make it look so easy. I’d have liked to know more about any difference in soils or temperature that you utilise when you plant and how you maintain a weed and bug free plant. Thanks.

    Reply
  42. Felicia on

    Your article was very helpful to me, I live in Nigeria and plan on growing flowers here. Do you think it is adviceable to do so based on our tropical wet climate? Also, I know it likely varies based on the flower involved, but generally, how many flowers can one possibly grow in an acre?

    Reply
  43. Cheryl on

    Thank you for this great information! I am looking forward to your blog post about burning templates to make the spacing of flowers easier. The description above concerning the spacing of flowers was very helpful. Thank you again!

    Reply
  44. Connie on

    Flowers are my passion. Your blog is very inspiring. I am ordering your book and hope to learn a lot from it.
    Thank you for taking the time to shows us how it is done!

    Reply
  45. Jennifer Holgersen on

    Howdy, my husband and I are budding flower farmers! We wanted to let you know how much you’ve inspired us! I’ve been chompin’ at the bit to get into your 3 day workshop and get your beautiful book in the mail! Can never seem to have any luck getting into the class. We live on a Dairy Farm in Humboldt California. I’m REALLY excited to meet you and see your farm!!! I’m a homebody, never really had much of a desire to go anywhere until I learned of you and your yummy flower farm, now I’ve never wanted to go anywhere SOOOO BAD! I think I’ve read everything you’ve ever posted, very helpful!! Keep it coming sister, I appreciate you very much.

    Reply
  46. Jean on

    Absolutely amazing. My daughter grows nasturtium flowers to eat. They are delicious, sort of spicy.

    Reply
  47. Susan Atherton on

    My major problem seems to be tall flowers with crooked stems usually because of rain or wind. I see that you use a mesh. Are there other solutions to this problem?

    Reply
  48. Linda on

    I am so excited to try your techniques! I’ve been mostly a vegetable/fruit gardener. However, my youngest daughter (11 year old) wants to start a cutting garden so that she can sell bunches at our small-town farmers’ market. I started doing some research, found/ordered your book, and then found your blog. Going to start burning holes this week. Can’t wait to see the final results.

    Reply
  49. Rachel Williamson on

    Fantastic ideas. Im just in my first year trying out cut flowers for local florist in the uk. Hoping to utilise your great advice just in time for planting. We are direct sowing seeds so not sure I can use the membrane but love the idea as we are organic, weeds everywhere! Keep up the good work!!

    Reply
  50. Raven Mozingo on

    I just bought your book and can’t put it down! You have such an extensive amount of knowledge that you share so freely. I really enjoy reading your book and column and hope to start a cutting garden next to a wedding venue we will be opening next year! Thank you for your time and for sharing your experience. I am a fan and plan on ordering products from your site as well (once they are back in stock)! Sincerely, Raven

    Reply
  51. Loni Waters on

    I can’t wait to start my first cut flower garden. I just ordered your book and can not wait to get it! My spouse and I own a landscaping company and I design and install mostly perennial beds, but I have wanted to start a cut flower garden of my own for a couple years. Reading your blog and following you on instagram has inspired me to go for it.
    Thank you!

    Loni Waters
    Missoula, MT

    Reply
  52. Barb on

    I decided on a cutting garden this year for flowers for my sister’s wedding. I’m super impressed with ideas for grid planting and landscape cloth. Thank you for sharing!!!

    Reply
  53. JTT on

    Seriously… great info. I’ve been searching the for a blog like this for months. Thank you!

    Reply
  54. Linda Dahl on

    I have your book Cut Flower Garden and couldn’t find this specific planting information concerning spacing different plants and row size. Thank you so much for your website with further information! I have my seeds started, starting more seeds, my dahlia tubers, and my mums are on their way. This year will be my first cut flower garden. I am excited to try this out and expand next year with an upgraded water system, a greenhouse, and more.

    Thank you Erin and the staff at Floret for the inspiration. You are making this world more happy and beautiful!

    Linda Dahl
    Stevensville, MT

    Reply
  55. Merry on

    I bought your book for my twin sisters who are approaching retirement. Our parents were florists and greenhouse growers. My sisters inherited my mother’s green thumb. I did not. They love to make arrangements for friends. We have a family tree farm, and I hope they’ll include a small cut flower garden in their future plans. Thanks for sharing so much valuable knowledge and inspiration with your readers.

    Reply
  56. Emily on

    This post is so helpful! I just got your book and I’ve been toting it around the house with me poring over every beautiful page. I’m delighted to find so much additional content here on your blog! I’m a stay at home mom and just moved to a small farm in Maine, and I’m trying to figure out how to make an income on the land so I can continue to stay home with me 2 and 4 year old boys as they grow–flower farming is the dream and your great advice is giving me knowledge and confidence I need to get started this year! Thank you!!

    Reply
  57. Kathy Osborne on

    I have been growing from seed for more than 20 years now (10 years at current location) without the availability of a greenhouse. ( I bought all the timbers (pole barn style) and lumber, door and windows will be coming from my neighbor who is building one for me, 12 ft deep x 15 ft wide. Finally my own greenhouse!). So for those who need to start their seeds indoors, about 20 years ago I found directions for a seed starting stand in Fine Gardening Magazine and would be happy to share photos but I don’t see any way to submit them. My stand is 30″ wide x 72″ tall (originally it was 84″ tall but had to cut it down to fit in 83″ ceiling room.) I have four shelves and the floor. Each shelf can hold 7 regular 11″ x 22″ trays. So depending on how you use your trays, ie. 32s 64s etc. you can start thousands of seedlings very easily. Every shelf and under the bottom shelf has two 4 ft. fluorescent lights, one warm and one cool bulb in each. Seeding begins in January for perenns. and later on annuals. I live in zone 6a at 6900 ft just outside of Denver, Co. to the s/e, semi arid desert region. My main garden border is 40 ft wide x 100 ft long, and now the backyard is almost finished 107 ft x 120 ft x 45 ft x 35 ft. All filled with flowers, mostly perenns that I grew from seed, very gratifying and cost effective.
    I was going to do a cut flower farm but not able to do the ins. thing yet as it’s not my personal property so I’ll be doing the farmers market(s) starting this year. Not sure if I will get into the wedding area or wholesaling, I just haven’t decided yet.. I did take classes on wedding flowers and 20 years ago did my daughter’s wedding, though from wholesale flowers, but now am glad I took the classes from a florist who taught in Denver. I have devouring any book I can find on the subject now including your new book which arrived 2 days ago.
    My question(s): 1) do you or know of people who do..sell Iris germanica as cut flowers and what price to sell at per stem or….. I have more than 400 plants and all need dividing this year. First bloom showing color or???? I’m having a garden tour for two different garden clubs that I belong when the bloom looks the best (approx June 1) after that I’ll cut any for sale if you think they would sell. And what price per stem or bouquet that might include them. I understand that vase life is short, approx 5-7 days, depending on the # of buds per scape. and they can drip color if not careful… Any ideas would be appreciated.
    Next 2) Do you sell cut peonies in bloom and not just tight buds? Again any pricing info would help…per stem or in a bouquet? I don’t have that many plants yet (approx 40), but am adding more this season. Favorite supplier has been Gilbert Wild and Son, in Reeds, Mo. Now that I’ll be buying wholesale can you give an approx price per root that I should be paying?
    Next 3) In one book I’ve read said stems are approx .47 per stem, if I’m selling in a rather affluent area do I dare go higher. One place I’ll be selling is in the wealthiest county in the U.S.
    Any help would gladly be devoured. Lol. Haven’t started your book yet as I’ve been reading your web pages…… Thanks so much for helping those of us who have decided to embark on this journey. Flowers….gotta love em. Kathy Osborne [email protected]

    Reply
  58. Heather @ Shade Mountain Farmstead on

    Wonderful article full of very valuable information! Thank you! Is article has given me great insight on how to maximize my space for tons of cut flowers!! I can’t wait to get started ☺

    Reply
  59. Sheilah on

    Thank you for generously sharing your experience! We have just purchased a mini-farm in southern Indiana and would love to grow cut flowers. You have helped considerably with our action plan!

    Reply
  60. Lisa on

    THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!! First of all, I am a new gardener and needed some advice and information. Second, I found your pictures very helpful and made it so there was no confusion. Third, You used language that I was able to understand!
    I really appreciated that you gave examples of what flowers to plant in each sized grid.
    My question is about gladiolas. They are my favorite flower. Any advice? Would they need 9×9 grid? Any information will be appreciated.
    Thanks again, Lisa

    Reply
  61. Angie Croshaw on

    Your articles are so insightful. I look forward to reading your blog posts every time I see a new one! This is my first year as a flower farmer and I have already made so many mistakes. I love hearing your stories about the setbacks you’ve overcome.

    I just received a bunch of Eucalyptus and Lisianthis seeds in the mail and didn’t realize that I should have started them several months ago…do you think I will be ok if I start some now or should I save them for next season? I live in Murphys, Ca- zone 8b.

    Thanks,
    The Farm Murphys

    Reply
  62. Barbara Davis on

    At the rather mature age of 62, in southern Ohio, where no flower farms exist, I have started to plan a flower farm. I will have, at my access, a little over two acres of land on which to farm. Your articles on all facets of flower farming have been, to say the very least, invaluable. I have grown flowers at my residence and in a community garden, but my passion has always exceeded my space. I am plowing, full speed ahead, into this venture armed with knowledge, resources, insights, information – all thanks to Floret.

    Reply
  63. Aubrey on

    I just got saddled with the job of growing all of the flowers for a friends wedding and reception. I have ever only grown veggies, the easy ones like zucchini and tomatoes. I will definitely be using some of your techniques because I can’t be the reason there are no flowers at a June wedding!

    Reply
  64. Beth on

    Wonderful post! I’m growing cut flowers for the first time this year, thankful for this helpful guide.

    Reply
  65. Laura on

    I always plant a raised bed 12×4 of zinnias (usually ones I have saved from previous year). And a bed the same size of sunflowers. I can’t wait to try this in even my other four raised beds!

    Reply
  66. Jen on

    Thank you so very much for the spacing info, starting to plan our home garden 50’x 200’feet just shy of a 1/4acher, planning to put a few big beds in and have some fun with cut flowers. you have been the most helpful blog will be following you! Thanks :)

    Reply
  67. Melissa on

    Extremely helpful! You are very generous with your information. Thank you!

    Reply
  68. Elissa on

    SO helpful! Thank you!! I’m hoping you further explain the grid spacing in another blog.

    Reply
  69. Operation Flower Farm is a Go! - f e m b r û l é e on

    […] the size of the flower.  I will go more in depth  when I plant everything, but I would recommend Floret’s website again and also any book on lean farming.  Many farmers not use a close plant spacing technique […]

    Reply
  70. Tina on

    I am so thrilled to have discovered you via Pinterest! Last night, I pre-ordered your ibook and downloaded the planning sheets. I even signed up for the upcoming webinar :-). This will be my first year of planting a cutting garden and I am so appreciative of all the information you have shared.I am already starting my wish list of plants and begun deciding on color ways. I have two special needs family members and I can’t wait to see their smiles this summer when flowers are blooming. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  71. Natalie J. on

    I am going to give this my best effort this season. I’m very familiar with flowers. It will be my first season trying to sell my fresh cuts. It’s blowing my mind you only have two acres in production. Your photo’s make it look like miles.

    Reply
  72. Susan on

    So appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
  73. Renee Lynch on

    I could read your blog all day you have such an art for writing! You are so extremely generous with the information you give and I’m so great-full.

    Reply
  74. dlglasco on

    Your writing style is wonderful! you provide us precise clarity of what works best. I am beyond excited to plant and grow this year! I am grateful for your generous saying of information. Thank you so much!!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Thanks for your kind words!

  75. Leslie P. on

    Your detailed descriptions of planning and planting your flower gardens are EXACTLY WHAT I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! Year after year, I would buy packets upon packets of seeds but never planted them b/c I didn’t really know all the steps involved from A to Z (and it’s NEVER as easy as just putting seeds into the ground as some of the packets say). I have countless books and articles on how to do this (and waaaay too many Pinterest pins), but NOTHING pulled all the information together. Nothing.

    For the first time in my life (and I’m pushing 50), I will actually plant a cutting garden this year!!!! Growing and giving away flowers is one of the biggest joys in my life, and up until now, I’ve only grown tulips and peonies. Also, the information about gardening in small places is invaluable since I have a very small yard — the math that goes into it, coupled with your knowledge of how each flower grows best is like magic! Your approach is so logical, reasonable, and clear – it’s how I’ve wanted gardening to be and you’ve laid it out in such a complete, easy to understand way.

    I can’t say enough about how useful and perfect all of your information is, how you share it so freely and put so much time into sharing it (freely). I can’t even imagine the hours that went into capturing, writing and describing (in such an easy to follow/learn way) all of the information on planting and tending flowers — much less actually growing and harvesting!

    I first heard about you in the recent Seattle Times article, and I am so thankful. What you’ve learned, created, and now shared is invaluable and will be shared with many many of my friends. I can’t wait to get your book soon!!!

    Again, a thousand thank you’s for your immense generosity!!!!!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      So glad you find the information helpful, Leslie! Thanks for your sweet note.–Team Floret

  76. Stephanie Soondar on

    Love your approach to gardening; you are so generous to share all this insight. I can get lost on your website for hours (and I already have tubers picked out, that although I couldn’t purchase this year, I will next!). Thank you for sharing your experience; it’s the first year I’ve tried a cutting garden, and it’s all super useful. Such a dark time in the U.S. right now – your website is a welcome relief!

    Reply
  77. Courtney on

    Hi Erin! I can’t even begin to explain how helpful I find your blog. In some ways, I am even overwhelmed at how much information and advice you have so willingly shared. Most of the time I re-read each post at least twice to soak it all in! It is my dream to run and operate a small flower farm, using the flowers to enhance my own floral designs. Being an extreme garden novice I am looking to start out small with a cut-flower patch in my garden. However, I am from a much different climate to you. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and we are fortunate to have a mild climate. Our winter temperature averages at about 65-75 degrees F during the day with rarely a frost at night (maybe once or twice all winter), and our summers reaching up to over 95-100 degrees F and can be incredibly humid. I guess I just wanted to know which of your flower varieties you would recommend for wedding bouquets etc. in our Australian heat? I am so inspired to follow this dream of creating loosely flowing garden arrangements using my own grown and foraged products but am haunted by a fear that the flowers I grow aren’t going to last long once cut! Any feedback you are able to give in your extremely buys schedule would be much appreciated! Even if it is just ‘use trial and error!’. Thank you xx

    Reply
  78. Kate on

    Honestly, I find your time given and wealth of knowledge so impressive. Thank you so much, you are awe-inspiring. I have been in the plant business for many decades, but the cut flower business eluded me. I started growing irises a few years ago and have enough for cuts this year and am adding dahlias and other annuals this year. You are motivated me, thank you, thank you.
    Any thoughts on landscape fabric? Or maybe I missed it.

    Reply
  79. VBarron on

    I have been reading your blog for two hours this morning, taking notes, filling up my little gardening book and Floret Planner with all this good information. I know I can always refer back to your blog, but, I love having my notes handy out in the garden. I will not mess up my brand new Floret book out in my muddy garden:) Thanks for all your resources, so helpful. I really enjoy reading your blogs, so honest!

    Reply
  80. Emily Evans on

    As a relative novice to large scale planting, you blew my mind with the grid system! I am so excited to try it!! Thanks again for taking the time to share your wisdom with us. It is very much appreciated.

    Reply
  81. Rosie Standish on

    Wow! Thanks for the post. I so look forward to your book since I pre-ordered. I dread doing the grid work for plant spacing but it is a necessary part of planting. In the past I have burned my own holes in the landscape fabric and I know there is prepared fabric you can purchase. I look forward to your next post in how to do this efficiently.
    Rosie

    Reply
  82. Kelly on

    Thanks for sharing! This is so helpful in planning! One small suggestion – your photos are beautiful but I often wonder what I’m looking at – a caption under photos would be so helpful! Thanks!

    Reply
  83. yanine bam on

    Wow!! so much info in such an easy to apply structure – Thank you so much!! Growing my own flowers is a dream I’ve had for so long now and finally I am going to take the leap and just DO IT! I will apply your spacing methods and let you know how it’s doing. Thank you so much – as per the above comment though, any tips on soil preparation?

    Reply
  84. Melissa LaRose on

    LOVE your blog! I’m starting a cut flower business for a few of my local farmers markets and I’m hoping to get into some design work as well. So excited to read your book! Thank you for sharing your joy and knowledge!

    Reply
  85. Patricia Bunk on

    I have to say after 3 yrs of growing cut flowers this post is helping me with planning in a great way. Knowing which plants to try for early spring in Kentucky is tricky but with your additional information this is helping. Thanks for continually writing to help other people be successfull.

    Reply
  86. Michelle Henderson on

    This gets me excited to be able to have more flowers in my small space! I also loved hearing all the different varieties you plant. I need to branch out!! I would also love to hear more about your soul preparation and fertilizers…

    Reply
  87. annette conole on

    thankyou so very much for your most interesting post. i have learned much more. one query. i notice you have raised netting over some of your beds. do you use this method for all the flowers that you grow or only on certain types? keep up the great work. you are very encouraging.

    Reply
  88. Frances Brown on

    Hello! I’m in south Louisiana and I’m about to go outside today and begin digging in my soil! It’s an exciting time of year and I get so much enjoyment and encouragement reading your blog! If you ever get a chance to send us southern folk tips on planting flowers, seeds, etc it would be greatly appreciated!! I ordered your book last night!! I can’t wait to get it!!! Thanks for all you share with us!!! You are the “Joanna Gaines” of flowers!!! Lol.

    Frances

    Reply
  89. Garden Planning: Part 3 Draw it Out | Fresh Homestyle on

    […] For example, I can fit a whopping 66 plants into a little 10-foot-long bed when I space them 9 inches apart. You can read an in depth explanation of the process here: How-To Grow More Cut Flowers Than You Ever Thought Possible […]

    Reply
  90. Grace Durgin on

    I saw mention of your new book in the Martha Stewart Living magazine, then found you online. What a pleasant surprise! My husband and I started hobby farming last year with a goal of having PYO cut flowers and berries. This season, I’m excited to try the denser planting by growing on a grid. Looking forward to reading your book and blog.

    Reply
  91. Walt Kelly on

    I am waiting for your book from Barnes and Noble they till me it won/t be ready till March 13 reading the above insures me I did right in ordering it.
    Hope to move to South Carolina this year by buying a place with at least 2 acres.

    Reply
  92. Carrie Snediker on

    Thank you for your information. I am stuck a little on the grids, but I am going to work on this. I don’t have a lot of land, I think this is going to help a lot.

    Reply
  93. Samantha on

    I am buying 10 acres and hope to have half an acre dedicated to cut flowers. This would be a side to my fibre animals. I’ve never been one for traditional methods and I can’t wait to read all of your blog this will be so helpful. I’m still researching where the market is but my cousin is actually looking at buying a flower shop so it could be a great partnership. I am in Canada and am limited due to the climate but I love all of the local flower options.

    Reply
  94. Evelyn Reppond on

    I’m am so excited to find your blog! My husband and I just purchased a 3 acre property. Our “forever retirement home” is old pasture land here in the mid south. There is nothing growing except briars, blackberries and a strange thorned shrubs that are everywhere. I look forward to learning more about your grid planting technique for vegetables and flowers. My youngest son is getting married soon and it would be awesome if I could supply all the flowers for the wedding!

    Reply
  95. Hannah Crosbie ~wildwood flowers~ on

    Your posts are so amazingly helpful! Thank you! I have preordered your book and cannot wait to read it! I am a stay at home mom and have decided to go for it this year with our flower farm! We have about 3/4 acre suitable for flowers, and your guidance has been invaluable. I’m hopeful I can attend your workshop next year. Thanks again

    Reply
  96. Allie on

    This is amazing! Please continue to do what you do, both growing flowers as well sharing your knowledge with others! This post along with a few others that I have had a chance to read have been incredibly helpful! I look forward to purchasing your book!!

    Reply
  97. Jaimee on

    How do you burn the holes in your landscape fabric? Love the posts.

    Reply
    • Ellen on

      Hi Jaimee! This linked blog post shows the process of burning holes in landscape fabric.

  98. Jennifer Penney on

    I just discovered your site today and am enjoying it and especially the photos! I grow cut flowers for my son’s CSA and will also start to sell at a local flower market this year. One question on this post, though. While I understand the productivity of 4-foot wide beds, I worry about back problems reaching in to cut and otherwise manage beds this wide. In fact, I persuaded my son, whose organic fruit and vegetable farm is in Ontario, to make narrower beds for growing vegetables to resolve just this problem when I was helping in the fields. I expect that using landscape fabric can help, given it reduces weeding. But I still worry about the impact of reaching a great deal. Do you have any thoughts about this?

    Reply
  99. Susanna on

    I am thinking of adding a few cut flowers to my market garden. This was great info. I look forward to more, especially how often to plant and what varieties work best. I live in Alberta and have a short growing/sales season. I know veggies quite well, but don’t normally grow flowers past bedding plant season. They intrigue me as much as scare me!

    Reply
  100. Christa on

    Thank you, I found this info incredibly helpful. I’m trying to be well water conscious and the close spacing I imagine will compliment this method. I’m going to give it a go this year, absolutely can’t wait to start. This is the perfect time for planning it out too. I too have ordered the book and look forward to studying and trialing it! Thank you for your wisdom.

    Gratefully,
    Christa

    Reply
  101. Carrie on

    Thanks for the great information and the show and tell.

    Reply
  102. Charlene Christensen on

    Completely on the right track! My husband and I have purchased our first house on 2.5 acres and I’ve been wanting to start flower farming. I can’t put my entire section into flowers so have been looking for ways to maximise the output from what can be used. So your posts and all your information has reached New Zealand! Your comments about where you felt you went wrong initially are also appreciated, so to help others learn too. I would appreciate more posts on succession planting, still getting to grips with this in my vege garden too!

    Reply
  103. Nick Black on

    I am trying start a small veggie and cut flower farm in Victoria BC and its been kind of hard finding information about intensive flower farming. This is great info and I’m definitely getting the book. Thanks for your time putting this together. Its really inspiring to see the passion of all these small intensive farms starting and making an actual living, but its amazing the amount of information being shared. I just keep getting more excited and more driven to get something off the ground.

    Thanks
    Nick

    Reply
  104. Alexander on

    I can’t wait to prove to my family how many more flowers we can get into our 1/4 acre garden farm! Thank you for all the spacing info, look forward to expanding! Do you think based on zones and different areas we live if the spacing will be differently because of diseases and mold? Is this spacing good for areas that dont have a ton of air flow?

    Reply
  105. Elley on

    This is wonderful information to have. Just finished watching your live interview (great job!), and wanted to learn more. These blog posts are a wealth of information and I really appreciate you taking the time to put everything together.

    Reply
  106. Linda on

    This post is wonderful– and so helpful. I’m wondering how many lines of drip irrigation you run down the 4ft beds?– Say for snapdragons? Thank you, Floret!

    Reply
  107. Lori Hernandez on

    Thank you Erin! This post was so helpful, as I start working on charting out our farm on graph paper and trying to figure out what goes where. Listing the specific spacing that works for specific plants was especially helpful!

    Reply
  108. Linda on

    So awesome that you´re not keeping all this to yourself, giving others the chance to succeed in growing flowers instead of just seeing everybody else as competition. Your farm is just about the most beautiful farm I´ve ever seen and it´s my dream to have something similar here in southern Finland even though my climate is a bit more unforgiving and the summers a bit shorter. ;)
    Wish you all the best! <3

    Reply
  109. Janice McCulloch on

    Thanks for all this great info! BTW does using landscape fabric not change the pH of the soil after awhile? In using this do u need to use a product to return the pH to normal?

    Reply
  110. colin roberts on

    just starting out this spring mid north coast new south wales AUSTRALIA. love the BLOG

    Reply
  111. risa west on

    For many reasons I missed the season this year. New house, new (3rd) baby… and my backyard is a big piece of dirt… But I’m planning for next year and this is so helpful, this post and your blog in general. It’s taught me about planting in waves… I don’t remember the word you used but you know what I mean. And this spacing info sounds like square foot gardening which is what I’ve been wanting to do with my vegetables next year. This info is so helpful. I’ll be able to plan out my cut flower garden for next year and optimize space. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  112. patty klein on

    just found you, looking for resources for planting lisianthks (ya ya, i know it’s late, but sourcing then was challenging) — I wanna leave a comment to thank you, when I have time I will read it ALL!! thank you or your valuable advice, and thanx for sharing your experience– building on what others have done sure helps us all to “move on”!!!!

    Reply
  113. Trasa Roth on

    Thank you for the clear, informative post. This has been so helpful and inspiring. I’m eager to read more about how you make your grid holes in the ground cover. Never knew you could plant so close.

    Reply
  114. Katie on

    Thank you so much! The post was so clear and informative. I really liked the chart about what spacing worked for what flowers. The post gave me a little bit more bravery so I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  115. Amy Bee on

    Dear Erin

    Thank you so much for spelling this out, I too plan to start working around 2 acres of land next year, my partner is worried it won’t pay for itself, so this kind of knowledge will prove invaluable!

    Amy

    Reply
  116. Amy Young Miller on

    Hey there,
    I’m growing edible flowers (on a very small scale!) and other unusual edibles for many chefs in our area. I’ve learned so MUCH from this post, I thank you, truly, for taking the time to write it all down. I have a couple of quick questions: 1. What is the netting called, that is stretched between the posts (for the climbing plants) and where would you be able to buy that? and 2. Would you recommend, in high-wind areas (like where we live, in Nebraska) to plant nasturtiums in a hoop house? It gets much hotter, but it is not windy and of course there is more control. Thoughts? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Floret on

      Hi Amy,
      The netting is called Hortonova or Tenax netting and you can get it from Johnny’s. And as for growing nasturtiums in a hoop house, that shouldn’t be a problem. Good luck!

  117. Ruth on

    Well done! Thank you.

    Reply
  118. Pat Harris on

    Very helpful. I grow flowers to share with friends and family in a tiny spot in our backyard. I thought I was doing something goofy when I got desperate and came up with the idea of the grid you described. I’m relieved to know this is a real method. Very smart of you to vary bedsize by plant type. I’m going to try this.

    Reply
  119. Elise Stubbs on

    Thanks Erin, this is great. Do you reuse your weed matting each year, when your plants die down do you lift it off and dig out the roots then lay back down or does it need replacing? Also where do you get your brilliant hoops and metal grid is there a particular supplier or is it just something you have made yourself. I will read on I’m sure you have covered this further on. Thanks Elise FB Forge Farm Jersey Channel Isles

    Reply
  120. Lindsey on

    First off thank you so much for the wealth of knowledge you share with the floral community. You are a true inspiration! I have a topic that I know might not be something you are able to speak about openly, but as someone new to the industry I was wondering if you would consider posting about pricing….wholesale…retail…bridal customers. There is so much to consider!

    Reply
  121. Tobey Nelson on

    Just in case you haven’t read enuf comments of praise… !! Thanks for sharing. Growing vines is a real curiosity for me – the training methods, and the harvesting/detangling methods. If you have time for a few tidbits about that it would be appreciated by me! Thanks!

    Reply
  122. Marcia on

    I have spent all day planning my garden, and these posts are a constant source for great info. If you don’t have drip irrigation, can you still use the landscape fabric?

    Reply
  123. peggy on

    I’m so excited to get started using this theory of planting! The information is fabulous. I’m most interested in the use of landscape fabric for my zinnias – or if I even need it. For years I simply dump a bag of harvested seeds in with some fresh soil and then gently work that into their “bed”. So far so good, but like the idea of a more structured cutting garden for them. Also, I’m sure you may have written about this, but the dreaded weed problem can be overwhelming. Thanks so much!!

    Reply
  124. Ellie on

    Hi Erin,

    I am so excited to have found your blog, we just bought our first home and have .33 of an acre to plan on. My husband and I have never had a garden so the whole experience is going to be quite an eye opener. Could you give some recommendations on what to put in the soil to make our plants happy? also how do you burn holes in your landscaping fabric?

    looking forward to a year of growing in and out of the ground with the help of your blog,
    Ellie

    Reply
  125. Brother Placidus Lee OSB on

    I’d be interested to see how your Hyacinth Bean does. I’ve been wanting to try it for a few years and just got some seeds this year.

    Reply
  126. Anna on

    Thank you x

    Reply
  127. Best Books for Beginning Farmer-Florists - Floret Flowers on

    […] bigger, rather than trying to grow better and more intensively on the two acres we have available (I shared more about that mistake in my recent Feb 4 post). It’s a brilliant book and a must have for EVERYONE. Like Elliot Coleman’s books, […]

    Reply
  128. Rebekah on

    I’m so excited & a bit scared to try planting blooms on a larger scale besides just for decorating my yard. I have a very small space & I’m still trying to choose what few blooms to start with and where to put them. This was a great post tho & I’m positive I’ll reference it later. I’ve never used landscaping fabric though. It must keep weeds from popping up? What kind do u use & how do u get the perfect burn hole for ur plants? Do u wait til they’re a certain size to do that?

    Reply
  129. Saneth on

    Hey Erin!
    Thanks for the great info. I know I’ve read a post on your blog about the landscape fabric before, but can’t seem to find it. I was curious about the amount of rows you have for each bed. Since most of the landscape fabric I can find is only 48″, how do you get that many rows on each row? Do you have any space between the rows, and do the landscape fabric overlap? I also wanted to see what your best advice was for burning the wholes into the fabric. Thanks a bunch!!

    Reply
  130. Angela on

    Thank you for a great post and thank you for being so generous with your information.
    I am reading from Austraila and only have a small yard but you have really ignited my passion for Sweet peas. Would love to see some growing tips for Dahlias too.

    Reply
  131. Agnes Szeredi on

    My hobby/passion is growing into something bigger as I am in my second year of intensively growing flowers for market and weddings on my small cold (I live in Winnipeg, Canada) plot. My garden is about 5200 square feet which is only about an 1/8 of an acre! I am a home schooling mom so it suits me to keep my business’ size manageable but I do have the space to at least double my size if I so wish. Also I am on a very limited budget so I have to do things on the cheap where possible. The learning curve is steep but it is all very exciting. This information is a good help because I am really working at producing as much as I can out of my small space. A question I have is about grid support netting you use for taller flowers. I didn’t use anything last year and yield and quality suffered on a number of plants. Where do you buy your netting. I am not seeing anything easy to buy like that retail in Canada. Thank you in advance.
    Agnes
    Agnes

    Reply
  132. Virginia on

    Yes!!!! This is exactly the type of info that is helpful. As I measure my growing space available and look to see if I can get two rows, both four feet wide and 50 feet long. The exact spacings for which plants is so helpful! Now I just need to compare which ones grow fast/slow. I’d love to know more about your fabric. I have cut holes in mine with scissors for tomatoes, but it ends up pretty mangled looking, and your holes look so symmetrical and tidy. Can you reuse it time after time?
    Keep the info coming it’s PERFECT! :)

    Reply
  133. Jan on

    Thank you so much for your blog I struggle with spacing so every thing you have said helps, I don’t know how you find time with a family & busy business, so bless you for sharing your wisdom so freely

    Reply
  134. Jill on

    Just found your website; perfect February reading! Ohio weather in the city is very different than yours; going to have to think about this and these varieties. Just missed Sunny Meadows’ Farm tour last year but am hoping to make it this year.

    Reply
  135. Karen Ackerman on

    Thank you so much! I hope you realize what you have actually done..Not only saved so many of us the frustration of trying to lay this out to get the most production out of our land but encouraged us that IT CAN BE DONE…I can never thank you enough for sharing your hard work, time and dedication to the rest of us flower farmers…I have two acres and was thinking about trying to get more land but with this, I don’t have to..It’s all one girl can handle anyway. God bless you!

    With the greatest appreciation in my heart,
    Karen

    Reply
    • Floret on

      Karen, this is so wonderful to hear and I’m thrilled this post has helped you : )

  136. Mona Gabriel on

    love, love, love……
    I have been a backyard flower gardener for 45 years…My grandmother grew daylilies..acres of them but your information will change my way of doing things. I have always dreamed of a beautiful cutting garden..I will adopt many of your practices immediately..Especially your use of landscape fabric as I have an awful time with weeds..Thank you for being so generous with your teaching. Can’t wait for more from you…
    Love,
    Mona

    Reply
  137. Sarah on

    This is EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you! I am just getting started on selling for market and you have answered my questions perfectly!

    Reply
  138. Jenny on

    This is SO helpful. I sm struggling to figure out how to start in a smal space …while I have more available… Efficiency is definitely the name of is business. I am really looking forward to reading more. Keep it up.

    Reply
  139. Evan Neal on

    Erin,
    As a fledgling flower farmer I look up to as a teacher, role model, and design aficionado. With this article, I have yet another reason to call you my hero! You are growing where you are planted, and making your two “tiny” acres a production powerhouse makes me so excited to grow commercially on my even smaller scale, striving to enjoy abundance on limited land.

    Reply
  140. Kim on

    Your generous sharing, of what is clearly years of research, makes me well up with gratitude. Tomorrow, I beginning burning landscape fabric. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Reply
  141. Farrar on

    What helpful information! I’ve read all of your postings from the most recent newsletter, and have copied each one of them to refer to while planning our upcoming growing space. This will be our family’s first year to grow flowers for profit (fingers crossed!), and needless to say, there’s a large learning curve- even for those who consider themselves avid gardeners. This post, as well as your post about succession planting, are particularly helpful when it comes to factoring in the cost of things like irrigation supplies. We probably have 10 acres of workable farm land, and I knew we would never think of tackling more than .25 acre this first year – if that. Like you, the end goal after a few years of trial and error would probably never be more than 1 or 2 acres. But once you start to do the math on compost, fertilizer, irrigation- forget about the labor to weed, harvest, etc. The $$ adds up. So the strategery of figuring out what we can really handle this first year – both as an economical investment, as well as woman/man hours (we have a little one to watch after too!) has been the biggest question to mull over, pull apart and seriously consider. One thing that I have a question about – and am interested for advice with – is in regard to compost. One source I have found – a local organic compost that is probably pretty great stuff – is about $30- 50.00 a cu/yd. This seems so expensive to layer at 2-3″! Having not grown flowers on a large scale (such as our small .25 acre!) – I am assuming, if all goes well, there is still a profit to be had when the dust settles in the fall? I haven’t referred to your archives, so let me know if there is a gem of info I haven’t unearthed! Thank you for all of your words of wisdom and very relevant information! You guys are so inspiring!

    Reply
  142. James on

    Thanks for writing such an articulate and informative posting. You most certainly are on the right track for wanting to share both your information and vast knowledge. I know many of us are just chomping to get the next installment of insight.

    So Thankful that you and your team are working on this. One of the best ways to foster greatness in others is by sharing your example of success!

    Looking forward to beginning my farming journey this season, the guidance is appreciated.

    Reply
  143. Liz on

    Thank you Erin for another great blog. After I ordered 2 of your sweet pea seed collections I realized I hadn’t really thought through where I was going to plant them. These lean principles will help me do that, thank you so much!

    Reply
  144. Sarah on

    Thank you Erin. These posts are SO helpful.
    Wondering about the netting. How do you set that up? it looks so tight and perfect….. will be using for the first time this year and I feel like I could use a tutorial! maybe a good blog post- which plants you use them for, best method of setting that up, etc.
    Also trying desperately to find landscape fabric that is not going to break the bank….. thoughts?
    Thanks again!!!

    Reply
  145. Catrinel on

    Thank you for a great series of posts, Erin, very useful even for an experienced gardener like me. It would be really useful if you could write a similar post for spacing dahlias. After years of trial and error I space them quite close together, more so if they are the smaller types, but I don’t have the space to grow them in rows, will have blocks of space instead, as we have small raised beds. This year I have decided to stop growing zinnias, I just cannot give them the right conditions. Will grow lots of dahlias instead, as they are a lot more tolerant of our wet cool weather. So I would be really interested in your advice on dahlia growing, from starting the tubers, planting them( how close?), to lifting them at the end of the season.

    Reply
  146. Christi on

    So much great information. I’m having trouble understanding the grid lay-outs, but maybe because you’ll show more specifically in later posts.

    Eager to read on!

    Christi
    (Texas)

    Reply
  147. Lise-Lotte Loomer on

    Great timing as well! The information is early enough in the season to really use it- thank you!
    Lise-Lotte

    Reply
  148. Lise-Lotte Loomer on

    Thank you so much! I just discovered your blog yesterday. As I am recovering from the flu, and these posts I am reading are TOTALLY inspiring me. I’m thinking that I might just transform my front garden. Thank you thank you!!!
    Lise-Lotte from Victoria BC where it’s been a lovely sunny day

    Reply
  149. Pipsypop Flowers on

    Really helpful information. Seriously you are saving me mistakes and defeat. I started selling dahlias last fall. Now I ordered more seeds than I have a market for. I have no experience growing Buplerum or Daucus or many other annuals. Thank you Erin for your instruction. I will be studying your blog intensely. Keep it coming and blessings to you.

    Reply
  150. Kelly on

    Thanks for this! I’ve almost finished my first growing season (which was more fail than success), and have learnt the valuable lesson of landscape fabric!! Do you find if you plant too close that you get less flowers/more foliage, or just higher plant loss? Really interested in what fabric you use, do you reuse it (the naturist in me hates the thought of more waste than necessary).

    Reply
  151. Barbara Tucker on

    Thank you so much for the pictures. Very helpful in seeing exactly how plants should be laid out.
    I would like to know what you recommend for trellising for sweet peas. I have a small backyard
    plot with 3 raised beds about 4×4 in each bed. I have way too many varieties of sweet peas
    but I couldn’t resist. I was planning to trellis down the center of the beds and then plant other
    varieties of seeds around the outside. What can you recommend? Can you also describe what
    materials you use to create the trellises? Thank you!

    Reply
  152. Melissa on

    This was absolutely the best. Thank you! You’re posts on flower production are the best info I’ve read so far for crop planning and field layout. I’m starting a farm and attempting growing flowers commercially for the first time this year. You just saved me from thousands of headaches and unnecessarily lost income. Much, much appreciated!

    Reply
  153. Zoe Sanchez on

    SUPER HELPFUL! Thank you for sharing your innovative ideas and lean principles! I have a 1/2 acre vegetable farm and it is all about growing BETTER, not bigger. Thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  154. Amy on

    Would love some guidance on setting up drip irrigation for the 9×9 spacing. So happy to have your February blog blizzard!

    Reply
  155. jacin on

    This is so helpful – we are only doing a small cutting garden out back but I am going to try the 9×9 method and see how it works out!

    Reply
  156. Thomie D on

    Love the site and your thoughts.. how are you cutting the holes so small Are you burning them with a blow torch or some other method?

    Reply
  157. Angela on

    I have been struggling on how much to plant, how much I can plant, and what to plant with what so this post has been very helpful in my spring planning! Thank you!

    Reply
  158. Erin on

    Perfect-exactly what I’m looking for!! Love all these info posts! Thank you ever so much!

    Reply
  159. Deanna on

    Exactly the plan and details I couldn’t quite visualize!!! Ditto an early asked question…when do you know when it’s time to pull the plug and move on to the next planting? I have a hard time pulling anything out before its dead…though I know I’m going to need to in order to master succession planting.

    Reply
  160. Reanna on

    This and your other post on succession planting are fantastic! I will share them with our farming alliance in southern Illinois. What a great resource!

    Reply
  161. Phoebe Poole on

    What a fantastic and informative series, Erin, thank you for sharing all of this information gained from your extensive experience. As a grower who has been managing farms and is now striking out alone, I’d love to see more specifics about your trellising, staking, hooping/hortonova-ing designs AND advice about marketing (both the flowers and yourself as the grower) from the ground up.

    Reply
  162. Alaina Noel on

    I just want to say thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom! It is all so helpful and inspiring !
    Alaina

    Reply
  163. Jana on

    Perfect! That’s exactly what I seek, important numbers :) Thank you very much. To all I recommend a workshop by Martin Fortier and his wife, who talk about growing intensively organic without big machinery. There is a lot of inspiring stuff to learn, also concernig a spacing… at abot 12 minute from the start. Stream here: http://www.virtualgrange.org/tutorial/profitable-market-gardening/

    Reply
  164. Holly on

    I am hooked!! Discovered your site while (simply) shopping for Dahlia tubers and you have completely ignited my imagination. I’m scrapping my vegetable “urban farm” this year and becoming a flower farmer! Preparing the beds, converting an unused shed into a growhouse, spending my days fully immersed in manual labor and LOVING it! Looking forward to your Feb. articles, please include as many details about your process-there is no such thing as too much information!! Thanks again for igniting this wonderful inspiration.

    Reply
  165. Ann on

    I’m viewing landscape fabric from Johnny’s, and wondering if it’s practical to cut lengths and piece certain portions together? It comes in 4′ 50′ and was planning 4′ 35 lengths for my beds. Thanks for any feedback!

    Reply
  166. Killoran on

    One thing I’m very curious about is orientation – specifically trellises. My plot is tiny, so it’s a bit more cramped and I’m trying to figure out how to maximise the exposure it gets by planting things in the right spot. I don’t want my trellises to shade anything out.

    Reply
  167. Becca on

    I don’t have a question. I just wanted to say holy shit! This is so awesome! xoxox

    Reply
  168. Carole on

    This post was VERY helpful! Would be interesting in hear specifics on your trellising technique. Looking forward to the post on landscape fabric!

    Reply
  169. Sharon on

    The only disappointing part of this February Blog Blizzard is that it’s not going to last all year!! It’s super-helpful and I love all the pictures.

    I have a very specific question. I’ve been using landscape fabric for years (for weed control), and I love it. I always try to keep the holes into which I plant as small as possible — under the assumption that larger holes mean more available real estate for weeds to grow — but I have a heck of a time getting my transplants into the holes. I don’t have particularly fat fingers, but some plants get squished or broken (especially sweet peas!!!) and I feel like it takes me forever to carefully place each plant in its little hole. There must be some secrets to doing this step better, and I would love to learn them!

    Reply
  170. Jen on

    Your blog posts and photos are pure bliss to view on a wintery day! I think I read everything on your site, pinning frantically to capture all the information you have so generously shared. Can’t wait to get into the garden and to apply the grid techniques. Now to sign up for the newsletter….

    Reply
  171. Gwen on

    Fantastic information. I’m sketching out my garden now and with your help I will have a great garden. Thank you

    Reply
  172. Elicia Jane on

    This will be my first year growing flowers for market and I’ll be honest, the scale and schedule of it all is a little daunting. I am looking forward to EVERY bit of this series! Do add a little ditty about your bed preparations, pretty please!!

    Thank you for your readiness to share what you know!

    Reply
  173. Debra McManus on

    It looks like one of the necessary features of your intensive system are your hoops and netting . How high off the ground do you place the netting? Do you only use 1 layer of netting. Also how do you contain your dahlias? Some of mine grow 6 feet tall and I haven’t found a solution that works! Thank you.

    Reply
  174. maureen on

    Thank you Erin for sharing your wisdom! You have a generous heart. I can’t wait to try your methods.

    Reply
  175. Lisa on

    Thank you so much for your generosity in not only sharing some of your trade secrets, but actually asking to find out what your readers want to know! I have been a “lurker” for awhile. I would like to know: which flower varieties would do best in containers? Can you explain your grid pattern a bit more? The photos of these are wonderful, but I think my brain may benefit from something a bit more rudimentary, like x’s marked out in a rectangle/square to mock up how your beds lay out. I would also be curious to learn more about how you utilize landscape fabric and how you plant under/through the holes, and why you opt for fabric versus wood/straw/compost mulch. Thank you so much! Looking forward to learning more!

    Reply
  176. Deborah on

    Your pictures and info are wonderful! I’m planning a small flower endeavor in my back yard and will sell at the end of my driveway. Can’t wait to get started especially with you as a wealth of information. Thanks for taking the time.

    Reply
  177. Jennifer Flowers Logan--Whimsy Flower Farm on

    I am always amazed by your photos of strong, straight snapdragons. I watched the Greenstone Gardens video with Barbara Lamborne and again was amazed by her snaps. I have used a local supplier of mushroom compost but so many of my snaps succumbed to a stem rot and the ones that didn’t were weak and fell over easily. The Chantillys did better than the rest. Also, what dimension netting do you use on your snaps? Would love some snap advice. Thanks! And the sweet pea trellis photo was exciting just to look at :)

    Reply
  178. Roxanne McCoy on

    Erin, this question has more to do with your cool season annual plantings than with spacings. Do you ever include Trachelium with your fall plantings?

    Reply
  179. Vanessa Vernham on

    Thanks! Its great content. What sort of soil do you have? Ph? Drainage? What sort of fertilizers do you use? Do you make your own compost? It it a windy place? Do you have any protective hedging? How long did it take to grow? What do you use for insect infestations? Sorry lots of questions. Love your blog,you guys amaze me!!!

    Reply
  180. Jane on

    This is super helpful!
    How many rows of drip tape are you using in each four foot bed? (Especially the 9×9 spacing?). I know this will vary in different soil types. I’m assuming that the landscape fabric keeps the soil moist longer, so you use less water?
    Thank you for sharing this amazing information!!!

    Reply
  181. Stacey Cross on

    Just ordered Lean Farming before reading this post, so synchronicity is playing which has always meant(at least to me) that the direction I’m heading is correct. Planting sweet peas and larkspur the begining of next week. Your posts are so helpful,so inspiring, so keep up the fantastic work.

    Reply
  182. Miele on

    I’m amazed at the imformation you’re sharing out of the desire to help those of us who want to grow gardens of our own! This post was extremely helpful in planning my garden for this spring. I can’t wait for the next post, and the one after that. Thank you!

    Reply
  183. Jane Mesch on

    So glad I stumbled upon your post on Facebook by FleaMarket Gardening. I have dreamed of doing a cutting garden after visiting one a couple of years ago. Our yard is around an acre. I just need to decide how to convince my husband into giving up some of his yard. He loves to mow! I thought I would start small with a bed or two and see how it goes. Maybe then I could convince him. Thanks so much. Am looking forward to catching up on your blogs!

    Reply
  184. plantmut on

    Timing is perfect and I’m taking notes as I read. Again this will be my first year pursuing this and you are what has pushed me to take action. Thank you for all your time and energy you put into this. I appreciate EVERYTHING, seriously. Warm vibes to you and yours.

    Reply
  185. Annelie on

    Thank you for sharing. This is our second year of production using a bed system similar to yours. We are doing both mixed vegetables and cut flowers right now but I used to do floral design and would love to expand our flowers. Your spacing information is really useful – thank you! I love the visual quality of your website. BEAUTIFUL pictures!

    Reply
  186. Kristine-Santa Cruz Dahlias on

    Under the landscape cloth in your four foot beds, how many drip tapes do you lay down and what is the spacing? How often do you need to water under the cloth?

    Thank you for sharing all your wealth of knowledge. Lucky us!

    Reply
  187. Elisabeth Ontario on

    Love the posts, love the information and love the pictures. Always nice to see some different pics of your farm. It’s great to see all the comments, I can always pick up some good tips reading through them. I’m looking forward to your book, but until then I greedily sop up all the good stuff I can and dream about the day I can leave my desk job and make it work. Until then I take baby steps with my own garden and make lots of mistakes as I modify your generous tips to fit my budget and lack of equipment and time. As I’m starting from little experience it would be helpful to know of ways I can better my skills to prepare and develop a budding flower farmer. I have often contemplated whether I should get a job at a green house or for a vegetable CSA grower? All those types of jobs would have some transferable skills, I’m sure. You have so many parts to your title of flower farmer encompassing everything from planning, to growing to businesswoman. Could you expand on that sometime? Personal development for a well rounded flower farmer? With gratitude for the beauty you have added to my life the last few years I have been following you!

    Reply
  188. Laurie on

    This was excellent and so helpful! I totally appreciated the way you broke down each grid size and listed which flowers are appropriate for those sizes. Being a complete newbie, I’d like to ask about how you secure the (plastic?) grids that the plants grow through. Are they attached to the little hoops? Thank you so so SO much for all you generously share us!

    Reply
  189. Barbara Ayers, Waverly School Farm on

    Thanks for the confirmation! We have been planting closer and closer each year, it seems. It started with the single stem sunflowers, which nowadays we just broadcast over the bed, rearranging any of the big seeds that fall too close together, and then cover with compost. Last year, I followed your directions for pre burning some landscape fabric. This was a super fun project for our middle schoolers, who couldn’t believe their good fortune at being handed a flaming butane torch, but in our hot, sunny climate I found that the soil under the fabric baked to a hard, crunchy crust, and for me, planting through the holes was pretty awkward. Love to see how you do it! This year, we have been just laying some hortonova netting on the bed and using that for a planting guide. It is really easy for our kids (ranging from preK through high school) to get some accurate spacing. Pretty tight at around 6″, but so far our anemones have been extra productive and the ranunculus look very promising. It will be interesting to see what kind of disease pressure we get as the season goes on. And of course, I have the benefit of some wonderful volunteers who actually like weeding! Keep these posts coming, so, so helpful!

    Reply
  190. Jacqueline Stamatopoulos on

    Really interesting read and good to see that the closer planting distances work. I always plant too close becauseI have too many plants, I feel I have to plant every seedling, I can’t bring myself to throw any away.

    What do you feed the beds with in order to maintain fertility? Do you test the soil regularly?

    Reply
  191. Irma on

    Thank you for another very helpful blog entry! I very much appreciate your openness in sharing what you have learned. I have grown flowers for years already for personal enjoyment and am planning to grow a large cutting garden this year with hopes of selling my abundance of it’s a successful first year. Since I haven’t been in the market for selling blooms before I find pricing daunting and can’t seem to find info or tips on that easily. I would love to see a post on pricing market bouquets, blooms to florists, grocers, etc. Thanks!

    Reply
  192. Kim Hawkins on

    Oh, and THANK YOU for your seed market. It’s so good to know what varieties will grow well AND be really good for cutting and arranging.

    Reply
  193. Kim Hawkins on

    Another excellent post. Love the pragmatic info. Thank you for your time and effort to promote your craft!

    Just a comment, that I’m sure you will address in future posts: in intensive gardening a la Jon Jeavons, you must have deep soil that is what makes the intensive plant spacing work.

    Veg/market gardening peeps like Eliot Coleman and Jon-Martin Fortier are also big on this, with far less tilling and no double digging. Their deep soil is made via amendments, letting nature do the work of building deep, friable soil,

    So, more on amendments and bed development, please.

    Reply
  194. britt on

    I got a link to this post from another blog i read, but i am now FOLLOWING. I love this and once I get back to my house with my tiny plot of a garden I will come back to this sort of advice over and over again. Thank you

    Reply
  195. Chas B. on

    Thanks so much for generously sharing your success & errors. This post has been very helpful. I am new to planting in fabric. I was wondering how you set up drip irrigation for multiple rows and how often you water. My biggest problem is keeping weeds under control in a large garden. I really like the grid idea & keeping the rows close, less space for those annoying weeds!!! ?

    Reply
  196. Charlotte on

    I’m brand new to the business and I will be reading everything you write and using it as a guide. Thanks for sharing!
    Looking forward to more on the landscape fabric too!

    Reply
  197. Steven on

    Also, hadn’t heard you talk about salvia leucantha before as one of your cut flowers, and would love to hear your experience growing it. How does it fare in the Pacific NW? We’re located in the Southwest high desert, and have been looking at more salvias and agastaches as cut flower material.

    Reply
  198. Alyssa Hargrave on

    WOW, thank you so much for sharing! I am so grateful that you generously choose to share your secrets to success with the world rather than guard it behind closed doors. I admire your farm & operation so so much–I hope to having something like it someday!!

    Reply
  199. Laura on

    Another great post! Thank you so much. I get overwhelmed very easily with techniques and details of gardening, but your writing is clear and simple so that I’m actually getting it without wanting to hide (yay!). Plus, the delay in having installments definitely helps. I’m really curious how the landscape fabric is done, can’t wait to read about that.

    Reply
  200. Grizelda O'Connor on

    The ‘French Intensive Method’ popularized by John Jeavons in his practical and instructive book How to Grow More Vegetables than you ever thought possible, is truly one of the classics of organic production. My ex husband and I used the methods and designs outlined to establish a highly productive, disease and pest free, organic market garden, in the 1980’s and early 90’s. The real secret is the health of the soil; one cannot grow much properly without highly fertile soils. We did as you Erin, multi cropping and succession planting from mid February until late November, utilizing row covers in spring and fall. Our crops were, spinach, lettuces, leeks, parsley, snow peas,etc and I grew herbs and flowers to add to our line up. We also ran a very busy sprout operation growing alfalfa, sunflower, beansprouts, year round. Needless to say the grocers liked our produce. In those days the organic movement was just gaining steam; our secret ingredient being well balanced properly built and handled compost, the composting program on our farm was as important as our growing, wouldn’t have had much success without it.
    I am so happy to see you following this method, it is respectful of the land, follows really sensible cultural practices, and has fabulous results. People are blown away by the light and colors that emanate from flowers when they are full of earthly magic.
    No more mega production and endless days for me now, 35 years on, just a beautiful garden on a scale I am able to manage by myself. Still a wild florist and cater to my small market of customers, brides and friends. Love your whole approach and the fact you are so good at it!

    Reply
  201. Miggs on

    Thank you! Your presentation: description, sources & photos make the process clear. Love your site, blog, photos. Have been fascinated with growing/arranging flowers since I followed my grandmother into greenhouses/nurseries and watched her grafting roses as a child. Here in Kansas City area I have a mixed flower/David Austin rose garden that is about 15 years old. Restructuring it this year…pulling out failing roses, adding new plus as many cut flowers as possible. Hope you will cover how best to improve soil each year. Need help there beyond back to earth, mulch and epsom salts. We have an abundance of deer and use organic deer treatment about once a week which serendipitously acts as fertilizer; rarely use any pesticides except for Japanese beetles, ugh! Would be interested in other options.

    Reply
  202. Katie Farm 58 on

    I greatly look forward to your landscape fabric blog. This will be my first year using it and I’m a little unsure how to plant successionally with the fabric. But love the confirmation this post gives me that I am not crazy planting flowers this way! Thank you and your whole team for the time and effort you put into this post!

    Reply
  203. Anna on

    I am on the search for a little farm of my own and leaving the land I’ve been using and this is SO helpful! Thank you!!

    Reply
  204. Shelly on

    Floret team, thank you so much for your encouragement!!! Specifically to find joy in the moment instead of jumping too far too fast. Thank you for laying out steps for positive growth and pointing out potential pitfalls. Most challenging for me right now is how to plan for bouquets and succession planting. I do not have a greenhouse/or hoop house. Currently I mostly use a table in my house and windows to get seeds started…and pray my 4 year old doesn’t get curious. Do you have tips for those of us who would like to succession plant but struggle with a system to do that effectively?

    Reply
  205. Terri Bowlby-Chiasson on

    A question for a post in the future… Pricing the different varieties of flowers, and how do you price a bouquet? Thank you for all that you do and share!

    Reply
  206. erin on

    You have been my flower icon for so long now! I am so thankful for all of your wisdom you so freely share with us. I am a backyard gardener and part time floral designer. I have a mostly perennial garden, but have made space throughout so I can grow your beautiful seeds. My greatest challenge is the flower sucking/munching insects. I can’t seem to find a way to get rid of them organically. There is no garden center in the Kansas City area that has been able to offer me any help without suggesting pesticides. I keep buying them and then returning them when I think about all our wonderful butterflies and bees.

    Reply
  207. Amber on

    Wow, I can’t stop reading and re-reading this post! I’m so happy DS introduced Floret to my world! Visual and practical inspiration, thank you so much, so long lawn and hello to flowers!
    Looking forward to all you have to say on soil amendments. I think I’ve made some mistakes that have led to some soil fungus in my garden : ( Shame on me for not researching first.

    Reply
  208. Shannon on

    Thanks for all the information and inspiration you share. I woukd like to know more about growing in your hoop houses, do you lift the sides during the summer heat or open doors or? Also interested in how you lay the landscape fabric and keep it in place. Lastly, do you have deer to contend with?

    Reply
  209. Ann on

    This is brilliant! Very interested in learning more about using landscape fabric. I’m a backyard gardener but I’ve had a cutting garden since I moved to my house (people think I’m crazy, but it’s a good kind of crazy). I love this series – any information on bed preparation, maximizing production in a small space/home garden space, and smart working tips are very much appreciated!

    Reply
  210. Audrey Coley on

    YAY! I have been reading your blogs older posts while eagerly awaiting new info:)
    I am curious about perennial flowers or things that might weedy like the queen annes lace, where does this go?
    LOVE you and thanks!!

    Reply
  211. Teresa Campbell on

    I am interested in a better understanding of the garden grids. I am hoping that you will explain this in more detail over the coming weeks. Thanks!

    Reply
  212. Christine O'Brien on

    Hi Erin & Floret Team,

    excellent post! Thank you so much, it is very helpful. We are in the process of purchasing landscaping cloth and the spacing of holes was very helpful. I want to pack as many flowers in the beds as possible. Again this post is extremely helpful to me.

    I was wondering: do you ever talk to your seedlings? I sowed Icelandic Poppies that I ordered from you, and find myself chatting to them every morning. Not the most patient person, but hopefully they’ll pop up soon… (sowed them 1/30). Your photographs of the ‘Sherbert Mix’ look so delicious, I’m hoping to get some similar results. Also awaiting the Ranunculus and Anemone to awaken, that I’m trying to presprout. Hopefully my daily chatter will help them along, rather than scare them from growing. With all your excellent growing information that I’ve been following, , I’m confident that things will happen soon!

    Thank you! You’re a true motivator.

    Reply
  213. Celia on

    THIS, YES! I am trying to design my small plot of land and wasn’t sure how I was going to actually move forward with spacing the flowers out but this is great! It gives me plenty to think about and incorporate into my design. If we aren’t working with exactly flat land (there is a small roll or knob feature in the middle that I would love to work with in terms of the layout and design of the whole garden, then the surrounding area is flat) what is some advice on curving rows or working with the shape of the land rather than just having traditional straight rows? (I’m hoping to have the garden to not only grow my own flowers for my wedding next year, but to have the space to host the reception around to help create a nice environment, as well as collect seeds for my handmade, plantable paper company). How possible is it for my garden to still produce with a more intentionally unique design?

    Thank you again for sharing what you do and how you do it. This type of transparency is so inspiring and I am incredibly grateful.

    Reply
  214. Kathryn Cronin on

    Dear Erin,

    I will echo much that has gone before but wanted to respond as requested. Firstly a huge thank you. Your generosity of spirt is a wonderful thing. The exact spacing was just the information I was looking for – so for other posts although I appreciate it takes time, the detailed specifics are what I find really useful. The other element is what crops you choose to cover and when, e.g. do you have your dahlias under cover initially then out in the fresh air when they get going? do you grow your geraniums under cover all the time? Do you have portable covers? I know here in ol’ blighty I will need poly tunnels, especially as I live in the north west, not the pacific NW but Cheshire ha ha! This will be an investment so I guess any articles on your experiences would be useful too. An analysis of your best sellers would be interesting too. Wishing you, your team and your family the very best, k x P.S. as I live beyond your posting zone, I have need to be creative about finding your varieties – post to the UK soon :)

    Reply
  215. Elisa Lane on

    Thank you for this post. Sometimes I’m not sure when to pull out a crop to get another crop in. All the flowers seem to have a peak bloom time frame but I think I’m leaving them in longer then I should and should really be pulling it out to plant another crop. In a post can you cover a few crops to tell us the :DTM(from your experience, not what seed catologs suggest), bloom time, and at what week you pull something out to plant another crop. And then give examples of what follows certain crops (like a May 15th planting of zinnias are pulled out on __ and followed by ___.) this would be super helpful info. Thank you for your great explanations and making us all fall in love with flowers!

    Reply
  216. Greta Jankoviak on

    I thoroughly enjoy reading all your posts and articles! They are all so inspirational and motivating! I also thank you for your details and specific numbers that you used in this post. After reading a lot of your previous posts and past articles from Growing for Market, I’ve always wondered how wide and long your beds are and here you’ve answered that! I’m wondering how many years you use your landscape fabric and how do you roll it up and store it? You will probably touch upon this in your next post on landscape fabric. Also, why do you use fabric and not a biodegradable mulch? Many other things I’m interested in learning are: efficiency in your farm process from seeding to harvesting to bouquet making, succession planting, pinching seedlings-when and which varieties and quick bouquet making techniques and combinations for your mixed bouquets. One major topic I’d like to learn more about is using hoophouses and succession planting in them from season to season. I live in a cold climate (4b-5a) and would like to extend the season as much as possible and learn how to rotate crops between the seasons, even if it is with vegetables in the winter. Thank you, Erin and the Floret Team, for listening to your readers and providing this information!

    Reply
  217. Jillian on

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge & experience. You asked for ideas of what we want to learn about in your last post, & I’ve been thinking about it since. I loved the knittty gritty of this post, with numbers & sizes & grids, which flowers flourish in what size best, etc. I think I would have been hesitant to put plants that close, but I’m going to try. I know you make your own compost, but is it enough to supply your whole farm with it or do you have to bring some in?

    You put your landscape cloth down. Do you ever bring it up to amend the soil & add compost/manures/leaves in the fall, & if so, how often? Do you ever let the soil rest & plant cover crops & just let it sit?

    You have a seaweed & kelp fertilizer….do you make your own, or do you buy a concentrate? Do you have any other organic fertilizers that you use? Do you have a specific product you like?

    I look forward to your posts & inspiration. I know it must take a lot of work & time, but I am very appreciative of it. Thank you so much! I’ll keep thinking of questions & ideas.

    Reply
  218. Cindy Creps on

    Thanks Erin, this is great info! I use the fabric mats also but burned all my holes at 12″ spacing. Over the last year or so I have realized that this is too much space and I needed to plant closer so that I could get more plants into the space. Guess I will be burning more holes!

    Reply
  219. Shannon Simpkins on

    This was fantastic information! I live in Texas on 2 small acres in the middle of Austin. What a confirmation to understand how closely you plant to get such grand results. You are very inspiring. Keep up the beautiful work. I truly cherish the insight you impart. Now, I just need to figure out what grows best here!! Thank you!!!!!

    Reply
  220. Kelley Simmons on

    wow! such amazing content here, as usual. I am just beginning this flower farming adventure and all of your posts have led to lots of pondering, planning, and daydreaming :-) This post in particular is really helpful….think of the time, money and stress you’ll be helping me (and all your readers) with as I plan my very first beds. thank you!!!
    Kelley

    Reply
  221. Linda Q on

    I know you have mentioned this before but what kind of landscape fabric do you use and how do you go about burning the holes… Tools and templates for the holes. Also what flowers need the hortona netting for support? I invested in drip irrigation last year and it is so much easier than dragging hoses and buckets up and down the aisles?

    Reply
  222. Shannon Algiere on

    Thank you Erin, For the few years that I’ve been following your blog, I’ve been inspired by your photos to tighten plant spacing experimentally. I was spoiling my plants before:) Great to hear your technique behind the pictures. Flowers moved to the top of our farm income when I began treating them like I did our biointensive greens production. Soil health is the heart of it all! Gratitude to your good work and open source sharing.

    Reply
  223. Treea Cracknell on

    Erin,
    thank you for all your recent posts, your generosity with sharing your knowledge and experience is fantastic thank you so much.

    Reply
  224. Anne on

    Hi Erin. Thank you, thank you for the blog. After years of squeezing young plants into my tiny garden here in the south of England, this week I have rented an Allotment -hurrah! I’ll be down there this Sunday to measure it and use your spacing advice to figure out how many seedings to get started in a couple of weeks time. So your advice is very timely.

    Reply
  225. Rebekah Critchlow on

    Such a brilliant post, so excited to read the ones coming up! Thank you for taking the time to to share, it is very very much appreciated :)

    Reply
  226. Maria on

    Love this post. Thank you!

    Reply
  227. Marina on

    Thank you for the article! This is so helpful!

    Reply
  228. Gail Robinson on

    Thanks Erin + Floret team, another great post :) I’m only growing flowers in my backyard so last year I cleared a patch and then this year I’ve laid plastic to kill the lawn to double my space for a few more flowers. Thanks to your blog last winter (sub tropics, winter is almost the perfect time for planting :)) I grew quite a few flowers from seed that I’d only ever seen in catalogues, so thanks for all the information, inspiration and beautiful pictures. I will have to have a go at planting my Zinnia’s with the spacing you mentioned in this post and see how they fare in regards to mildew, I find the summer humidity here (Brisbane, Australia) can wreak a bit of havoc, but it’s all part of the learning curve :)

    Reply
  229. Kyler on

    I really liked this post. This is our second year as a cut flower farm and we spent a lot of time searching the Internet for this very information. As always thank you for your knowledge, it is invaluable :) This year I have spent countless hours planning a succession seeding schedule and I still feel nervous that I don’t have it quite right. I would love to see a condensed version of your succession plan. After working for so many hours on mine I feel somewhat protective over it, almost like it is a child lol. A good succession planting schedule is absolutely necessary to be a successful grower and I would very much appreciate and help in fine tuning mine! Thank you again

    Reply
  230. Kaui on

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing your team’s best practices so generously. Your love of flowers, thorough growing trials, and encouragement for ALL skill levels is what makes me love Floret (plus all the gorgeous pictures).
    For the sweet peas, do you have to rotate their beds each growing season or does your in-season soil maintenance take care of soil quality?
    Also eagerly looking forward to any info on succession planning.

    Reply
  231. sarasbloomz on

    Thank you so much!! This is exactly the information I was looking for to improve my production and space issues. What strength of landscape fabric do you use and how do you keep it down? Also, what type of netting do you use for the flowers to grow up and how far off the ground does it go? Thanks!

    Reply
  232. Shelley Yoshiwara on

    Very helpful, I really want to be more space efficient this year. So this information definitely gives me the info to make that happen!! Thanks!

    Reply
  233. Ashley on

    Your spacing info and advice has always been so helpful! These articles are spot on informative ;) Thanks!

    Reply
  234. rosen petals on

    I have read this article . this article has very interesting information.

    Reply
  235. Olivia on

    Loved it! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom with us!

    Reply
  236. Shelly on

    So inspiring. I loved reading this, thank you.

    Reply
  237. Joshua Blades on

    Thank you so much for all that you do Erin. Your a true inspiration. My wife and I have been flower farmer florists part time for a while and may decide this year to give it a further go. I was wondering if you put drip tape under or on top of the landscape fabric? I’m assuming you put drip tape under the fabric, installed before you lay the fabric and plant it up. Or are some of the crops overhead irrigated and this water falls through the fabric. As well are the small hoops over your snaps metal pipes you bent of are they pvc? I would love to see how the ends of your walk in tunnels work to. Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!
    Joshua & Adria
    Bee-Friend Flowers
    Victoria BC, Canada

    Reply
  238. Jill on

    Erin and Floret Team,
    I have loved every detail about your past two blog postings. So much information swirling through my brain. Thank you for all your time, knowledge and passion! I love reading all the other gardeners questions and posts. Truly inspiring! Thank you!

    Reply
  239. Xenia on

    Hi again. I had one more question — in your blog about growing zinnias you mentioned that he holes in your landscape fabric are pre-burned before you lay it over the beds. How do you do this? It may be just that you roll it out elsewhere, burn the holes using some kind of template (please advise more about this as well), and then roll it back up to use for the plant bed. However, I have used practically every open space for planting so I’m a bit confused as to how to go about pre-burning the holes for my beds without damaging my beds. I’m grateful for any help, and thank for sharing your time and information.

    Reply
  240. Heather on

    I really want to use burned landscape fabric but I won’t have drip irrigation this year. I think I will only be able to use it to cover the walking paths between rows. I’m thinking drip and fabric must be used together, yes??

    Reply
  241. Ria on

    Thank you so much Erin! This information is really helpful. Please keep it coming.

    Reply
  242. Steven on

    Loving this blog blizzard, your posts are always a treasure trove of knowledge!

    Excited to hear how you plan succession plantings and how to plant for bouquets.

    Loving all the technical and specific details as well – can’t wait for the next post! Thank you for doing this.

    Reply
  243. Xenia on

    This information is invaluable. Thank you so much for sharing. I have several questions and anxiously look forward to your responses. Do you utilize the same spacing you discussed for both transplants as well as plants directly sown? Also, are your drip lines under or over the landscape fabric, and do you apply fertilizer through the drip lines? Do you use the landscape fabric primarily for weed control or to heat up the soil, and do you reuse the fabric? Lastly, what kind of a template do you use to burn the holes into the fabric and what do you burn them with?

    Again, many thanks for sharing your time and information.

    Reply
  244. Beth S on

    Can’t wait to pack in the plants this year and have more flower abundance to share. Thank you for sharing your farming tips! I have visited your site many, many times while working on my flower crop plan the past few days. I’m printing this post as we speak so I can refer to your spacing as a guide! Thank you!

    Reply
  245. Jennifer on

    I’m so glad I discovered your website today! I always want to grow more flowers. I can never have enough flowers! I live on the Maine coast where we have a relatively short growing season so I really want to maximize the months I do have for flower production.
    I look forward to reading more about your techniques.

    Reply
  246. Tammy Norman on

    Right. On. Time. I’ve been struggling with my first year bed plans for the past two weeks. Thanks to this post, I feel confident and prepared. Can’t wait to see your hugely successful, tiny two acres with my own eyes in September!

    Reply
  247. Deana on

    You are absolutely like Mastercard= Priceless! Thank you and your team so much! Wonderful post and can’t wait for the mentioned upcoming ones…definitely hitting the mark with me =)

    Reply
  248. Heather on

    Erin, I just want you to know that my family and I are reading every word of every post. We’re getting ready to break ground this spring. Thank you for sharing your experience. I don’t know how good we will be at this but I have wanted this for many years. Thank you for helping me try to make my dream come true. Sincerely, Heather

    Reply
  249. Rondi Anderson on

    In the vine section could you mention the distance the rows are apart. You mention they are a foot apart on either side of the post, but I wondering how far to the next row of posts?

    Thanks! Lovely post!

    Reply
  250. Ang3 on

    Erin, that’s exactly how I envisioned growing. I’m so happy you were able to confirm I’m on the right track. Thank you for breaking down your bed sizes with what you grew. That’s very helpful. I’m looking forward to seeing how you made that weed fabric.
    Thanks for all you do and sharing your gifts. I love your grateful attitude

    Reply
  251. Mona on

    Thank you for your insight and wisdom!
    How can we apply these thoughts to pots gardening? I’m afraid pots is basically all the space I have right now…

    Reply
  252. Michelle Potter on

    I am so incredibly grateful for all the time and energy you put in to sharing your knowledge. My husband and I are suburbanite empty nesters closing on a hobby farm in April outside of Denver. Flowers (and chickens) are two of my great loves, keeping me grounded, rooted and connected. We are going to start growing flowers on an acre using your blueprint and see where it takes us. Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Reply
    • Robin Taber on

      Welcome to Colorado and to Denver, Michelle!
      I am in western Colorado and would love to meet you as a fellow flower farmer, and I can introduce you to other farmer florists in the Denver and Front Range area as well. Please email me :)

    • Suzanne on

      I’m starting in west Denver this summer – gardening on a couple of yards, definitely an urban gardener! Would love to hear from other Colorado flower growers. [email protected]

  253. Melody on

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Can’t say it enough. So helpful as I get ready to plant out my first plants.

    Reply
  254. Merissa on

    Wonderful information. It’s great to learn about spacing and keeping the weeds out with fabric. I loved seeing your photos of the vine plants and the netting or is it wire fencing that you’ve used to support them, anyways it looks great and sturdy. I have a small space in the yard and will try what you’ve shown here as we have plants that have the tendency to climb. I also want to learn more about using landscaping fabric to prevent weeds that sprout up everywhere. How much of an opening does each plant need and how do you water with fabric around your plants? Pardon my newbie to gardening questions :) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and knowledge, the photos are beautiful! I love Floret!

    Reply
  255. Linda Wong Garl on

    Wow, long ways down to the bottom….anyway…skimmed many and will read more when I have time…great ideas, thanks for sharing…would love some infor on what you use for amendments…and how much, how often…think that maybe my problem…thanks for all this info…great to hear what other people are doing too….look forward to reading your blog and readers joys, questions and concerns….xoxo

    Reply
  256. Jayne' Childs on

    Our home was once a union hospital 16 years it is our home, my studio/gallery-Jardinière at Atelier Estate we have a greenhouse and some gardens and tree and flower beds developed but always dreamed of creating some real cutting beds. You write so well, concise and easy to understand. Your forthright attitude is a true blessing in this day and age. Sending you good vibes from the little village of Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada. http://www.atelierestate.com

    Reply
  257. Susan on

    Great article! I’m going to follow you on FB so that my front garden will be better this year!

    Reply
  258. Erika Stephens on

    This is incredible information. I am taking notes and taking screen shots. Thank you for your efforts.

    Reply
  259. Debbie on

    So I am one of your “blog lurkers”. I did not know of that title, but i will now try to avoid it, lol. I am probably your mother’s age. Our family has been growing flowers for local florists for over 25 years. Now mostly hubby and I. We have one acre and one high tunnel. We have been growing our plants in a grid pattern for many years, have figured out the spacing through trial and error, and keep track of it in a small journal. What I really want you to know is that I think you are amazing, I have learned so much and have been so inspired more than you will ever know in the past 2 years of reading your blog. I never tire of this business, but I do get tired:) Blessings to your family and staff, I love everything you are doing!!!

    Reply
  260. Marie on

    Erin, .
    I do have a question about the 9″ by 9″ spacing. When you mentioned zinnias, do you mean the tall 36″-40″ varieties? I would have never thought to plant zinnias that close.

    I have been growing tall zinnias for years and this year I am starting a gardening program for a group of adults with special needs. We are growing cut flowers in one of their gardens and then making bouquets to give away. The garden is not huge and I have been trying to figure out how to get all the plants I want to grow with them in this small space. I can plant so many more plants than I thought. This will also help with weeding!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
    Marie

    Reply
  261. Amy on

    Great post – thank you for sharing this information! I am curious about the photo of your sweet pea trellis set up and the wide expanse of landscape fabric in between each trellis. Is that just an extra-wide walking pathway to keep all your beds the same width, or do other plants go in that space?

    Reply
    • Audrey Coley on

      Also, curious about this:)

  262. Yara on

    This is so thorough, straight forward and helpful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience! Can’t wait for the next post.

    Reply
  263. Sarah My Flower Cart on

    Another wonderful, informative post! I’d love to know more about bouquet planning and vase life of flowers. I do corporate flowers and bouquets which need to last a week in hot temps (gets very hot here in New Zealand!) so any insight on that would be wonderful! Thank you!

    Reply
  264. Sarah on

    Thanks for the spacing tips. I find most seed catalogs and growing info generally don’t consider small operations when they refer to spacing requirements.

    I’m looking forward to the landscape fabric post. I am interested in hearing if you reuse your fabric year after year? Do you take them up at the end of the season? Do you use widths of fabric the size of a single row or widths that cover multiple rows?

    Reply
  265. whitney on

    Also, can you talk about deer if you have them in your area? Do you do perimeter fencing?

    Reply
  266. whitney on

    I’m really looking forward to an indepth look at the landscape fabric. I know you’ve mentioned using your tractor to pull the fabric up. I’m hoping you’ll expound on that. And I’d also love to see your burning template for the various sizes. We use the same fabric on our pumpkin patch and burning definitely would have been a better choice over just slicing.

    Reply
  267. Lindsey on

    Wow it took a bit of scrolling to get down here!! ;) I am so grateful for your sharing! I may never end up being a cut flower farmer for my job but this is pushing me to at least try to take over the back yard…

    Reply
  268. Katharine on

    I could spend all day reading posts like this. I read your blog from start to finish when I first discovered it over a year ago. Love the whole package at Floret.
    I would love more info on seed starting without a greenhouse.
    We bought an old 100 acre farm in Quebec, Canada, five years ago and have lovingly restored the small farmhouse and barns. I have also created very large flower beds and a veggie garden and last year we built a heated potting shed to start my seeds ( nicknamed the ‘grow op’! ) I read seed catalogues as if they were novels and order my seeds from a variety of organic growers. I’m always willing to give things a try. I teach at the local high school, but devote any spare time and holidays to my flowers. We are zone 4b.

    Reply
  269. Nita on

    Thanks so much! Looking forward to more details about the landscape fabric. As always, your posts are a delight to read and the photography is to die for. Can’t wait to plant my first Floret seeds!

    Reply
  270. Karen on

    Love the helpful info! Something I’m trying to organize is a seed starting schedule including succession plantings. With all the new varieties I’m trying, it’s getting a bit complicated. Hope you will be sharing some of your seed starting strategies and schedules in future posts. A question I’m sure several are wondering is that most seed packets list when a seedling can be safely planted outdoors and how can we translate that to a safe date for planting in a high tunnel?
    Yesterday’s Ohio sun was intoxicating and I was out in my high tunnel barefoot and joyfully planting – mostly veggies but the flowers are coming soon.

    Reply
  271. Lindsey on

    Thanks Erin! Can’t wait for your book!

    Reply
  272. Maddy on

    Such helpful info! Thanks

    Reply
  273. Jennifer on

    I really appreciate this info. Looking forward to reading more details in coming posts!

    Reply
  274. Katie on

    Thank you so much for sharing! Your post came at the perfect time for me to read as I’m plotting out how much land to start with. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom from years of trial and error!
    I do have some questions… Wondering what plants you use horticultural netting for? Also about irrigation… How many lines do you use per bed? Also, what is the emmiter spacing on the drip tape/tube? Thanks so much!!!

    Reply
  275. Melinda on

    Thank you for sharing! Very excited to try your techniques in my postage stamp sized back yard :) can’t wait to read your next post!

    Reply
  276. Kathleen on

    These posts are so helpful! They give me hope for my tiny flower bed here in Maryland. Would love to hear some specifics on varieties for succession planting. Looking forward to more posts!

    Reply
  277. Terri Bowlby-Chiasson on

    Thank you, Erin…every bit is helpful…you are my number one resource for Flower Farming. We are starting year two here in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    My question is: how far in from the edge of the row to you place the row? I was wondering in terms of my plant calculations. And extra thank you for the list on spacing which types of flowers/fillers-very helpful!
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  278. Paulette Phelan Kelly on

    Thank You Erin for Generously sharing your Knowledge! When planting rows; especially of climbing vines, does it matter the direction of the rows of plants? Do they receive more light if they run North to South or East to West? Eagerly awaiting more of your posts! :)

    Reply
  279. Pam on

    I love this post! I have been wanting to plant effectively here in drought stricken California. The tighter planting plan will allow me to use water in a much smaller area, and I am anxiously awaiting your post on which plants to switch out (production order.) I’m also curious about burning holes in the weed fabric. Thank you for this garden changing info!

    Reply
  280. kathy on

    I dream of having flowers growing on a small piece of land at our lake house. I do not know much about growing flowers but I want to learn!!! I just discovered your blog and will be following you so I can learn from someone who really does grow flowers. I am a pre-k teacher and have a 2 booths at an antique mall. I go “pickin” every weekend at flea markets, yard sales, and have been know to pickup stuff off the road! I love to create and make my own chalk paint, repurpose found objects, and even sew items for my booths. I love the idea for having fresh flowers in my house and to be able to gift flowers to friends! I have over 40 hosta plants that I rescued from being plowed over and my hydrangeas and herbs do well. I have grown some zinnias from seed but I need to learn so much more! I look forward to your posts!

    Reply
  281. Kim on

    Thank you Erin – Yes – keep these coming. I sincerely appreciate you insight and experience. Thank you for justifying the spacing for basil. It is actually my main crop and I have been working with 8 x 8 staggered in 4 row beds for the past 4 seasons and like it for ease of planting and harvesting. I have been stymied by powder formation on the leaves of my zinnias as they progress through the season. Only bottom drip line watered. Any help there? Also have no luck with germinating Bells of Ireland, Bupleurum, Lisianthus or Delphinium. Tips? Most of my plants have good germination otherwise although slow so far this season. I live in zone 9b – hot summers are great for the basil. Has been very cold so far this winter. Thank you again – goodness gracious thank you!

    Reply
    • Suzanne on

      Kim,
      I’ve had success this year with lisianthus and delphiniums by planting them in their seed starting trays, then chilling the trays for a month (the lizzies in a cold closet with a window since they need light and the delphs in a cold garage with a piece of damp newspaper on top since they like darkness), then brought them both into a warm sunny window. Just over 50% germination in the past couple of weeks and a few more coming up still. If I hit 60% I’ll be pleased – I’ve never done so well before!
      Can anyone else help us with the Bells of Ireland? I’ve failed three years in a row with those (now I’m trying to stratify the seeds by putting them in a bag with bit of damp vermiculite in my fridge – got to figure out a way to get these beauties to germinate!)

  282. Sunny on

    This post makes me smile and gives me hope! My husband and I moved to a different city, so that our four little ones could get a good education. We went from having a huge yard to a tiny yard. I’m trying to figure out how to make the most out of yard. My littles ones love to garden! Any ideas on what flowers I could grow with them that would be easy?

    Reply
  283. Katie on

    Hi Erin!

    I just love being able to pour through all your blog post’s and today’s was no exception. What I would appreciate are some of the smaller but specific details (like how you listed which flowers you plant according to what grid)… I would like to know what brand of landscape fabric you have found lasts the longest. We are going to invest in irrigation this year and the options are overwhelming. What system have you found works the best for you? Are there different systems that work better for different beds? I would like to avoid the trial and error I know many beginner farmers face buying cheaper irrigation that doesn’t end up lasting more than a season…but at the same time if there is a less expensive option that works well that is great too!

    Thanks for this awesome series of posts this month! I am looking forward to every single one!

    Reply
    • Kim Hawkins on

      Yes! Some really detailed info on irrigation would be wonderful. Am very anxious about the coming summer -will it be droughty again? Want to be prepared with the best quality, most effective and efficient irrigation I can afford!

  284. Kathy on

    Terrific information–your timing is great and your generosity is amazing. Thank you!

    Reply
  285. Jessica on

    This information is GOLD! I have spent most of the day flipping threw the seed catalog reading plant spacing and trying to map my beds. I’ve started over a couple times and with this post I’m going to completely start over but with much more direction! Thank you so much!!!

    Reply
  286. Mary on

    Wonderful! Informative! Just love your posts! This post is chock full of so much information. Thank you for your attention to detail …very appreciatated!

    Reply
  287. Kristen on

    This is so great! Thank you so much for being so generous with all this information. These last few posts have gotten me extremely excited about the upcoming growing season. I do have one question though. When you lay your landscaping fabric like that to cover the rows and the isles how in the world do you keep it from blowing away? I planted two one hundred foot rows of flowers (direct seed) and used those metal stake things to poke through the fabric and into the dirt to keep it in place. But a wind storm came through and blew the landscape fabric off, metal stakes and all. We couldn’t put the fabric back down because the plants had not started to grow yet and we didn’t know if where to put it. I was so sad and spent a lot of time weeding those beds last summer. I used the fabric elsewhere but ended up putting a lot of rocks and dirt along the edges to make sure that didn’t happen again. Thanks again!

    Reply
  288. Lauren on

    This is PHENOMINAL! Thank you for specific spacings and the flowers that use it. We are already planting and this is our new game plan starting today. Thank you so much. Can’t wait for the rest of the posts.

    Reply
  289. Angelica on

    Loved this post beyond words! We are in the process of trying to sell our house in a rural neighborhood for a 2-3acre plot in the country. I’ve already turned our .15 acre yard into a little food/flower farm and this year we are getting married, so all I can dream is flowers! This is just what I needed to read to wrap my brain around a plan!

    Reply
  290. Cali Walters on

    I am so blown away by your willingness to share and for all of the effort you put into these posts. In about 10 minutes of reading, I was able to absorb information that took you years to discover. You are such a gift to a dreamer like myself! I am so inspired about possibilities for my future and am excited to start experimenting this year. Thank you! Oh and I’m looking forward to your post on landscape fabric and hope to see one on your irrigation system and hoop houses as well. Thank you so much Erin and team floret!

    Reply
  291. Ann-Sofie on

    Thank you for a wonderful blog ??

    Reply
  292. Sherry-Sherry's Flower Farm on

    Something I forgot to mention in my earlier comment. On your last post I was asking about compost and would still very much like info on composting. But just in case anyone else in North or South Carolina is looking for a source close by, I found a product called Soil3 that is OMRI listed and sells compost by the cubic yard. They will even deliver in our area at no charge.

    Reply
  293. drea @ morning glory acres on

    I soak in every word you write! Thanks to you and your helpful info, we have been grid planting since day 1! You help lots of beginner flower farmers skip some of those dreadful problems that are prevalent in the first years! Like someone else mentioned, I love the visual! Keep things loaded with pictures to help bring it home to our small minds!

    Reply
  294. Betty Comartin on

    This is so helpful- I can’t tell you! I have often thought I could go closer in my plantings and this is just what I needed to hear right now as I realize I have a lot more Dahlia tubers and Zinnia seed than space!!
    Also got my seed order from you in the mail and I am so delighted with all the varieties of sweet peas I ordered. Thank you and please keep going on the planting info, I’m inhaling it!!

    Reply
  295. Roxine on

    WooHoo!!! I’m a numbers/information nerd and this is so helpful! I bought a bunch of seeds but now I can calculate how much growing space I have and if those seeds will be too much or too little! Looking forward to the succession planting info, and cool vs. warm/hot weather planting/harvesting. You are a flower garden fairy godmother! Thank you for sharing your wonderful knowledge with us flower sprite wanna-bees. Buzz, buzz :-)

    Reply
  296. Margie Dagnal on

    Amazing post! Great to know we are on the right track. Fine tuning a little more will be easier on our 2 little acres.

    Reply
  297. Michelle Shackelford on

    Thanks again Erin. Great post! I love the technical info. Do you have much info on days to bloom for specific varieties? That info is always so hard to find.

    Reply
  298. marybeth on

    as always, great info & thanks so much for sharing!! I’m a real rookie, so some of these questions may seem like “uh, duh!” for folks who have been doing this for awhile, but here goes, nonetheless….in your pictures you show some plastic netting and low hoops – are these flowers under cover for awhile before you remove something that goes over the hoops? if not, what is the purpose of the hoops- to keep the netting taut? you also show netting arranged vertically between metal posts for climbing plants – is this the same type of material/size etc as the netting laid horizontally? is this material recycled or discarded at the end of each season? do you direct sow your zinnias? how would you plot those direct sown vs transplanted?

    I’ve been doing a good bit a reading on all kinds of media related to flower farming and find your blogs to be absolutely terrific!!! It’s my go-to everyday since there are lots of archived blogs I’ve yet to read. I also recently purchased The Flower Farmer’s Year by Georgie Newberry and it’s been keeping me up at night! Lots of good information and organized VERY well. While she lives in Great Britain and some of the info is specific to her growing area, she also provides either information or ways to get information that is more suited to the reader’s growing area. Chapters are arranged for easy reading and referring to at a later date.

    Again, thanks so much for reaching out to all of us – the entire Floret team are much appreciated!!!!!

    Reply
  299. Elisabeth Schwarck on

    Hi Erin and team :-)
    I am loving this blog blizzard, I cannot thank you enough!
    I loved this post about spacing and the detailed pictures, wow those are some very narrow paths!
    I would be thankful to hear more about harvest at the right time and right way. I’m also curious about how you got all those supermarkets to buy your flowers. Have you ever considered opening a small shop at home and what made you decide against it? I have about 4 acres I can use for flower production but like you I’m a stay at home mom with a 5 and a 6 year old and only my groceries budget to Pay for my flower farming dreams. On top of that, I am very likely the only one in my country to be a flower farmer and I can’t figure out what will be my best approach at selling my flowers.. I keep thinking I’m an idiot for thinking it could work, but I am so very inspired by you all the time and I know I would love it :-D
    Thank you so much for all that you share, The flowers, The children, family, animals, your fears and mistakes, pictures and your beautiful smile and soul. You are amazing. :-)

    Reply
  300. Barbara, Stow Greenhouses on

    After attending last year’s Farmer-Florist Workshop, we tested the landscape fabric approach on several of our beds. It was a great success and this year, all our annuals are going into landscape fabric. We also invested in our soil and boosted our organic content – the results were incredibly evident in our flower production. This year, we’re reducing the spacing between beds to 18″. I love pouring over your posts to see what I’ve missed in past ones. I often come away with something new to try and ALWAYS a renewed energy and spirit! Thank you.

    Reply
  301. Stephanie on

    Erin you rock! Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
  302. Jesalyn on

    Oh this is so helpful! Thank you! I just moved from near you- in the valley (literally could see your house from my driveway) to a slightly sloped yard at Big Lake and have been redoing my ideas for layout so much- this post is exactly what I needed so I could make a decision and start on actual layout, calculate seed order better and feel less lost! I’m excited by the certain level of experimenting in this industry but also appreciate the time you take to share what makes for a good foundation/starting off point! Looking forward to your next post.

    Reply
  303. Heather on

    This is one of the highlights of my day! Thank you! Also ordered a copy of Lean Farming.

    Reply
  304. JenMc on

    I love this! While I’ve no intentions of flower farming for profit, I would love a plot for flowers for personal enjoyment, gift-giving, and for the benefit of our 4-acre hobby farm; I would like to have the flowers for not only beauty, but for a food source for future beehives as well. All of this information is helpful for me, in maximizing our space for a flower and potager garden. Thank you!

    Reply
  305. Tracie on

    This is extremely helpful! Are most of your plants transplant or direct sow? For those that are direct sow and are smaller seeds… How are you able to space them? I live in the South and want to direct sow cosmos in mass but I don’t know how to space them efficiently. What do you suggest for smaller seeds that can be directly sown?

    Reply
  306. Anna on

    This is brilliant, thank you so much! I’m studying to become a gardener in Denmark and I’m currently working at the university gardens ( see link if you want :), where we produce annuals. I’ve always found it to be looking too “grid-like” when they’ve been planted, so this year I’ll suggest that we plant them in the way you’ve just shown. I’m looking forward to reading more, thanks again!!
    Anna

    http://plen.ku.dk/nyheder/nyheder-2015/sommerblomster/

    Reply
  307. Heidi on

    thank you, thank you, thank you!! This is so helpful. More from the photos than your comments. I was trying to decide what width of landscape fabric to get and now I know that I do want the 6′.

    I also appreciate all the descriptions. I’m gearing up to making my field map and this is so helpful.

    Reply
  308. Lizzy House on

    Thank you so much for the post, and I’m really looking forward to the other posts on this subject! I’ve been reading about farming more densely and I found that it worked beautifully just by being really eager to grow more. Can’t wait to incorporate landscaping fabric!

    (my first post linked to my email! yikes!)

    Reply
  309. Sherry on

    The information is priceless for new growers like myself in terms of setting up for success. I particularly like how you identified not only varieties of the flowers that work best at specific spacing, but also the qualities of those flowers. This information is helpful when planting varieties not specifically named to determine best spacing. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly proves to be true here. I was particularly surprised at how small the holes in the cover fabric were. I don’t know why I expected them to be larger, but they are just the right size for tiny seedlings. Also grateful for the picture of how you plant and trellis nasturtiums.
    I am questioning how you drive in the stakes for netting and and the hoops for cover fabric without tearing up the fabric? It looks like there are specific holes for the placement of the hoops but I can’t tell about the stakes. Do you burn those hole at the same time you burn the holes for planting?
    I also would like to know your recommendations when direct seeding. I am going to use your method of pre-burning holes in cover fabric but am not sure how many seeds to to plant. I considered planting one seed per hole and then reseeding the spots that don’t germinate, but am thinking that planting one or two seeds per spot then thinning would create a more consistent result.
    Thank you again for all of your help.

    Reply
  310. Jennie Dahlqvist on

    I really enjoy to read this kind of useful posts!
    Since I live in Sweden I am a bit curious about your climate. How long is your growing season, and how many months are free from frost? (Maybe you already have written about this, and can tell me where to find the information?)
    Thank you for all your beautiful pictures and interesting text! /Jennie

    Reply
  311. Charlotte on

    Dear Erin, I read all your blog posts with great interest and this new series of posts seems to be no less than amazing!!! As a flower farmer-to-be in Denmark, where I believe there are very few, if any, flowerfarmers, it is really good to get the opportunity to learn from you. So thank you so much for sharing all your experience and for all the fantastic inspiration;0)

    Reply
  312. Jen on

    THIS RIGHT HERE….I am constantly surprised by (and explaining to others) how much MATH goes into this biz! These grid beds give my OCD the feels, just like a carefully composed bouquet…which is also, more math :) Thank you so much for the cheat sheets!!

    Reply
  313. brenda on

    Thanks Erin! Really great information again, looking forward to your next post!

    Reply
  314. Beth Telthorst on

    Thank you! I’m always experimenting with spacing to see how much I can squeeze in and how many weeds I can shade out!

    Reply
  315. Alyse on

    This is incredibly helpful and beneficial! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all out! I am just a backyard gardener and this year we will be dedicating a larger portion of our 1/2 acre plot to growing cut flowers. I am drawing up plans right now based on your dimensions! I’ve already purchased some floret seeds and I am really excited! Thank you for this great resource.

    Reply
  316. Allison on

    Looks like a brilliant strategy. We our planning our spring garden now and I think I’ll try the plan for zinnias. We always plant straight down a row (ours are about 40 ft. in length) with enough room for the tiller in between rows. We have tried landscape fabric. Last year’s was a bust! The fabric fell to pieces, but the fabric we had bought the year before, which is much stiffer, held up well. Our problem is something called nut grass, which is nearly impossible to eradicate. Thanks so much for the information and beautiful photographs, too. Do you put plants out or do you start with seeds in the ground? Maybe you will cover that at a later date. Thanks again!

    Reply
  317. Erin on

    My family and I have been working on our flower farm since last summer, and now we’re waiting (im)patiently for the first blooms in spring. At first my children and I worked out triangular plant spacing with chalk on the concrete front porch floor to see how closely we could pack plants into our beds. Then we found this calculator: http://www.math.umn.edu/~white004/personal/plantcalc.html and now we use it all the time. It was good math practice for the children, but it’s a lot quicker to use the calculator!

    I would love to know how you bend the pipe that you use to stretch your netting. Thank you so much for all your information. I’ve relied heavily on it as we’ve begun our fist steps toward Red Maple Flowers here in Upstate SC.

    Reply
    • Julie @ Southern Wild on

      Hey, Erin! I see that you are in the Upstate! Where? I am starting out this year with flowers in Greenville. There is a very small group of flower farmers gathering in TR on Monday to get to know one another. Are you near and would you like to join us? Email me. [email protected]

      Thank you, Erin @ Floret, for generously sharing your info. Working together is what makes the flower community so wonderful! ~Julie

  318. Meredith on

    Erin, this is great. The photo at the end of the post was really helpful to show grid vs. row planting. Can’t wait to see the rest of what you have in store for February!

    Reply
  319. emily on

    Thank you so much! So valuable to know the spacing and what plants like what! I’m guessing that you may have a whole post on the topic of soil amendments in the future, but if not that would really interest me. What do you use and why? Do you amend with different things at different times of the year? do certain plants like to be fed differently that other’s? when you pull out one crop and then plant another do you amend the soil again before putting in the new crop? And do you ever just “feed” or do the amendments take care of everything for the season?

    Reply
  320. flowers.paper.silk on

    This information is incredible, Erin! Thank you so much, and please keep it coming! My husband and I are starting a flower farm in Arkansas this year and I have since become a devout follower of Floret, gobbling up any insight y’all can provide! I have already made two orders from you (excitedly stalking the tracking each day).
    We currently have a small plot – with room for future investment and expansion if all goes well. But our puzzle in the meantime is lumping different varieties into the same bed. For example, relative to this blog post, if dahlias are in a row with another type of flower would you prefer similar spacing or similar flowering time if you can’t have both?

    Reply
  321. Marci Miller on

    Thank you for this article. As a veggie farmer turing towards more cut flowers on a small scale, I am in the steep learning curve of spacing plants. Consistency is SO KEY! It makes planning and rotations with expected yield so much easier. As I continue to figure out expected yields, it would be great to hear more about decision-making processes and thresholds for pulling plants out for succession plantings, direct seeding varieties vs. transplanted and post-harvest handling. Thanks!

    Reply
  322. Pam on

    Merci bouquets!

    Reply
  323. Killoran on

    Yaaaas! All these photos are not only beautiful, but super helpful. A lot of books, blog posts, articles, etc. describe things so well, but I’m a very visual learner (and all about the details), so this is great. And so, so generous. And the comments have been just as informative and interesting as the posts!

    Intensive planting is something I stumbled on by myself. My husband and I were planting up a little vegetable patch and I was so annoyed about all the empty space (maybe this is my inner poor kid being annoyed about precious, wasted, potentially productive earth). “Why don’t we just.. stagger it?”
    Obviously, this has been around forever, but I think this is one of the benefits of being a beginner – you aren’t familiar with the conventional ways of doing things, so you’re maybe a bit less wary of just going for it. When I found your blog (after reading about a dozen books telling me I was wrong, despite the success I’d already had) I felt vindicated. Huzzah!

    I’m sure this will actually be answered in an upcoming post – just how close to being done does a particular planting have to be before you rip it out?

    Again, thank you Floret + Team!

    Reply
  324. Misty on

    Erin, you ALWAYS blow me away with your “hold nothing back” approach to sharing what works and what doesn’t. I’m starting my 3rd flower season where I grow mainly dahlias, but also sunflowers and sweetpeas. Your content is ALWAYS helpful. I learn something every time, I also save in a file and print off your content too. ;) Everything I’ve ever implemented from you has worked like a charm. Here in Alaska we have lots of day light and a short growing season so I need all the help I can get. Much Love to you and Yours!! ♥Misty farmer/florist from All Dahlia’d Up…

    Reply
  325. Amity on

    Fantastic info and I will be grid planting this year! Go Floret!!!

    Reply
  326. Madison on

    Thank you so much for teaching us all how to grow flowers on a small scale. I have been looking into flower farming for over 3 years, and your information has been the most helpful by far! You are so good at organizing a lot of information in a clear and concise way! From the bottom of my heart I thank you for having this blog. It has helped me personally discover and develop my dreams of being a farmer florist. Which is an amazing thing! I’m only 23 and I now have found my true calling in life. You are doing a very wonderful and generous thing for all the flower lovers! So please, keep it coming! =D

    Reply
  327. Jenny Rae on

    THANK YOU!! This is simplified perfectly and has saved me days of painful head scratching. You are amazing!

    Reply
  328. Anna angelo on

    Perfect! I was just this.morning trying to figure out how many of each variety I’ll be able to fit and how much room to figure for it.
    Have you ever used regular plastic with drip lines or is there a reason for the “fabric” mulch other than that it last longer?

    Reply
    • giulia on

      Hi Anna I have the same question than you!! because I’m looking foward landscape fabric, but is my first year in flower farming and if this year work, the next year I will use another piece of land with different bed lenght. So for this year I think I will use regular plastic because is cheaper….Erin is ok???

  329. Loren on

    Very helpful! I really enjoy reading your blog. I can’t wait to hear more about utilizing landscape fabric.

    Reply
  330. Grace on

    Yay!! New post and just the information I was thinking about today. I’m trying to plan out my beds for this year and I was trying to find the info for planting distances and here it is!!! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s refreshing to see such generosity

    Grace e

    Reply
  331. Lynn on

    Oh my gosh!!!! This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for and makes SO much sense!! And I was pretty sure what you meant, but it was confirmed by your last photo – now I’m going to lay out my beds on CAD like this and will utilize my space so much better!!! I find if I lay a bed out this way, I have a plan to go by. I was starting to panic thinking I wasn’t going to have enough room for all I wanted to grow this year – THANK YOU THANK YOU so very much for the information – I can hardly wait for the next post :)

    Reply
    • Kelsey on

      What CAD program do you use?

    • Lynn on

      Kelsey, sorry!!!! I never went back and re-read my post – I work for an engineering firm and I use a combination of AutoCAD and CadWorx. Sorry for such an incredibly late reply!!

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