a grower friend called yesterday.
we discussed business growth, cut flower varieties, green weddings, growing… it was so nice to talk shop with someone who cares.
one thing that was hard to communicate though was how on earth we get so many flowers from our little plot. you see we only have two little acres in cultivation.
not a lot of land but a whole lot of flowers.
i promised i’d help her pack her garden plot the same way i’ve done here. the huge myth is that you need expansive rolling fields and unlimited space. every year we increase our growing capacity while barely expanding our footprint. if you only have a backyard, a friends half acres, a city plot, a few flower beds, you can still do amazing things. definitely more on this later!
two of our main tricks for getting so much bounty from such a little plot are feeding the heck out of the soil and planting massively full beds. each spring we invest a lot of money into dump truck after dump truck of compost and manure. when it comes planting time we are able to fit five rows in each four foot bed bed by planting on a staggered grid. when most growers can fit 75-150 plants in a row, we squeeze 450. it’s a little like John Jeavons approach to vegetable gardening, only with flowers. again, more on this later.
here is a bed of statice.i know this will strip me of any coolness i may have had but i. love. statice!
in each of these 4x70ft. beds we fit 466 plants! Yesterday we harvested an entire truckload out of this little space and in just a couple of days we’ll do it again.
sunflowers are squeezed even closer. in this bed we planted roughly 700-800 babies. the more room you give them the bigger their heads and stalks become so the tight spacing ensure nice, useable stems.
zinnias are squeezed in equally tight.each bed has a mass of plants and our walking paths are a measily 12″ wide.
i’ve been asked if such close spacing increases disease. so far as i can tell, no. the only real time we deal with disease is if there is a very long wet stretch or if the plants get stressed. if you feed and care for them properly (just like us!) they will ultimately thrive : )
just so you don’t think every beds is full of perfect flowers here’s a couple of past their prime spot.
if you look close you can see in the bed on the right our close plant spacing. we try and grow as many crops as possible in landscape fabric. it keeps weeds down, heat up and dirt from splashing up into the plants.
another past its prime spot! now bells of ireland are a bit tricky outside, at least for us. rain is there enemy and if you live in a very wet climate like we do, the greenhouse is a much better place to grow them.
another patch of sunflowers.this tiny plot holds 3,500 babies. crazy eh?
lilies are grown even tighter, in these nifty black plastic bulb crates with potting soil.we planted nearly 17,000 lilies this season and all were grown in one small greenhouse!
so if you’ve only got a little parcel of land and are thinking it’ll never be enough to grow a flower based business, think again. with a little creative thinking and some serious planning you can grow more flowers than you ever thought possible : )