By the second week in October the reality of the arrival of fall is sobering. Especially for small-scale flower farmers. By small scale, I mean backyard flower farmers, like myself and other growers who are getting swept away in the beauty and romance of growing old-fashioned cut flowers like the ones they remember from grandma’s garden. If you’ve been toying with the idea of making room for cut flowers on your homestead, now is a great time to get your space planning done ( while the ground is still supple and visible) and decide how many different varieties of flowers you’ll grow next season. Come on in and I’ll share how you can start your backyard flower farm too!
Starting small is a great way to find out if you will enjoy growing flowers or not. It’s also a smaller learning curve than planting a half-acre all at once and feeling overwhelmed by planting schedules, pest control, disease and soil conditions, not to mention irrigation. By starting with a few tried and true varieties and a smaller plot you’ll learn the same lessons you would on a larger scale but at a lesser cost to you, both in time and dollars. And, if you fall in love with growing flowers the first year like I did, you can always expand your growing space along with your investment all the while defining your goals.
All you really need to get started is a couple of raised beds, good organic soil, some flower seeds ( and dahlia tubers) to begin. Most cut flowers require a minimum of 6 hours of full sun per day. And, FYI, Dahlias don’t mind a little late- afternoon dappled shade if it’s available, especially on the hottest days of summer.
We started with 8 4×12 raised beds and now we are up to 13 plus our surrounding landscaped gardens filled with perennials and shrubs which I use in my design work.The walls of our raised beds are re-purposed 12 x 12 stone tiles set into a wood framework. Not only were they economical to build, they are sustainable as well.
When I started my flower farm in 2012 I had the mindset of a gardener/ grower and dreamt of doing something more enterprising with my flowers. l experimented with the farmers market.My grab an go Ball jar bouquets were a hit. People loved them for a quick gift idea.
At the same time brides were reaching out to me for local flowers for their weddings and I jumped right in! I never dreamed I would do wedding work with my flowers when I planted those first seeds, but it’s turned out to be just the right recipe. My backyard flower farm combines my love of growing,designing, and serving others as well as my commitment as a Slow Flowers Advocate. In 2016 I founded the New England Farmer Florist Connection Facebook Group and we held our first meet and greet in March of 2017.
Be prepared for life changing events when you are a flower farmer no matter how big or small. You just never know what kind of magic will find you when you add flowers to your homestead, but I can tell you they are worth the extra care and give back so much more than they take.