Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Flower Farming

For a while now, my dream has been to turn our property into a food and flower farm.
Slow Food has been around for a while now and most people are familiar with the concepts of reducing food miles and supporting local farmers.


 
And now Slow Flowers has become a hot topic. If anything, flowers tend to travel even further than food and be produced in less fair conditions for workers. In Australia, roses, orchids and carnations will often be imported from countries like India, Kenya, Thailand, Colombia and Ecuador.




This is an interesting article by Choice, investigating where cut flowers come from, particularly those sold in supermarkets, the health and safety issues, including workers' conditions and chemicals used, and quarantine/contamination issues.


I have started growing some flowers (and per my previous post, I am planning on planting some more roses!)
I had great success last season with a trial of growing dahlias from seed. I am trying to start on a very tight budget, so dahlia tubers at $7-$8 each were just not possible. Growing dahlia from seed means that you cannot select varieties and the colours will be whatever turns up. But I loved that part of it! It was like waiting for treasure, waiting to see what colours would appear. These are some photos of the dahlias I grew this summer.










I had a little rummage around and all the plants have formed good tubers. So the question will be, will they re-grow next year from these tubers? If so, I will be able to grow a paddock of dahlias for next to nothing!


I also grew some carnations from seed which are growing well. I have planted a few salvias, gerberas, yarrow, lavender and penstemons.


I have finally finished bulb planting as well - 800 ranunculas, 1000 daffodils, 300 irises and some tulips. The chickens keep getting into the ranunculi bed and digging them up, so I am hoping they will be OK.


I am planning lots of sunflowers as I feel they are always popular. And we all know my obsession with having a field of sunflowers one day!




It has always been my dream to have a little farmstand - does anyone else do this? I would love to hear your successes and pitfalls to avoid. Especially if you are selling farm grown flowers - what are your go-to flowers and how do you present them?



9 comments:

  1. How lovely to have a flower stand. Kids in our neighborhood try to sell lemonade but I think they'd enjoy more sales if they sold flowers. I planted lots of zinnias the other day and I am hoping for a bumper crop. I also planted a few squash in the front of the house. I have visions of giving them to occasional dog walkers.

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    1. What a lovely idea! I think it is very important to share with our community. Zinnias are wonderful flowers - you just get so many. I can't wait until it is time to plant them.

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  2. Beautiful idea---your flowers are gorgeous! We are buying a home this fall and I'm hoping for some land to homestead. I saw that you are interested in joining the pen friend exchange. I'm glad! Make sure to send an email answering the questions in the post so I can match you up. Have a great week!

    Blessings,
    Sarah

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    1. Thank you! I hope your new move goes well and your homesteading plans are successful.

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  3. Aah your Dahlias are dazzling. They will multiply and present you with double the quantity next Summer/Autumn. I too, have thought for a while now of selling glass jars of flowers tied with a pretty ribbon. I thought of putting them in a lovely big flower cart which I have, with a pretty fabric, tent-like canopy overhead for shade with perhaps a little bunting. Something to cause the passing country traffic to come to a screeching stop and investigate. =) We must, must do it, Jayne.

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    1. I know your flower cart will look just divine! I can google 'flower stands' and look at all the prettiness for hours! I read about a flower farmer who sells her bouquets in jars - people just return the jar next time. That way, she doesn't have to buy paper to wrap them in and saves on waste. That is what I was thinking of doing.

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  4. The Dahlias are beautiful, one of the allotments near us grows them they all looks stunning. A field full of sunflowers, now that would be a lovely sight to look out on.

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    1. I have always loved dahlias, even when they were out of fashion! I hope to show you my field of sunflowers in summer, and lots more dahlias by next autumn.

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  5. Amazing accomplishment growing Dahlias from Seeds.
    The home we moved into one and a half years ago had Figaro dahlias planted in front of the Roses. They were and are stunning.
    I knew nothing about them. They were flowering when we moved in and surprised me when they came up again the next season - but later than I expected.. Actually by cutting them back after their spell of flowering they came up again and as I fertilized the new re-growth with Seaweed extract they took off as if they were on steroids :)

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