Field of Flowers… Or Maybe Not?

Wow. The response we have gotten since announcing our business has been amazing! Thank you to everyone that purchased from us during our first week of business!

I wanted to share some cut flower tips about harvesting in this blog so y’all can learn more about the world of cut flower farming!

April 30, 2019 – A look at the flower patch early in the season. The little tree-like plants up front are Cosmos seedlings.

A few people have mentioned to me things like, “Wow, I can’t wait to see your field full of flowers!” or “I want to come see your field when everything is blooming!” I’d be lying if I said when I first started this journey I didn’t have romantic notions of my backyard full of flowers everywhere I turned. This was partially due to one of the books I read when I started doing my research called Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. This book is a GREAT read and has fantastic, beautiful, whimsical pictures that makes flower farming seem so dreamy. If you’re looking for more information, I highly recommend this book. However, the beautiful pictures of open blooms everywhere can be misleading.

June 24, 2019 – Same view of the flower patch. You can see the Cosmos at the very left with the Amaranth right next to it. Further back is some Sweet Annie and volunteer sunflowers from my garden last year. You can also see some weeds (ugh).

The sad truth is that many flowers need to be cut BEFORE you see their blooms. Usually, if you wait until these flowers are fully open, you are too late. That’s not to say they won’t last for a few days in your vase, but they will last much longer when cut at the proper time. How do you learn when to cut? Research. Research. Research. I feel like that has been what I’ve spent the bulk of my time doing this past year.

So, if you happen to drive by our home this summer and don’t see any blooms, it’s because we are actually doing a great job of harvesting on time. However, with a toddler and an infant taking up a lot of our time, that will likely not be the case!

Here are some examples of when to cut:

Here is a picture of a Madame Butterfly series Snapdragon. The proper time to cut these is when the first couple blooms have opened at the bottom. I probably could have harvested this one a little sooner. Snapdragons last forever in a vase though!
This is Calendula, also known as Pot Marigold. These need to be harvested right as the flower is about to unfold.
This crazy-leafed plant is Cosmos (reminds me of a plant Dr. Seuss would create). Cosmos needs to be harvested when the bud is cracking open about like this or even a tiny bit earlier if you can catch it. It seems like they open before you realize they were even trying to!
This Cosmos bloom is beautiful, but by this point we have harvested too late. Sometimes I will go ahead and pluck these and put them in a bouquet just for fun. They may not last as long, but I like to enjoy them even if it’s only for a few days.

Another great example of cutting flowers before or during bloom are lilies. If you’ve ever received a flower arrangement with unopened lily buds, it’s because they last so much longer when they can open for you, the end user, rather than the flower farmer or florist preparing them for you. Also, peonies need to be cut at what is called the “marshmallow” stage where the bud has begun to soften. Peonies, if cut at this stage, can actually be held in a cooler wrapped up dry for a few months. Then, when the time has come to use them, they can be placed in warm water, and they should open within a week!

An example of flowers that need to be open when cut are zinnias. These flowers need to be fully open and the stem be stiff when you jiggle the plant. If the flower is open, but the stem is still wobbly, you need to wait, otherwise they will droop after you harvest.

On our farm, we are striving to provide you with the freshest flowers possible. If for any reason you feel like when you’ve purchased from us that the flowers didn’t hold up well, LET US KNOW. It could be something about our harvest or postharvest methods, or it could even be due to the particular variety we are growing.

Stay tuned for more from Sievers Blumen Farm! God bless!