Flower Bouquet

The Start of a Cut Flower Farm

Posted by | September 26, 2021 | Our Cut Flower Farm

Flower Farm Work

I need to document the first year of our cut flower farm. Not so much for our audience, but rather for myself. I worry about forgetting the events that lead to our farm. I should start at the beginning, but I’ll be brief. My wife is not much of a talker, more of one who gets things done, so I’ll be the one documenting our story. Maybe I’ll do a few videos too (later). I was born here (Caucasian male), and I am acclimatized to the local environment and the way things are done. I grew up rural, but went to a good college in the city. My wife came in 2009 from the Philippines and I met her shortly thereafter. I am a divorcee and she saved my life. I have 2 lovely children with her.

My wife also has a degree, and she tried to work a normal job after coming over but could only muster one for about a year. Well, she worked for about a year in the last ten years. We bought a century house in a small city, she gardened a little. She complained that there was garbage in all the gardens and cleaned out the wood-chips. She discovered that this was mulch and she needed it in our climate to maintain moisture (Climatic zone 6a). She bought new mulch and fixed up her mistake. The magic happened with she started growing hydrangea in our front garden. She became intrigued with gardening. A few years later, she knew the names of every flower and was propagating every flower she could gather. I complained I couldn’t use the backyard anymore. She turned every bit of grass in the backyard to flowers. Then the back porch got covered with flower pots. I couldn’t get to the barbecue or use the outdoors anymore. We had to move to something bigger with more land.

House prices had tripled in five years and we cashed out…well sort of, we bought a run-down house on 1/2 an acre. The house in a smaller town of 15,000 had enough amenities (internet, gas, restaurants, shopping etc) to satisfy our needs.. The house was near the road and the backyard was untouched. We purchased the house (2020). This solved our money flow issues to start the flower farm. The house needed and still needs a lot of work though.

So, I thought that I was a good husband and wanted my wife to enjoy her hobby of growing flowers. The crazy thing is in 2021 she brought in about 30,000 gross (not net). Farmer’s market and store sales. Now the first year cost some money. We installed grow lights indoors (initial cost, electricity). I bought an old John Deere tractor with a tiller (JD 317 with a 33 tiller) for $1200 cash. This machine tore through the sod/soil and made 3 ft wide garden beds (November 2020). My wife started with about 40 beds 3 ft wide by 60 ft long. I still think this machine produces perfect size beds. Actually a 33 inch cut, but after a few passes becomes 36 inches.

Germiniation of Seeds Indoors
Indoor Germination
Tilled November 2020, Picture February 2021
Boys on JD 317 with tiller 2021
Running Out of Flowers 2021

We also purchased seeds/bulbs, compost and applied a moderate amount of fertilizer. The flowers grew like crazy in 2021, but had some mold/mildew issues due to the dampness of the year in the north-west. My wife made a deal with some stores, and sold very successfully at the farmer’s market. At the farmer’s market she grosses about 400 per day. In 2021 she easily was selling everything she could grow, stores inquired and we had to turn them down. We were limited by out ability to grow. We knew that our succession planting was not perfect. We also could plant more rows, maybe 20 or 30 more. But after that….we’d be maxed out. I just went on an internet tool to determine population within 100 miles of our farm (9,997,621). We needed to purchase more land, there is an immediate need for flowers in our area.. I grabbed a small 3 acre agricultural parcel 5 minutes from the house midway though 2021 after seeing her business grow. I paid 55K, and if things go astray with the flower business, I am sure I can flip the land.

Note: It is very important in a business like the cut flower business to keep your costs in check. If you have too much overhead, you will suffocate your business. Buy used where possible, keep your overhead down and you will increase your profit margin. Do not rent or lease land. I would not undersell your flowers. You will work hard to grow them. You will hurt your business and the business of those around you if you undersell.

New Land Expansion