The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers (Anglais) Broché – 1 mai 2008
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I read this book from cover to cover, including the appendicies, which is rare for me - I usually pick out the interesting chapters and focus on them, but all chapters here were interesting!
Thank you Lynn for a marvelous reference. Although I know I have hard work ahead of me, I am even more inspired to begin my small flower business after reading your book.
Throughout the book you are introduced to other specialty farmers who have carved a niche in the competitive horticultural market for their home grown products. No one claims this way of making a living is easy, but you can feel the pride and the love of the labor come through in each profile. Each small farmer generously shares stories of their successes and failures and paints a realistic picture of what is involved in the business.
The book also lists many useful sources for seeds and nursery products, wholesale plant companies, tools, marketing supplies, and other organic gardening reference books. I highly recommend this book to the potential flower farmer or market gardener.
The best info in this book is from her "case studies". The farmers she interviews give good information about their methods and mistakes, but very few specifics about the most important topic: preservation. Just as top chefs will alter recipes so that no one can duplicate their materpieces exactly, most flower growers are very tight-lipped about their secrets and will write pages and pages without giving specifics. This book is true to form. "Proper contitioning" tips go no farther than adding sugar or asprin, or buying commercial (and expensive!) potions.
My greatest complaint has to do with her guide to cut flowers at the end of the book. Some flowers that keep beautifully (after conditioning) are dismissed as having "no vase life". For example: Poppies and Cleome are dismissed as lasting a day or two, but using certain methods my Cleome lasted 2 WEEKS in the vase and won a blue ribbon at the county fair, and poppies can fetch $5 a stem and last 7-10 days if you do it right. "Flowers for Sale" by Lee Sturdivant has much better conditioning and plant selection information.
In this revised and expanded edition, Lynn Byczynski covers every aspect of raising flowers for sale in easy to understand terms. The book is incredibly detailed but I was never bored. Rather than a manual or a textbook, it was like a friendly talk over the backfence. It's obvious that she loves flowers and the business of growing flowers. The author starts with the basics of site, soil, seeds and plants then moves through pests, diseases, season extenders and harvest. She devotes several chapters on what to grow, not only the usual annuals and perennials, but also plants one doesn't usually think of, trees and shrubs, whose foliage, flowers and berries are used in both fresh and dried arrangements. Then she moves on to flower arranging, transport and marketing.
Along the way, successful flower farmers are featured. Their farms, their market niches, how they got started and how they have expanded or shrunk their businesses to suit their financial and lifestyle goals are explained.
All of the information is presented in an easy to understand format. Each concept is clearly explained. Technical terms are defined. No prior knowledge is assumed on the part of the reader. Nor is the book limited to one climate or region of the country. For information not covered in the book, sources are given where the information can be found. The author points out how the each section applies to both large and small farms and even cutting gardens such as I envision.
Whether you are thinking of growing flowers for market or just want a cutting garden, I can't recommend this book highly enough. But don't take my word for it. Cathy Jones of Perry-winkle Farm in central North Carolina was one of the experienced flower farmers asked for their Top Ten varieties for each area of the country. Cathy says, "It doesn't seem that long ago that I was reading The Flower Farmer to learn just these sorts of things!"(page 25)
As for me, I'm finally going to plant that cutting garden. Thanks to "The Flower Farmer", I know what to plant, when to plant it, and how to plant it. I've learned about succession planting and other techniques to extend the season. And when it comes time to harvest my flowers, I know the proper way to harvest each variety to prolong its vase life.
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