Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Garden Notes~ South- Eastern Massachusettes Succession Planting Tricks And Trials for Cut Flowers

Raised beds planted in Mid-March - late May
 We're having a heat wave this week with temps in the high 80's so I'll be hiding out inside most of the day until I can get back out to the garden this evening . 

I want to talk about my experience with succession planting today. With 13 4 x12 raised beds I was able to experiment planting seeds and dahlia tubers at different intervals this season with a goal in mind of having enough cut flowers in one season to sell at the Farmers Market and provide flowers for one or two local weddings. 

 So far so good! Two farmers markets down and one wedding to go! 
Until the season is actually finished I won't have a true sense of how my plans worked out but I can tell you how it's going so far.

 Here in Eastern Massachusetts we have a fairly long growing season which goes from Mid-March - November. This is pure gardeners heaven for someone who cut her gardening teeth in the clay packed earth of the high desert of Northern Nevada. If you've ever planted a tree in a hole you dug with an auger ( auger is slang for small jack hammer ) you know my joy!

Our last frost date is Mid-March and the first is somewhere in late October/early November. 
Here are my plantings and planting dates for the 2015 growing season.

 Mid-March- late May Plantings: dahlia tubers, and gladiolus corms


Mid-May Plantings: Bakers Creek Rare Seeds ( sown direct )
  zinnias, cosmos, cockscomb, sunflowers,  
 Snapdragon and  dusty miller annual packs purchased at my local nursery.

These plantings filled 8 of my 4 x 12 raised beds and have provided all of the flowers for my floral work this season. Thus far I've created 70 32 oz mason jar bouquets from the first planting.

This is my first time growing Cockscomb and it us such a fun plant to grow. The flower head just keeps changing and getting bigger every day. I've been using them in my arrangements in the early stages of blooming and they're perfect for added pops of bright color and interesting texture.

Cockscomb and Senorita Pink Zinnia in the rear bed. 

Sunflowers and cosmos
We didn't finish construction on the other 5 raised beds until early July. I had hoped for a late June second planting, but went ahead with the early July because I wanted to see how long it would take for those seeds to germinate and flower.

Senorita pink zinnia
5 rows of zinnia seeds in a 4 x 12 raised bed
The second planting of zinnias ( last weeks photos ) is coming along and have grown  even more since these photos were taken and the plants have formed buds! It's looking like I'll have flowers for September as long as the weather cooperates. Living near the coast we are subject to coastal storms and high winds so keep your fingers crossed we don't have any of those until after my last wedding on September 26th. I'm learning the realities that farmers have been dealing with for centuries. We can't control the weather but I'm willing to gamble!

This patch of zinnias are all reds and oranges. Perfect for fall flower arranging!

Farmers Market Bouquet 
My grab n go mason jar bouquets have been a hit at the Farmers Market this season. People really like having something table ready and they make great gifts too.

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