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Vegetables and fruits aren’t the only things that can be grown in the homestead garden and sold for profit. In fact, cut flowers are one of the most profitable crops per acre, with an estimated gross of $55,000 per acre or more on a good year. Of course, you’ll need to deduct your labor and expenses from that to figure out how much you actually made. But, if you start out small and build your cut flower business slowly, you can avoid debt. And, by adding on services like floral design and wedding flowers, you can increase your income even more.

Of course, flower farming is still farming, so it’s hard work that involves physical labor and long hours. But the rewards are many, being your own boss, providing valuable habitat for bees and pollinators, and working outdoors instead of behind a desk. Not to mention being surrounded by gorgeous flowers and making your living doing something you love.

Farms like this one in Japan aren’t the only ones that can be successful at growing flowers for sale. Your small farm will profit too!

How Much Land Do You Need to Get Started?

Some of the most successful cut flower farms are making a significant profit on only two or three acres of land. If your dream is to own a profitable micro-farm, flowers just might be the crop for you! Typical crops like grains, fruits, and vegetables (or even livestock sold for meat) require more land and machinery for adequate production. With flowers, they are usually planted, cultivated, and even harvested entirely by hand, so limits of time and labor often play a more important role than the amount of available land.

Things to Think About Before You Get Started

In order to achieve profitability on your small acreage, high-intensity production will be required. Startup investments will need to include things like hoop houses and greenhouses to extend your growing season, soil amendments, and things like weed control fabric. You’ll also need seed starting trays and cultivating tools like shovels, hoes, and possibly a rototiller (you might be able to rent one). As you grow, a cooler will be needed for keeping flowers fresh until they’re delivered to your buyer. A van will also be helpful when you start making deliveries or transporting flowers to market.

You’ll need to have an excellent succession-planting plan so that you can get your next crop in the ground within days of when one stops blooming. Mastering this technique will allow you to harvest two crops from the same space each season. Take some time learning about this succession planting before you get started.

You also need to consider if you have a good outlet for selling cut flowers in your area. The amount of money you can charge for your flowers will vary significantly by your location, too. Start small to allow for that learning curve. You’ll need to learn all about germination and harvest times, as well as post-harvest handling for each variety you want to grow. Where you sell your flowers matters… you probably won’t be selling the same varieties at the farmer’s market that you sell to your neighborhood wedding florist.

The Easiest Varieties to Start With

Certain varieties stand out as being easy to grow from seed in a variety of climates. You’re looking for long-stemmed varieties with abundant blooms. Browsing through seed catalogs and reading seed packets can help you figure out if a particular variety is suitable for cutting. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

• Snapdragons: These are a favorite early summer flower that blooms prolifically in a variety of gorgeous colors. The flowers have a lovely citrus scent, long stems, and live a long time after cutting. Best of all? The more flowers you cut, the more they grow!

• Celosia: These heat-loving flowers are easy to grow. You’ll find them in a variety of colors and shapes, from a crested cockscomb shape to a plumed form that works wonderfully as an accent flower in bouquets.

• Amaranthus: Another heat-loving flower that easy to grow, Amaranthus comes in earthy shades with some forms looking like hanging tassels. It’s a beautiful base for market bouquets.

• Marigolds: We are all familiar with these cheerful summer flowers, and they’re great for the cut flower garden, too. They are some of the most abundant, tough flowers you can grow, and they make great additions to market bouquets. You can expect to get up to 15 or 20 blooms on each marigold plant!

• Zinnias: Zinnias are incredibly easy to grow, and they’re prolific producers of abundant blooms in a variety of sizes and colors. They are great for market bouquets in the summer, and they’re a perfect first crop for the beginning cut flower farmer.

• Cosmos: If you want to grow a flower that keeps coming back every time you cut it, you can’t go wrong with cosmos. Every plant will produce armloads of flowers over a period of months, and the daisy-like blooms come in a vast variety of sizes and colors.

Where You Can Sell Your Flowers

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is where you’re going to sell your flowers. Here are some ideas to get you started.

• Farmer’s Markets: If you’re taking your crafts or produce to market every week anyway, why not grow some cut flowers for market bouquets, too? You’ll sell more flowers for more money in urban areas, but even small community markets can be profitable.

• Retail Florists: Upscale florists in your area may be interested in purchasing locally grown flowers. Consider visiting a few shops, ask them what they might be interested in, and leave them your business card.

• Floral Wholesalers: Wholesalers will pay the least amount of money for your flowers, but they’ll also buy a lot at once. If you live in a remote area, a wholesaler might be a good option for you.

• Grocery Stores: Many grocery stores have floral departments and buying from local growers is becoming more and more common.

• Farm Stand Sales: If you live on a well-traveled road, you might be able to sell your flowers at a roadside stand, right next to your homegrown produce and fresh baked cottage foods.

Whether you decide to grow a few flowers to sell alongside your produce at the local or market, or you grow enough to get the wholesalers interested, flower farming can be a fun and profitable side income for your homestead. Remember to start small and give yourself time to learn what grows and sells well in your area.

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When A Friend Moves Away: Nurturing Longtime Friendships

Friendships are one of your life’s most precious gifts. Knowing someone for many years and sharing good times, bringing in the New Year, taking trips together, births, deaths, and your personal feelings, creates a bond that can be as strong as the closeness you feel to your blood-relatives.

Because ties to another person can run so deep when an extraordinary friend moves away, it can feel like a tremendous loss. But there are concrete measures you can take to ensure that you and your friend remain close to one another in spite of the miles that separate you.

Before your special friend packs up and moves away, a going away party is always a fantastic way to let him or her know how much this close relationship has meant to you. It’s time to invite all your friend’s office buddies, family members, and your mutual friends to a party. This type of farewell can make a situation that is bittersweet become a symbol of how appreciated and loved the guest of honor is in your community.

You may want to hold the gathering at your home, a restaurant, or another public party space. Along with refreshments and appetizers, it’s always fun to have a festive cake decorated with the honoree’s name and a symbolic saying or figure that everyone at the party will recognize as emblematic of their friend’s personality, vocation, or pastime.

Guests may bring small, thoughtful gifts for the friend who is moving away, such as:

• an address book with everyone’s address, email moniker, and telephone number
• a journal in which every guest can write a short “goodbye” note
• a picture frame in which to put a group picture of everyone at the party

Or, everyone can contribute toward one present such as a gift card for buying items for the new home; a set of leather luggage tags; or a work of art by a local artist.

Don’t forget that as hard as it may be to have a close friend move away, the anxiety and stress of moving to a new location, a new job, and making new friends are even more troubling for the mover.

Some things friends can do to alleviate the hassles of moving include:

• offering to help pack up household items
• watching the friend’s children for a weekend so he or she can work on organizing for the move
• taking a supper to the friend’s house for a few days before the move
• researching family-friendly activities in and around the area to which the friend is relocating

It might be fun to set up a flexible schedule of calls, emails, conference calls, and funny cards for a few months just so the friend feels supported, cared for, and thought about as he or she navigates the “moving to a new place” waters. Email, Facebook, texting, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and so many more social media sites make staying in touch easier than it has ever been.

Though it may sound foreign in today’s culture, writing a note that is sent by “snail mail” can be a delightful surprise for your dear friend. Finding a card or letter in the mailbox is so rare that your friend is bound to be surprised and uplifted to receive a real letter or card.

Many friends plan an occasional trip together to enjoy a vacation and to catch up with what has transpired in their lives since they were last together. This type of in-person reunion always makes a big difference in ensuring that friendships stay vibrant and active. From going to a state park and camping together to meeting at someone’s home that is centrally located, finding a way to unite does not have to be exorbitantly costly or complicated.

Anyone who has a friend who moves away will experience these feelings:

• When you finally see your friend, you feel there’s a rush to make up for the time you’ve been apart.
• You’d really like for everyone else to not intrude on your catch-up time.
• You remember how really close you and your friend are.
• You realize that you always have each other’s backs.

Close friendships can survive, even across long distances. As a greeting card once said, “True friends are never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart.” And, what about that old camp song? “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

It is worth every minute you invest in keeping close ties with treasured buddies, so do whatever it takes to make sure the ties remain tight.


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