The Art of Pinching to Increase Harvest

Want to triple your harvest of cut flowers? Then you need to learn the art of pinching.

Pinching is nicer way of saying “hack off the top of your healthy young plants.” Basically, you wait until your young plants are 8-12 inches tall then cut them down by 3-4 inches.

Whyyyyyyyyyyy?!

I didn’t want to do it either. You know how long I waited to get my plants that tall?!

Here are THREE reasons to pinch young plants:

  1. Pinching encourages branching. So instead of that single snapdragon stem, your plant will make 3-4 usable stems.
  2. Pinching encourages taller stems for cutting. Taller stems are better for floral design work.
  3. Pinching increases the amount of usable stems. This relates to plants that get really beefy stems that are too thick to use in floral design arrangements. Pinching those monsters (think dahlias) will result in more stems that are ALSO a more reasonable thickness.

Even with all those reasons to pinch, I was still scared to do it. It feels very counter-intuitive to behead your young healthy plant babies.

However, I forced myself to do it on at least half my snapdragons to observe the results for myself.

My non-pinched snaps bloomed weeks sooner than the pinched stems, but my pinched plants have triple the amount of stems per plant.

Do note that you do NOT want to pinch a single stem blooming plant like your typical sunflower or stock.

Reserve pinching for branching varieties such as; snapdragons, dahlias, sweet peas, zinnias etc.

Erinn from Floret Farm has an awesome free video tutorial that shows how to pinch some of the common cut flower garden varieties. Check it out here.

As always, thanks for stopping by my little website. I spend days putting together posts that will help you have an abundant cutting garden or farm of your own. I am usually being crawled all over by my two rascally kids as I write and edit my posts. I’m also usually keeping said kids from eating dirt while I get some photos of the grow space. You can probably relate to the struggle! If you found this post useful, please comment below. It is encouraging to hear from you and it gives my website a boost on the Google search engines! I hope you will follow along on Instagram where I bear my soul on all the struggles and successes related to growing cut flowers. Happy Flower Farming!

5 Vase Life Hacks for Your Locally Grown Flowers

Your locally grown cut flowers are a little different in the vase than your grocery store bouquets.

They are not bred for shipping across seas. This means your local blooms will¬† smell wonderful and last longer….IF you treat them like locally grown flowers.

What?! I demand flowers with minimal effort! I know, but unfortunately this is reality. And in reality, flowers are living things that need food, water and some TLC.

Here are 5 Vase Life Hacks for your Locally Grown Flowers:

  1. Keep the water clean enough: How clean you ask? If you wouldn’t drink out of the vase yourself, then don’t let your flowers! Why? Flowers are drinking that water up the stems and the tiniest debris can clog the stem. Think of it like a tiny coffee straw, but smaller. Wash your vases and buckets (if you are harvesting) before every use. Then check your vase regularly to be sure it stays that clean and FULL. Fun fact: Overseas blooms are bred to drink less water so they survive shipping. Your local blooms will drink a LOT more water and you will need to keep an eye on it.
  2. Give your flowers a haircut and condition:¬†If you just bought local flowers, then recut the bottom inch or two of the stem and strip any leaves off that will sit below the water line. Flowers will benefit from having the bottom 2/3 of their stem leaf free. It will allow the plant to focus more energy on keeping that bloom healthy and hydrated. Don’t play with your flowers until you condition them! Put them in a cool, clean vase of water (with flower food) out of direct sunlight for a few hours first. They have been through a lot and need time to bounce back before you start arranging them and moving them around. Mess with your flowers before they get enough TLC and you will notice blooms and leaves falling off.
  3. Feed them: I wondered if feeding flowers those little packets was really necessary. Does it really help? Yes. Yes it does. This thrifty gal now uses flower food religiously. Your plants cannot survive on water alone. They used to be rooted into the richest of soil that provided a constant supply of nutrients. They are now on a major diet that is limited to flower food packets. Feed your flowers and you will lengthen their vase life PLUS the flower food packets keep the water clean! Without the flower food, you will be changing the water every day to keep it clean enough. Dirty water = bacteria. Bacteria = dead flowers. I ask nicely for a flower food packet while grocery shopping and the kind employees always give me a handful. You can also buy them in bulk on Amazon.
  4. Don’t roast your flowers: This should be a duh, but unfortunately, it needs to be said. Don’t leave your flowers in a hot car (or hot window). Crank that AC up and place your flowers out of direct sunlight for the ride home. If your blooms do wilt, don’t give up! I have had blooms look totally limp that I brought back to vitality. Recut the stem an inch or two, place in boiling water for a few seconds and then place in cool water with flower food for a few hours. Its like magic watching a limp “dead” flower rehydrate into a beautiful straight stem. “Have you ever made anything happen? Anything you couldn’t explain when you were angry or scared?” #potterhead
  5. Harvest with good habits: If you are harvesting from your own garden, do so during the coolest part of the day (early morning or late evening). Flowers cut in the hot part of the day will wilt. Also learn when the best harvestable stage is for each flower variety. Some blooms stop dead in their tracks once cut, while others continue to open. Harvest with a clean bucket of water on hand if you will be out for a long time. Some flowers even need the ends seared in boiling water before they are set in cool water to condition. Other flowers like Daffodils leak a sap that is poisonous to other flowers and will need to rest for a few hours before mixing with other varieties. And still other flowers with woody stems (like lilacs) need a vertical cut up the stem post harvest. Learn a little more about your flowers and their individual quirks so you can set them up for success in the vase. Always harvest with clean, sharp shears so you don’t blunt their stems (making it harder for them to drink up water and flower food). As you harvest, clean 2/3 of the leaves off the stem. This will save the flower the effort of keeping all those leaves hydrated and instead it can focus more energy on the bloom. After harvest, bring them inside and let them rest in a cool place outside of direct sunlight before you play with them. It is also a good idea to boost them with some flower food after the trauma of being cut.

As always, each post is a labor of love and the result of hours, sometimes days, of work. I would love it if you commented below. I like hearing from you (and knowing someone is out there), plus it boosts my website in the Google servers. Happy Flower Farming!

5 Reasons Flowers Are Good for Mental Health

Besides being good for the bees, did you know flowers are good for your your mental health too?

Some months ago, a friend posted a picture of flowers she recieved anonymously with the caption, “Every time I walk in the kitchen, I remember someone loves me.”

I think of that story whenever someone says flowers are not worth the money “because they die.”

It is my beleif that giving a little kindness to yourself and/or others is never a waste. Keep reading to find out why.

Here are 5 Mental Health Benefits of Flowers:

  1. Flowers ease recovery of hospital patients: Research shows that patients recovering in the hospital benefit from fresh flowers in their room. Patients were less likely to need additional pain medication, they also had less anxiety and feelings of fatigue. The same study also noted better blood pressure readings and heart rates thanks to the bedside blooms.
  2. Flowers have a long-lasting impact on happiness: “One study¬†reported that 80% of people who received flowers had a positive change to their mood that lasted for days.” So not only, are you making someone’s day by giving them flowers, you are making their whole week. And yes, the flowers will fade, but the memory will last forever. That doesn’t mean you have to wait to receive flowers to enjoy the benefits of improved mood.¬†Another “study showed that when frequently exposed to flowers, people reported lower levels of depression and anxiety and lower stress levels, with higher enjoyment levels and a stronger sense of life satisfaction.” (Source FlowerFox.com)
  3. Flowers in the home reduce depression and anxiety: Want those good moods to stick around?¬†A Harvard study revealed that flowers feed compassion and chase away anxiety and worries. “The research participants lived with fresh flowers for just a few days and reported increases in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. Overall, people simply felt less negative after being around flowers.” (Society of American Florists)¬†Psychologists also noted that “flower moods” are contagious. Basically, the lucky people that have fresh flowers, spread the good vibes around. They are more compassionate and considerate to others.
  4. Flowers get the creative juices flowing: Green work spaces that have plants or flowers are known to reduce stress levels and in one study increased creative ideas by 30%. Another study, concluded that green spaces in the workplace resulted in more good ideas, innovative thinking and better problem-solving abilities.
  5. Flowers make the giver happy too: This comes as no surprise to me. Studies show that those that those that give flowers are happier. You send a bouquet to brighten someones day and you brighten your own! That’s what I call a win-win situation.

The next time you contemplate getting yourself or a loved one some blooms, just do it!