Have you just bought a beautiful property with a huge backyard, or do you already have one and now want to utilize it? Whatever the case may be, starting a backyard flower farm is undoubtedly the most aesthetically pleasing way to put your yard to use.
However, this idea might seem daunting if you aren’t blessed with a green thumb (don’t worry, most of us aren’t). But this guide should give you the absolute blueprint you need to start a backyard flower farm from scratch.
Whether you want to make a business of cut flowers and greens or just want to use them for yourself, today we will discuss how to prepare your yard, how to select the right plants, what equipment you need, and everything else you need to know, so let’s get started.
About Backyard Flower Farming
Backyard flower farming is all about cultivating beautiful blooms right in your backyard. It’s gaining popularity across the US due to its therapeutic benefits and the joy it brings.
The prospects of backyard flower farming are promising. With a small backyard, balcony, or even a sunny window sill, you can start your journey of backyard flower farming. Significantly growing flowers like sunflowers, roses, or zinnias is simple and rewarding.
You can sell the flowers at local markets or associate with event management companies to make it a potential business venture.
While it may not make you an overnight millionaire, backyard flower farming will give you a fulfilling experience and a chance to earn some extra income. Besides, the happiness it brings to you and those who enjoy blossoms is priceless.
7 Tips for Beginners to Start a Backyard Flower Farm
These tips will guide you through the entire process of starting from planning to harvesting, so read each one of them without skipping.
1. Do Your Research
Before you rush to the market to pick any and every flower seed you like, you need to do the research on what kind of flowers can grow in your area. Every location has climate conditions that are favorable and unfavorable for certain plant species, and as a beginner in flower farming, you should always start by picking varieties that your location’s climate and soil would favor.
You also need to consider facts like rain, sunlight, and shade. While some flowering plants soak up to six hours of good sunlight, some only survive in the shade. So, chalk out how much of your lawn is shaded and create a rough layout of what plants you would plant there.
While planning the layout, you also need to consider factors like companion plants, as if you plant two non-compatible plants next to each other, they may stun each other’s growth.
The last thing would be your budget. You need to determine how much you can invest in your flower farm, and based on that, you can decide whether you can buy saplings or need to grow them from seeds. Remember that the budget would also include other requirements like soil amendments, tools, and any necessary infrastructure.
2. Pick the Right Flower Varieties
As mentioned earlier, beginners must pick easy-to-grow flowers so the money used for purchase does not go to waste. Apart from that, we also suggest picking a blend of annuals and perennials that bloom at different times of the season so you can have the flowers throughout the year.
Some of the most common handy and beginner-friendly varieties include zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, and daisies.
3. Prepare Your Yard Soil
Having nutrient-rich soil is a must for a successful flower farm, so we suggest you pay extra attention to this matter. Assuming you are a beginner and don’t have much knowledge of soil type and pH requirements, we suggest you hire a one-time soil assessment to see what your backyard soil lacks and what you need to do to perfect its drainage and fertility.
If you can’t afford one at this moment, here are some basic things you can try that will help you prepare the soil.
- Lay down a thick (3-4”) layer of compost on the soil beds. Ensure that the layer is as even as possible
- On top of it, sprinkle a generous dusting of high-quality organic fertilizer. Look for compositions that include bone meal, cottonseed meal, kelp meal, rock powder, etc
- Till the ingredients into the soil and lay down irrigation lines. If your soil is more sandy, you need to put at least four lines of drip irrigation one foot apart. However, for more clay-rich soil, two to three lines would do
- Lastly, cover the planting beds with pre-burnt landscape fabric for weed control
4. Do the Planting
Once your planting beds are ready and you have the seeds or saplings you plan to grow on your farm, you can follow the instructions given on the seed packets to do the planting. It will tell you about the recommended depth and spacing for sowing the seeds you picked.
For most flowers, you should water the seeds right after planting them. You also need to ensure that the beds stay moist until the germination, but don’t overwater them.
5. Follow the Care and Maintenance Guidance
Your contribution certainly doesn’t end at planting but only moves toward the more critical part. You need to take care of the plants and maintain them for healthy blooming. Deadheading withered and faded flowers can help the plant grow healthier.
So whenever you see spent flowers, remove them so the plant can save food and energy to use it somewhere necessary.
6. Do Pest Management if Required
Pests and plant diseases are the biggest threats to your flower farm, so you need to watch out for them. Keep a close eye on your plants for any signs of pests and diseases. You can use organic remedies like neem oil or insecticidal soaps as precautions.
However, if your flower farm gets compromised, you can do crop rotation to reduce the risk of recurring diseases and pests.
7. Harvest on the Right Time
If you are going to use cut flowers and greens, you need to harvest them at the right stage when they will have the longest vase life. Most gardeners prefer picking the blooms in the morning when they are well-hydrated.
Always use a clean and sharp pair of shears to avoid damaging the stems, and be quick with the process. Newbie harvesters often waste a lot of time trying to locate each stem since it goes downwards, and then cut it in the right place and collect the flowers in the bucket.
For most flowering plants, you can simply go to the base and cut out the whole flower stalk. This technique is safe for plants like cosmos, spray, marigolds, clary sage, scabiosa, and similar.
Extra Tips if You Are Planning to Start a Flower Farm Business
If you are planning to build a business out of your cut flowers, here are some helpful tips for you!
1. Give a Unique Name To Your Business
You may think naming your business is no big deal, but it is harder than you think. You may want to name it something that is short, simple, and resonates with the business. But make sure you are not using a business name that is already taken.
2. Make a Dedicated Website For Your Business
While social media is a good platform for showcasing your business, you need to have your own website for multiple reasons. One, having your own website makes your business appear more professional, and two, you never know when a social media app might get banned, so they are certainly not fully reliable.
3. Make a Budget for Your Business that is Aside of Your Farm
There will be separate business expenses, such as marketing, advertising, packaging, logistics, etc., that will need budgeting aside from your farm’s expenses.
4. Create a Business Plan
Running a business is all about working towards a vision. So, it would be best if you had a business plan before you start. Set yearly, half-yearly, or quarterly goals and plan out how you are going to achieve them.
5. Assess and Reassess the Budgets Periodically
To keep your expenses under check and profits increasing, assess and reassess your budgets from time to time. Once or twice a year should be good enough for the flower farming business since the expenses related to this field don’t fluctuate that much.
Expanding Your Flower Farming Venture
If you already have a flower farming business, these pointers will be helpful if you are planning expansion.
1. Check Where You Stand
Before going big, know where you’re at. Check what you’ve got: tools, space, cash. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you plan smart.
2. Watch What’s Trending
To grow well, know what folks love. Keep an eye on what flowers people are more vibing with this season. It is best to have a unique bloom, as people love that!
3. Mix Up Your Blooms
Spice it up! Add new flowers to your collection. Variety’s the spice of farm life. More flowers, more smiles!
4. Make More Flowers
If people want more, give them more! Get more space or make more room. To expand your business, you must grow your farm first.
5. Make Your Business More Visible And Accessible
In the era of doorstep delivery, you also need to step up your game and provide facilities like home delivery.
To make your business more visible, collaborate with local communities, offer them your service at a discounted price, send bouquets to social media influencers, and so on to leverage word of mouth.
6. Be Sustainable
To grow any business long-term, you must have a sustainable plan for yourself and the planet. So try out cultivation techniques that give the same or better results but take up less space, water, and resources. Hydroponics can be one of them.
7. Be Financially Smart
Business is all about ups and downs, so we suggest you take smart financial moves and invest in other places that can give you constant returns.
These investments will be your savior when you hit a financially rough patch and will give you the liberty to take better business risks. So keep a tab on your profits, and religiously take out some part of it for investment plans.
For beginners, it is best to go with plants like zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, and daisies. These varieties typically require less maintenance and have a higher chance of thriving.
The amount of space you need depends on your goals and available land. A small garden bed or raised beds can be sufficient for a hobbyist, while a larger plot may be necessary for commercial production. So start with whatever space you have and expand if needed.
Pests like aphids, snails, and powdery mildew are common challenges in flower farming. You can address these issues through organic methods, such as using neem oil, introducing beneficial insects, and practicing good garden hygiene.
As a first-timer, remember that gardening takes a lot of time and patience. So, it is better to start small and see how you are handling things. Learn from your mistakes and slowly expand your flower farm as you gain confidence.