Do you learn from the mistakes you make in the garden? Now that the summer growing season is coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s cut flower garden and how to prevent those same mistakes from happening again.
I’ve been growing cut flowers for 4 years now. You have no idea how many mistakes I’ve made in that amount of time.
Every year I learn many valuable lessons, this year being no exception. And I’m alright with that. Because when you make mistakes, it means that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and continuing to grow.
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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.
See all the blog posts in the GROWING A CUT FLOWER GARDEN series HERE.
Here are some of the mistakes I made this year and how I intend to not make them again next season.
1. Planting Too Many Seeds at One Time
I want ALL THE BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS in my garden! Whose with me?
I hate to break it to you, but it’s not a realistic expectation.
I’m like a little kid in a candy store when it comes to picking out seeds for next year’s cut flower garden. I want them all! And for the last 4 years…I bought too many!
I can’t help myself. I have a flower sickness.
Here are some ideas for scaling down the number of seeds to plant.
Try Your Hand at Succession Planting
Succession sowing is when you stagger your plantings over a period of several weeks to help extend your blooms throughout the season.
This way, you won’t be sowing an entire packet of seeds all at once.
Don’t Buy Seeds Without a Garden Plan
It’s so easy to go onto a seed site and buy all the pretty flowers you want to see in a cutting garden. Unfortunately, this is one of those mistakes I tend to make year after year (Sadly, I have no self-control).
By planning out your garden beds BEFORE you do your seed shopping, you will have a more realistic picture of what will fit in your garden space.
I usually start on my plans in November or December, before the seeds from Floret Flowers go on sale in January.
Eliminate What Didn’t Work Before Trying New Varieties
It’s always fun to try new seed varieties. But in order to make room for them in the cut flower garden, you should first eliminate the same amount of flowers from the mix.
I’m able to try two or three new annuals every year by cutting my least favorite performers from the shopping list.
Save the Seeds You End up not Planting for Next Time
My problem is that even with a cut flower garden plan, I still can’t control myself. I buy way too many seeds to plant out in the garden, so I’m saving some for next season.
Seeds should remain viable for at least one year if you store them properly.
2. Planting Flowers Too Close Together
This is a mistake I make ALL THE TIME.
When you’re trying to fit all those fun seedlings in your cut flower garden, it’s hard to remember how big they will grow in a few months.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to give your plants the proper spacing in the garden. Your plants will thrive and be more productive by
- allowing them to receive the light and nutrients they need.
- providing them air circulation to prevent pests and disease.
Make sure to follow the directions on the back of the seed packet. They’re there for a reason!
3. Not Being Aware of Pests and Disease in the Cut Flower Garden
Taking a morning walk through the garden is both rewarding and relaxing. Don’t you just love seeing all the changes that are happening? There’s nothing quite like seeing the first bloom of the season on each plant that you grow in your cut flower garden.
But walking through your garden on a daily basis is so much more than that.
It’s crucial to catch those pesky pests and diseases at the very beginning stages before the problem gets out of control and starts spreading to the rest of your cut flower garden.
4. Not Labeling Every Single Seed Cell After Sowing
I make it a habit of labeling my seed cell and pots immediately after sowing. But over the years I’ve gotten a bit lazy.
This year I decided to save time and money by just labeling one of the seedling tray cells for each seed variety. What I didn’t realize was the risk of losing those labels when the trays were being moved so much.
Seed trays were constantly being moved around the greenhouse, and then in and outside for a week or two during the process of hardening the plants off.
I lost a couple of those labels and didn’t know which variety of flowers that I was planting until I started to see the first bloom more than a month later.
The lesson to take away here is to label each cell or pot with the name of the flower and the date you sowed the seeds. The dates will also come in handy for your succession planting.
5. Not Reading the Seed Packet
The seed packets list all the information you need to grow your cut flowers.
- How tall the plant will get
- The amount of sun needed
- Plant spacing
- When to start the seeds and when to transplant outdoors
- Germination rate
My mistake is that I don’t always GO BACK to the seed packet when it’s time to transplant the seedlings into the ground. I tend to plant them too close to one another because I haven’t read the spacing guidelines.
6. Not Writing Everything Down in a Garden Journal
This is a mistake that I make year after year.
I mention the importance of writing in a garden journal all the time, yet I never take my own advice. I always feel like I’m too busy at that moment to write down any important facts I want to remember. But I never do go back.
Having a journal is so helpful when planning your cut flower garden for the next year.
7. Waiting Too Long to Support My Plants
You never know when a windy summer day will come along and break off some of your flower stalks or stems.
The best practice is to start staking them when they’re about a foot tall and raising the twine or retying the plants as they grow taller.
8. Overwatering Your Flowers
When you see a wilting plant, it’s not always easy to determine whether it needs more water or not.
I made a lot of the wrong assumptions when we were having a 3-day heatwave back in June and ended up overwatering some of my plants.
Just because your plant is wilting doesn’t necessarily mean it’s due to a lack of water. Test the soil by sticking your finger down about an inch to see the condition of the soil.
What lessons have you learned from the garden? I hope this gave you a couple of helpful ideas. I’d love to hear from you. Make sure you leave a comment below.
Until next time,
More Garden Inspiration
Make sure to visit my friends to see what they’re up to in their gardens. It’s always fun to see what’s happening in the other parts of the country.