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October Advantage | Pricing & Profitability for Today's Flower Farmer

Indoor Seed-starting Guide + 11 Things Farming Elders Should Know...

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Indoor Seed-starting Guide + 11 Things Farming Elders Should Know...
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Pricing & Profitability for Today's Flower Farmer • Guidelines for Starting Seeds Indoors
11 Things for Farming Elders to Know • National Young Farmers & the CAFP2  
Johnny's Selected Seeds
Grower's Newsletter  |  October 2020
Aishah & Sebastian Lurry of Patagonia Flower Farm, Patagronia, AZ
"Keep good notes; you will thank yourself the following year. Start tracking your revenue, profit margin, COGS (cost of goods sold), OPEX (operational expenses), and labor from day one, whether you're a dabbler, a hobbyist, or planning to farm for profit."
— Contributor Aishah Lurry, of Patagonia Flower Farm, Patagonia, Arizona, with husband Sebastian Lurry.

Photo courtesy of Perin McNelis
Pricing & Profitability Tips for Today's Flower Farmer
Pointers from a Diversity of Pros

by Debra Prinzing, Founder, Slow Flowers Society

Against the backdrop of a pandemic, resilience and adaptability are proving to be the strongest threads woven through the fabric of any farm. Many flower growers had already ordered the season's seeds and bulbs before COVID hit. Flowers bloomed and seasons marched on. Few farmers had the luxury of pressing the pause button but rather forged ahead, despite uncertainty.

In the face of the uncertain nature of the business of flower farming, we wanted to hear from a diversity of flower farmers about their best pricing and business practices, as well as tips for turning a productive field into a profitable one. We surveyed these 5 flower farmers, representing varying levels of experience and geographic regions.

Gaining a solid grasp on the cost of growing the flowers you sell is one of the best ways to mitigate uncertainty. Whereas some find the best way to accomplish this is by crunching the hard figures, others can look at a crop and see the numbers in their mind's eye. Either way, the numbers really help when it comes to  making decisions,  achieving profitability, and enjoying your work in the process... 
Diane Szukovathy & Dennis Westphall of Jello Mold Farm, Mt. Vernon, Washington
According to Diane, as flower farmers evolve and their farms mature, they reach a point where they're "finally tired enough to say, 'If we're going to stay in business, we're going to have to get real about making a living at it.' "
— Contributor Diane Szukovathy, of Jello Mold Farm, Mount Vernon, Washington, with husband Dennis Westphall
Photo courtesy of Mary Grace Long 
Lettuce, onions, basil, and kale seedlings, started in one of our high tunnels.
Guidelines for Starting Seeds Indoors
Tips & Troubleshooting Advice for Starting Healthy Seedlings

Starting your own seeds is a great way to extend the growing season, grow a wider selection of varieties, and save money.

For growers who are starting seeds indoors, this article provides guidelines and troubleshooting advice that includes the following:

• 5 Benefits of Starting Your Own Seedlings
• 12 Good Seed-Starting Practices
• Poor Seed Germination: 4 Common Causes
• Poor Seedling Health: 4 Common Causes

A list of additional learning resources is also provided, including a convenient, printable Tech Sheet (PDF) version of this guide...
Germinating leek seedlings in their seed-starting tray.
Some crops, such as these germinating leeks, fare best when started indoors and grown into healthy seedlings before being transplanted, rather than being direct-sown. 
Jillian Hishaw, Esq. educates growers on the legalities of elder care and asset-protection.
“Farmers who come to me early, 20 to 30 years before retiring, are in a better position to ensure their farm remains owned by the family.”

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