I was looking into flowering farming and how there is a decent amount of profit that can be made in the US for flower farmers because many local stores prefer locally grown flowers and I was wondering how I could design a permaculture system designed for cut-flower production. What would be good pairing, good options, etc?
I love this thread already! I think it would be spectacular to design a permaculture system based on flowering plants. I think it needs to be designed like any other permaculture system, that is starting with the basics first 1. Water (rain harvesting earthworks, irrigation) 2. Access (roads, paths) 3. Structures (house, sheds, gardens). Once those are designed one can go on to design the individual gardens.
If there is already a permaculture design for the land, then probably the next step is to decide which flowers to grow.
I work at one of those businesses that buys and sells locally grown flowers. It's ideally suited to permaculture both because so many flowers are perennials and you can stack functions with many food items producing decorative parts.
Echinacea makes wonderful cut flowers and not only does this not inhibit the production of the medicinal root, harvest the flowers keeps the plant from devoting as much energy to seed development. Sun roots are in the same situation. I was even wondering earlier this week if I could increase tuber production on the dahlia's I planted seed for by regularly cutting flowers for the household.
Dill flowers where part of most of the spring bouquets in the store last year. I've also seen colorful kales, ornamental cabbage, and swiss chard. Pretty much any plant in the carrot family produces a very prominent flower.
And branches, bare and otherwise are often used as filler if you're pruning. Shiny bark, colorful bark, gnarly shapes, interesting leaves, colorful leaf buds, berries, pretty much anything can make a random branch work in a flower arrangement. When I started my espalier I gave one peach tree top that had just started blooming to a neighbor and put the other in water and it started to bloom. I actually got a couple of weeks of pretty pink flowers from that.
Think about winding grapevines through arrangements. The leaves can be decorative, the bare vines can be shaped into loops that bind the bouquet together while adding some architectural detail for the eye. I don't think anyone growing grapes doesn't have an excess of vine. Sweet potato vines have lovely heart shaped leaves on the edible varieties and will root rather than wilt in water.
Just pulling likely items for floral arrangements off the top of my head, is producing a list that would work very well for a food forest. Arranging flowers is an art form, so long as you have a creative eye for design you can almost grow anything at all.
Now there are limitations, except the squash itself, I don't think any part of a squash flower would be durable enough to use. Spinach and most lettuces wouldn't hold up to any handling. Joseph Lofthouse is breeding a tomato line with ornamental flowers but most tomatoes wouldn't even get an audition.
Hi! We too are ready to delve into flower farming. We own a 6 acre permie farm in sw TN. Just today I made a very large keyhole/mandala bed for ranunculus, anemones (floret has the best heirloom bulbs for both of these but you gotta be quick), poppies, herbs, ornamental kale, etc.
Tomorrow I will finish wattle fencing that's creating the outline/retaining wall of the walkways. I'm thinking rocks for the paths and woodchips to act as mulch and fertilizer. Also there will be a compost bin in the center of the bed. On top of the bin I'll place a large bowl or platter with water to attract beneficial insects and birds.
Our bed is on a slight slope so at the bottom a swale and berm were put in. I'm trying to decide if I'd like to do pebbles or woodchips in the swale... Thoughts?
Also, does anyone know of good companion plants for these flowers or resources to help find the info? There's so much info on edibles but not too much on incorporating other species into the design...
Liz Jolly wrote:Also, does anyone know of good companion plants for these flowers or resources to help find the info? There's so much info on edibles but not too much on incorporating other species into the design...
Hi, Liz Welcome to permies!
I have a list of plants that can be planted or used fresh to repel pests. Also I have links to companion plants and beneficial weeds. Funny thing is that there are a lot of flowers on the beneficial weeds list.