Planning a Cutting Garden

Tips on how to plan a profitable and beautiful cutting garden.

| November 2013

Learning to grow and savor what you produce is what makes farming a lifestyle not just a living. The Joy of Hobby Farming (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011), from husband and wife team Michael and Audrey Levatino, provide a working example of how to live sustainable lives while protecting the land. In this excerpt from the sixth chapter, titled “The Flower Garden”, the authors tell of the steps necessary in planning a cutting garden.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: The Joy of Hobby Farming

Start Your Own a Cutting Garden

Important elements of a successful cutting garden include row planting with wide pathways; a drip irrigation system; woven landscape fabric; and support netting.

Row Planting and Wide Pathways

Because irrigation is so important, rows are the best method for farming flowers. And it’s just as important to maintain weed-free, wide pathways. Flowers can grow into very large plants that spill out of the sides of your rows and make it difficult to maneuver and cut the flowers. We maintain four- to five-foot rows where possible. We cover the ground with cardboard and a thick layer of wood chips in the pathways to keep weeds at bay.

Drip Irrigation

By far the most important element is the drip irrigation system, without which we could not feasibly provide water for the eight long rows of flowers in our halfacre cutting garden. Not only does the drip irrigation allow us to turn on the water and proceed with other tasks, it delivers that water right at ground level, allowing it to soak slowly into the soil, going where the plants need it most, right to their roots. This system prevents waste of water from evaporation and over watering, and also prevents diseases encouraged by the excessive moisture of overhead watering, such as powdery mildew. It’s best to buy a kit from an irrigation supplier.

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