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Keep flowers from wilting
Cut flowers are prone to wilting in summer, especially when they're on display at a farmers market or farm stand on a
day. And nobody wants to buy a bunch of wilted flowers. To prevent
premature wilting, follow good harvest and post-harvest procedures. Here
are the basics.
Above all, clean your buckets and clippers
thoroughly. Bacteria that reside in dirty buckets proliferate quickly in
summer heat and will clog up the stems and shorten the flowers' vase
Pick flowers early in the morning or late in the evening. Don't pick at mid-day when the sun is beating down on the flowers.
it's really hot, fill buckets with cool water a little deeper than
normal. The pressure of the deeper solution helps push water up the
Work quickly, minimizing the time between cutting stems and
placing them in water. Keep the buckets of harvested flowers in the
shade until you can transport them to the packing shed. If you are
having problems with certain varieties wilting, try using a hydration
solution in your picking bucket. A hydration solution is a commercial
product that helps the cut stems take up water after they are cut. Two
floral preservative companies that sell hydrators are Floralife and
Chrysal. Follow the label instructions carefully. NOTE:
Certified-organic growers may not be able to use these and other floral
preservative products, even though they are used post-harvest. Check
with your certifier if in doubt.
the flowers as soon as possible, either in an air-conditioned room or a
50°F cooler. Don't mingle flowers with ethylene-producing fruits and
vegetables. And be aware that some summer flowers will suffer chilling
injury if placed in a cooler set below 40°F.
Before displaying flowers, be sure the water in the bucket is deep enough to keep the flowers hydrated all day.
all, keep the flowers out of direct sunlight at market. Keep in mind
that sleeves act like little greenhouses in sunlight, making flowers
uncomfortably hot, so you might want to put flowers into sleeves after
your customers purchase them.
Reprinted from JSS Advantage August 2010