2016 ASCFG Growers' School PDF Print E-mail

ASCFG Growers’ School
March 6-7
Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center


If you missed this one, plan to attend the Growers' School and National Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan in early November.  Registration information coming soon. 

All sessions will take place at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center .

Sunday, March 6          Everyone Started Somewhere          

It seems that the speakers on today’s panel have been growing flowers their entire lives! Learn how these top-notch flower farmers have built their businesses from the ground up (so to speak) and how they continue to flourish as commercial growers.

8:00 – 9:30 a.m.  
Hit the Ground Running: Growing Annuals and Making Money Your First Year
Frank Arnosky, Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, Wimberley
The bulk of production for newer growers will naturally be seed-grown annuals. They are easily available, they’re inexpensive and they’re fast. But what do you do when all your zinnias bloom at the same time and you’ve got eight more weeks left in the season? Frank will walk you through the basics of choosing the right varieties, seed starting, field production, and succession planting to ensure a long and profitable season. We will also cover some basics of drip irrigation so you can set up a simple system and coast through the ups and downs of our increasingly crazy weather.

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.            
Getting Started with Perennial and Woody Plantings
Jennie Love, Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One of the most critical investments you can make as a new grower is selecting and planting key perennial and woody crops. Jennie will outline how she decided on what to plant first, and how she laid out her plantings so they would be very low maintenance and highly productive over the years, greatly adding to the value of her business’ bottom line. This talk will focus as much on the “how to” of perennial and woody crop systems as it does on the selection of specific varieties.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.          

10:45 – 12:00    
High Tunnel Basics: Getting the Most from This Valuable Real Estate
Barbara Lamborne, Greenstone Fields, Purcellville, Virginia
You have it built - now what? What should you plant in there, and when? How do you maintain the best environment to keep those plants happy? How do you avoid sad soil? Barbara will share what she has learned growing in four tunnels for nine years.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. 
Lunch on your own.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
The Brightest Bulb in the Crate Demystifies the Procurement Process, and Talks Bulbs Too
Dave Dowling, Ednie Flower Bulb Company, Fredon, New Jersey
Learn where and how to get the stuff you need to make your farm grow. Get a clear   explanation of the broker/grower relationship. Discover what varieties of bulbs are best for cut flowers and your bottom line. Learn how to choose the right bulb crop for your growing conditions and your marketing strategy. 

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
The Roots of a Great Farm
Lisa Ziegler, The Gardener’s Workshop, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Learn how your farm can become more self-sustaining and healthy with each passing season. Lisa will share the methods she follows for soil care and nutrition, pest management, and how-to include cover crops on your farm.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. 
Postharvest: The Last Talk of the Day, but the Most Important One of Your Business
John Dole, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Learn the practical - and most current -  details of maximizing the vase life of your cut flowers. 

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Dinner on your own

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
After-Dinner Question and Answer Session
Mimo Davis Duschack and John Dole will host a lively open microphone session, giving you a chance to ask even more questions and share your stories. It will be fun, and you'll learn even more! Cash bar.

Monday, March 7        Floral Finesse and Flair!

Now that you know how to grow and handle your cut flowers, what’s next? Learn from a master marketer the best way to present your product across a range of markets. Then, our three floral design sessions will cover the perfect bouquets for grocery and markets, what’s trending now with wedding bouquets, accessories, and reception arrangements—all accomplished with live design demonstrations.       

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.              
Marketing: Quality, Constituency, and Charisma
Mimo Davis Duschack, Urban Buds, St. Louis, Missouri
Before you sow your first seed, know where that flower will be sold. This session will discuss direct marketing to florists, farmers’ markets, and wholesalers. Covering topics from the first “cold call” to being a cornerstone of your farmers’ market, whatever your target market may be, we will talk about how to add the sparkle to your business to make customers want to buy to your flowers.

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. 
No More Tangles: Harvesting for Bouquet-making
Diana Doll, Stray Cat Flower Farm, Burlington, Vermont
Making bouquets for market and grocers begins with attention to harvesting for easy flow from bucket to bunch. Keeping a comfortable pace and minimizing bottlenecks gets you out of the field and into the shade of the assembly line before you and your flowers start wilting! We'll show you our bouquet line setup, and in a live demonstration, the process we use to produce display-ready, customer-friendly, grab-and-go bouquets.

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.          

10:30 – 12:00 p.m.  
Grow Like a Farmer, Sell Like a Consultant: Today’s Emerging Wedding Floral Designers
James DelPrince, AIFD, PFCI, Mississippi State University, Biloxi
You’ve grown it, with all the science, luck and love from your heart, now a bride wants you to arrange and deliver it.  You are not only a grower any more, you are a florist in the 19th and 20th century sense of the word, “a producer of cut flowers and ornamentals who arranges flowers for occasions.” Are you ready to be not only a horticulture scientist, but a horticulture artist as well -  a floral designer?  If so, great, but do not be a “starving artist”! 

Many growers have an affinity for design, but do not possess the critical feature for success: sales skill. In this program, learn techniques to guide brides (and their mothers) toward win-win wedding florals showcasing your gorgeous plant materials and style, and make the bride want what you offer, not the misinformation and hollow dreams of pure social media. Learn some great techniques in floral designing with a live demonstration of wedding flowers.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.      Lunch on your own

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.        
Floral Artistry for the Grower
Rita Anders, Cuts of Color, Wiemar, Texas

What’s the best way to work with brides? What about cooperating with other vendors, event planners, and venue managers? Wouldn’t you love a wedding worksheet that lays everything out for you? Rita will share hers with you, along with her favorite farm-grown flower varieties for boutonnieres, floral crowns, and wrist corsages. Her session will include a construction of a bridal bouquet; with 45 weddings in 2015 under her belt, you know it will be beautiful!

Meet the Speakers

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