- Miscellaneous: cut flowers
- Energy: solar energy
- Natural Resources/Environment: water conservation
- Production Systems: Sustainable floristry
No water, no power, no problem! Small scale cut flower production can be a profitable use of small plots such as city yards, undeveloped or abandoned lots and rural residential land lacking farm infrastructure. Common challenges on these types of plots are poor soil, no water and no electric. Cut flowers can be grown with annual precipitation alone, however, having consistent germination and yields is much more challenging and unpredictable. Consistent irrigation and high organic matter soil provide higher yields, better germination, better transplant survival and superior blooms.
We will use rain catchment to stockpile water for dryer months. Solar powered drip irrigation will deliver stockpiled water in consistent amounts throughout dryer months. Soil amended with high amounts of organic matter will help retain water and increase fertility. And the use of silage tarps and reusable plastic weed barrier will suppress weeds, retain moisture and help protect soil from erosion.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Demonstrate that solar powered drip irrigation is viable
- Demonstrate that rain catchment is a viable irrigation strategy for small scale cut flower production
- Demonstrate that intensive flower production does not have to intensively impact top soil, water resources or the electric grid
- Provide a “blue print” or “road map” that will allow farmers to convert poor and unimproved land to profitable and scalable flower production by replicating our findings and method.