- Additional Plants: other
- Crop Production: low tunnels, water management
Water is a limited resource in the drought prone US West. Although peonies use relativity less water than most cut flower crops once they are established, they still require consistent watering to produce new eyes and good bloom size. Shade cloth has been shown to reduce water needs in crops like fruits and vegetables (1).
Our project will test the use of shade cloth as a way of reducing the amount of water needed to establish our plants (planted fall 2021) while still producing comparable blooms to the control group being watered with one-inch of water per week.
Our farm is fortunate to be part of a large community of cut flower growers in our state (over 100). We feel that this project would be very beneficial to many of the new growers with 1 to 3 years experience (which is about 60-75% of the total growers). The new growers will be able to use this project's outcomes to help them establish their own peonies on their farms in a way that will use less water resources without sacrificing production.
Our farm is located close to the old railroad line. Kaysville used to have several peony farms and the railroad would pick up the flowers and take them in to the capital city of Salt Lake about 20 miles south. This project would help our community benefit from learning about flower farming, growing their own peonies and water conservation.
The project's information will be shared to members of the Utah Cut Flower Farm Association (UCFFA) via a Zoom webinar. UCFFA hosts monthly presenters who share information with the group that is relative to growing cut flower farms. We will be hosting a farm tour in the June of 2025 to share our project with the community.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Reduce the amount of water given to peony crops by half with the use of 50% shade cloth
- Record data of irrigation volume, soil moisture and compare bloom production and size to the control group
- Provide education to other growers in the US Mountain West by providing the data to growers though a Zoom presentation and social media
- Host a Farm tour to educate the public on the impact of water conservation through shade cloth usage.