My Favorite Supplies for Harvesting Cut Flowers

supplies for harvesting cut flowers

From early May to late October, harvesting cut flowers is a bi-weekly job on the farm. Especially during the summer months the days get hot quickly and time is of the essence, both for me and the flowers. I like to start harvesting first thing and wrap up before mid-day to beat the heat.  To make things flow smoothly I make sure that my supplies are on hand and ready to go ahead of time. Here's what I'm loading into the Gator ahead of a full day of harvesting cut flowers on the farm...

Essential Supplies for Harvesting Cut Flowers

Buckets. On my farm I use Koba cut flower buckets which I source from Nolt's Greenhouse supplies, tall cooler buckets and regular old 5-gallon buckets. It really doesn't matter what kind of buckets you use, but what does matter is that they're clean. My buckets are washed twice a week with water, a splash of bleach and elbow grease. Dirty water will kill your flowers like nothing else, so don't skip this step! 

Snips. Don't use kitchen shears, craft scissors or pruners. When you're cutting a large volume of flowers you need sharp, lightweight snips that won't hurt your hands. Some farmers use knives but I've always been partial to snips. On the farm I use the Corona snips for big cutting days and these floral snips for smaller jobs. Whatever you're using, make sure to keep them sharpened. Dull snips will smash the stem, causing the flower to take in less water (and wasting your time). I use this sharpener

Rubber Bands. The number of rubber bands I go through in a year is insane, but they're an essential part of this business. I use the 33 size rubber bands and have them set to auto ship so I never run out! For most of the summer, a stack of rubber bands on my wrist is my most-worn accessory. 

Floral Preservative. Especially when cutting 'dirty' flowers like zinnias and sunflowers, adding a CVBN tab to the water helps to prolong the lift of our blooms. These tabs are a chlorine product that helps to keep the water clean which means that my fresh-cut flowers can drink enough. Once the buckets arrive back to the cooler, I add a t-bag which is basically a holding solution that helps to extend the life of cut flowers. 

These four items are the 'essentials', and it would be hard to harvest cut flowers without any of them. But a few bonus supplies that I also recommend having on hand when you're harvesting cut flowers...

Bonus Supplies for Harvesting Cut Flowers

Wheelbarrow/Wagon/Gator. When you start cutting a large volume of flowers and need to get them to the cooler ASAP, having a reliable, sturdy way to move them becomes essential. For the first two years I used a wagon or truckbed and now I use the Gator (my favorite farm equipment). 

Sun protection. Don't forget a good hat, sunscreen and shades. I've found that the back of my neck is often neglected and bending over the plants leaves that area exposed, so be sure you're covering everything! 

Gloves. Stripping stems can do a number on your hands, so keep a lightweight pair of glvoes on hand for harvest day, too. I alternate betwen this floral pair and this lightweight neoprene pair.

Bucket Caddy. A newer addition to my lineup, this bucket caddy makes it easier to keep everything on hand and ready to go, from my snips to garden tools and even my earbuds and water bottle. 

Camera. Some of the best shots from my fields happen on harvest day. There's nothing more exciting to customers than buckets packed to the brim with fresh-cut flowers. Hopping on stories or filming a quick reel is a nice break from cutting and gives your customers a little sneak peek of what's blooming! I share the 'behind the scenes' content at @hiddenspringsflowers.

Garden Apparel. Just like having the right shoes when you're headed out for a long run, wearing the clothes and shoes made specifically for working in the garden makes all the difference. You can find my favorite and most-worn garden apparel here!

Just getting started on your flower farming journey? If you're still working on exactly what to cut on harvest day, you can grab my FREE download: Top Cut Flowers for Beginners here. Now is the perfect time to start those summer annuals for a season full of bright, beautiful blooms!

 harvesting cut flowers zinnia

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