Row by Row Episode 11: Our Favorite Varieties of Cut Flowers for Your Vegetable Garden

Cut Flowers in the Garden

On this week’s episode, Greg and Travis talk about growing cut flowers in their vegetable garden. Growing cut flowers provides many benefits, but the primary benefit is to attract pollinators for crops that require insect pollination to produce fruit. These crops would include things like squash, cucumbers, and melons. Greg says the “The Flower Farmer” book really helped him understand cut flowers. Another great book that Greg recommends is “Vegetables Love Flowers”. Their favorite types of cut flowers to grow are zinnias, sunflowers, and Celosia, also known as cockscomb. They prefer the Benary’s Giant Mix variety of zinnias because they produce larger flowers and have a wide variety of colors present. Their favorite variety of sunflower is the Pro Cut variety, which is available in many different colors including red, orange and lemon. These have a smaller seed than a traditional sunflower and are the preferred variety for commercial producers. They work perfectly planted in our garden seeder. Greg mentions how they also make a great cover crop because they will shade the soil and reduce any weed growth. Another benefit they offer is they are pollenless meaning when you cut them they do not drip yellow pollen everywhere. Lastly, they talk about growing Celosia. Their favorite variety of Celosia is Chief Mix, which provides an array of different colors. Cockscomb flowers can get quite large and top heavy so these plants may need trellising or early harvesting to prevent stalks from bending or breaking. One advantage is they are really easy to grow and heat/drought tolerant. However, a disadvantage is they can become invasive and grow year after year which is not good in the vegetable garden. Greg mentions that he likes to grow dahlias, but he does not recommend them for someone just starting out growing cut flowers in the garden.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys talk about growing potatoes in the fall. This will be the first year that they’ve tried growing potatoes in the fall. Based on the information provided by Greg at Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, it should work. They are planning to plant the potatoes at the end of August for an October harvest. They will be ordering the seed potatoes now and keeping them cool in the fridge until planting time. Based on the limited availability of seed potatoes during this time of year, they will be planting the Yukon Gold variety only. The guys also plan to plant some potatoes at the demonstration garden at the SunBelt Expo this year. The tool of the week is a newer product that they are designing called the Winged Sweeps attachment that will work great on the Hoss Wheel Hoes.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about planting corn in the fall and Asian stink bugs. The guys grew fall corn last year at their demonstration garden for the Sunbelt Ag Expo and had great success. The insect pressure is heavier in late summer and fall, so more frequent applications of B.t. and Neem Oil are necessary. Also, providing adequate water via drip irrigation is a must. Greg mentions that they see many different variations of stink bugs and that they can be hard to control in the middle of summer. As a result, he tries to manage the populations with frequent spraying early in the year. This allows him to get the spring crops harvested before significant insect damage occurs. Greg says keeping the garden clean and neat after harvest will help reduce the stink bugs food source.

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