Factors to consider before starting a small scale flower farming
In the past, flower farming was preserved for large scale farmers based in Naivasha and northwest of Nairobi. This has changed as small scale farmers have started practising the profitable farming business. Small scale farmers are earning income by growing summer flowers that can be used to blend with other flowers for a perfect bouquet.
Summer flowers mainly grown by small scale farmers include arabicum, ammi, eryngium, tuberose, onis and craspedia.
Farmers should consider the following factors before starting the flower growing business,
In case you want to grow them in your greenhouse you need to ensure the source of light will be enough for your flowers. Different flowers require different variations of sunlight. Amazon lilies require a maximum of 8 hours of sunlight while roses require a lot of sunlight.
Ensure the location of the garden is favourable for the type of flowers you wish to grow.
The amount of water required by flowers goes hand in hand with the amount of sunlight it gets and the type of flowers you decide to grow. To achieve fresh foliage and continued blossoms, regulate the amount of water supply required according to different flowers varieties. Flowers like Chinese hibiscus, orchids and African violets thrive in humid areas.
Flowers will grow at an optimum temperature of 70 degrees. This may vary with different varieties of flowers and also the amount of sunlight they receive.
Flowers require nitrogen for healthy foliage, phosphorus to stimulate root systems and potassium nutrients that aid in flower formation. Before adding any extra nutrients a farmer should perform a soil test to determine nutrients available in the soil.
You can also add organic fertiliser as they are toxic to beneficial insects, remain active for a long period and strengthen the plants' immune system.
According to Nelson Maina, an agronomist with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization, farmers should look be on the lookout for heavy rains or excess watering as this can lead to huge losses.
Flower farming is more profitable when grown under a greenhouse as you can be able to control all factors required for their growth.
Flowers help attract predators that will help reduce pest invasion in your garden. Flower plants like sweet peas, lupine, woad, broom and wisteria fix nitrogen into the soil hence improving its fertility.
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