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Workshop to Focus on Growing Cut Flowers for Market

If you want to turn your passion for growing flowers into a small business, an upcoming workshop might be a good next step.

The Wisconsin School for Cut Flower Growers is a two-day workshop designed to help new and beginning growers learn how to start a cut flower business, grow flowers using organic and sustainable production practices, and market cut flowers.

This workshop will be held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on the weekend of Feb. 3-4. A fee of $175 covers registration, lunches and refreshments. Enrollment is limited, so early registration is strongly recommended.

“This far exceeded anything I expected,” said a 2006 student. “What to grow, how to grow, when to cut, how to market – everything was wonderful and well worth my weekend.”

The school will be taught by three experienced grower-instructors: third-generation flower grower Joe Schmitt, Rich Mansheim of Sandhill Farm, and Carol Larson of Sunborn Gardens and Fairfield Flowers. They will provide practical information on how to grow and sell flowers and manage a cut flower business.

The instructors will cover a range of topics including variety selection for farmers” markets, florists and other sales outlets, planting and harvesting methods, pest management, post-harvest handling and direct marketing. There will be opportunities to network with other growers and handle small tools at a show-and-tell table.

“The speakers brought a wealth of knowledge, great enthusiasm, humor, and a diversity of experience,” noted a past participant. “I especially enjoyed seeing and learning about the tools, gadgets and techniques used by the instructors, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow flower enthusiasts.”
Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, which has been helping people grow and market fresh produce since 1988. The 2007 School for Beginning Market Growers will be held January 19-21 on the UW-Madison campus.

Both schools are sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and are open to the public. For more information about the Cut Flower Growers School or the School for Beginning Market Growers, contact John Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or jhendric@wisc.edu, or visit the CIAS web site: www.cias.wisc.edu.