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The Joy of the Tiny Cutting Garden

by | May 28, 2019

Beanry's Giant Zinnias and Basil

Zinnias are the all-time favorite summer cut flower.

Think you have no space for a cutting garden or it’s to late to plant? Think again. I’m sharing some facts about the home cutting garden. It is smaller than you think at 3’ x 10’ or smaller and depending on where you garden, you can plant a warm-season cutting garden up until mid-summer.

This time of year I’m hearing from folks that they don’t have space for a cutting garden or the most common, I never got my cutting garden planted. Here’s the good news– having a small, even tiny cutting garden is the road to success and depending on your first expected fall frost, it is most likely not to late to plant your cutting garden.

Sunflowers never seem to go out of style.

Beautiful Pro-Cut Orange Sunflowers make excellent cut flowers.

Actually having little space may just have you closer to success than those that have lots of space. Why? Because this garden, when treated like a cutting garden, produces so many more flowers than people expect, that they tend to make the garden to big. Bigger leads to more garden than needed, which means more chores and literally too many flowers. This life cycle starts the sad story of not cutting the garden as needed and the decline of the cutting garden begins.

Here’s the thing: the more you harvest cutting garden flowers the more they bloom. Add to that the flowers will last longer because they came fresh from your garden–right? So, as you begin harvesting, your home starts to fill up with flowers–a good thing. Until the flowers keep coming and coming and lasting a really long time.

Here’s the problem: All the sudden you start to consider skipping harvesting because you already have so many flowers. This is the beginning of the end of a cutting garden. When the garden is small–I know many that have a 3’ x 5’ garden–you harvest the stuffings out of it and that is exactly what it takes to keep the cutting garden healthy and producing non-stop.

When is it too late to plant? Here in southeastern Virginia, our first expected fall frost is mid-November. We plant our last plantings of warm-season annuals 4 months or 16 weeks or 112 days before that date. For me the last planting date is mid-July. Find out the last expected frost date for your area on this link to the Farmer’s Almanac count back 16 weeks and that is your last planting date for warm-season annuals. The really good news is if it is to late—then it is time to start cool-season hardy annuals for you!!

Here’s a bonus: Consider planting a small cutting garden this summer. This group of flowers, known as warm-season tender annuals thrive in hot conditions. You can start the seeds of these flowers indoors as I do or you can plant outdoors in the garden–if you keep them moist for good sprouting.  As the summer heats up, this garden pumps out the blooms.

Resources: I’ve put together my favorite warm-season cutting garden flower seeds in a Collection that comes with a planting diagram and instructions for a 3′ x 10′ cutting garden. Want to learn more about planting a cutting garden? My online course The Easy Cut Flower Garden is a 80 minute course that includes all you need from building and preparing the bed to harvesting the flowers.

Hope you indulge in a cutting garden!

– Lisa

Founder of The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online. Award-winning Author of Vegetables Love Flowers, and Cool Flowers. Watch Lisa’s Story and view her blog Field & Garden. Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Instagram!