Daylilies forum: Starting the farm...

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TheChateau
Apr 28, 2020 10:51 AM CST
My wife and I have a vision to convert 3-4 acres of our land into a small flower farm. Mostly for visual purposes and our bee hives, but also for the fun and small business reasons. The flowers would complement the 4 acre orchard that we have already started. I'd be ecstatic to be breaking even after 4-5 years. We both enjoy working outdoors and have hired help when needed for big projects around the place.

We have tried and failed on lavender over 3 seasons. Even the hardiest varieties won't reliably survive our 5B Nebraska winter given our local conditions (rich soil and in a valley so 5-10 degrees colder in the winter). We have tried amending soil, mulch, etc. No luck.

Our daylilies on the other hand grow like weeds with very little attention. So we have decided to not fight nature and go with daylilies! We are going all-in with 4-5 rows x 300 plants/each to start with. I'm thinking weed fabric plus 2" of mulch for weed control, plus 5' of grass between rows for easy Polaris and water trailer access.

Several questions:
1. Are there any 'local' or regional experts that we could go to for advice? Consultant type, for a site visit, etc.
2. We would eventually like to sell them, so what types and how many of each would one recommend?
3. Potential sources to get 1200-1500 fans without having to split up the order into too many pieces.

My wife is the expert, so hopefully I don't sound too novice. Thanks for the advice!
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Daylilies Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Region: Alabama
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Seedfork
Apr 28, 2020 11:06 AM CST
TheChateau
Welcome to the forum and I hope you get some good responses. Sounds like a great dream and an interesting project. Hope you will include us in the progress with reports and photos along the way!
Hopefully some of the pros who actually do sales will join in. Heck, they could be your source of plants to get started, sounds like a big order coming up for somebody!
Name: Diana
Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Region: Nebraska Organic Gardener Dog Lover Bookworm
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ShakespearesGarden
Apr 28, 2020 3:05 PM CST
@TheChateau
Welcome to the forum from another Nebraskan : )
1. I don't have a great answer for your first Q- I'd start with the UNL extension for a soil test and go from there. This site is an invaluable resource for daylily info, growing conditions, etc. Also, look into joining the Nebraska Daylily Society- tons of members who will share info about daylilies.
2. The types are completely up to you. I'd advise a range of scape heights, bloom sizes, and flower colors. And have a mix of older and newer varieties.
3. I'm not sure you're going to have luck buying 100's fans from any one place. Additionally, if you're growing the exact same catalog as an online retailer- you may not get as much business (or you will have to cut prices).
4. Hi! I'm your "local" competition, lol. I grow about 170 registered varieties, plus seedlings, both my own crosses and seeds I've purchased.

Feel free to tree-mail with any questions. You've got an open invite to my garden walk this summer. I'd be glad to show you around and answer whatever questions you might have.

Bravery is not being unafraid. Bravery is being afraid and living life anyways.
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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kousa
Apr 28, 2020 3:15 PM CST
Are you in zone 5? Sounds like your area's weather quite harsh. Some daylilies are not hardy. You may wish to start with dormants first or buy from those who grow daylilies in a cold zone like yours. There's a vendor who needs to downsize her business. You should check her out. She's in New York and she sends fantastic plants and currently for half off. Maybe she can give you even a better deal. Her name is Melanie Mason of Longlesson Farm. This is her website address:

http://longlesson.com/index.ph...
Name: Roger & Karen
Birmingham, Al (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Alabama Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Seed Starter
Diggerofdirt
Apr 28, 2020 5:27 PM CST
Welcome! and welcome to the addiction. No advice for your zone but good luck and welcome again to the enabling place. A great group of people for advice and opinions and we all love pictures so please share progress.
Every home needs a daylily, and every daylily needs a home.

TheChateau
Apr 28, 2020 7:33 PM CST
ShakespearesGarden said:@TheChateau
Welcome to the forum from another Nebraskan : )
1. I don't have a great answer for your first Q- I'd start with the UNL extension for a soil test and go from there. This site is an invaluable resource for daylily info, growing conditions, etc. Also, look into joining the Nebraska Daylily Society- tons of members who will share info about daylilies.
2. The types are completely up to you. I'd advise a range of scape heights, bloom sizes, and flower colors. And have a mix of older and newer varieties.
3. I'm not sure you're going to have luck buying 100's fans from any one place. Additionally, if you're growing the exact same catalog as an online retailer- you may not get as much business (or you will have to cut prices).
4. Hi! I'm your "local" competition, lol. I grow about 170 registered varieties, plus seedlings, both my own crosses and seeds I've purchased.

Feel free to tree-mail with any questions. You've got an open invite to my garden walk this summer. I'd be glad to show you around and answer whatever questions you might have.



Thanks!! Once we figure out tree-mail will do that! We are friendly competition btw. :)


TheChateau
Apr 28, 2020 7:36 PM CST
[quote="kousa"]Are you in zone 5? Sounds like your area's weather quite harsh. Some daylilies are not hardy. You may wish to start with dormants first or buy from those who grow daylilies in a cold zone like yours. There's a vendor who needs to downsize her business. You should check her out. She's in New York and she sends fantastic plants and currently for half off. Maybe she can give you even a better deal. Her name is Melanie Mason of Longlesson Farm. This is her

Yes, we are zone 5. Thanks for the advice and the lead! We have reached out to her.
Name: Kenny Shively
Rineyville, KY. region 10. (Zone 6b)
Daylilies Hybridizer Region: Kentucky
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kennysh
Apr 29, 2020 5:44 AM CST
Welcome and good luck. Keep us informed on how it'should going. Welcome! Hurray!

Wildbirds
Apr 29, 2020 11:38 AM CST
Another consideration - I didn't see any mention of this aspect ... Bloom timing ....
You should include a range of Extra Early (EE) + Early (E) + Early-Middle (EM) + Middle (M) + Mid-Late (ML) + Late (L) + Very Late (VL) blooming cultivars. (For visitors/customers you will want to have daylilies in bloom somewhere in your beds at all times from June through to September.)
Note that EM & M will likely make up the larger part as they are the most numerous grouping of registrations. Also, actual timing of bloom in any given area can be influenced by other localized factors besides the determination of the person who registered/introduced the cultivar.

As advised here by others, check with breeders & growers in your area. They are best suited to consult with as to how a specific cultivar actually performs in your region. A cultivar registered as EE might bloom routinely & predictably as E or even EM in another area.

For reference/research, there are at least two websites of daylily nurseries that explain 'Bloom Timing' extraordinarily well (I expect there are others I'm NOT yet aware of.) (1) Olallie's in Vermont & (2) (Especially) Bloomingfield Farm in Connecticut.

Lastly, if your market will consist of what I label 'routine perennial gardeners', or 'yard-decorators' (As compared to daylily focussed enthusiasts) you might want to also consider reblooming (RE) & Instant reblooming (IRE) & perhaps even continuous rebloomers (CRE) cultivars .... Keep in mind that there is controversy about these descriptive labels. Also a cultivar that is a reliable rebloomer in one area may seldom - or perhaps never rebloom in another. Once again, local breeders, growers, & daylily club members are the best source of info regarding which cultivars will work best for you in your specific area and circumstances.

Best of luck with your new endeavour.

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