Episode 2: Lisa Ziegler | Expert Cut Flower Gardener | Newport News, Virginia
Lisa Ziegler, a home gardener turned cut-flower grower began growing field-grown cut flowers in 1998 on less than 1 acre in Newport News, Virginia. In 2010 Lisa’s garden grew into a farm, now close to 4 acres. During the growing season, this farm yields over 8000-10,000 stems of flowers each week. Her flowers are sold to upscale florists, at Farmer’s Markets and through her programs “Friday Flowers Garden Share” and “Subscription Drop-off” that are in their 9th year.
Her newest book Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques which just came out in Sept. 2014 teaches how to grow a low-maintenance, vibrant spring flower garden that keeps on blooming when the “tender annuals” are dead and gone.
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
As an adult, purchased home with no sunlight that had an oak tree canopy. Lisa went to the garden center where they taught her how to work with shade plants.
What does organic gardening/earth friendly mean to you?
As a commercial farmer have a deeper view…started in 1998 but wasn’t organic…
Who or what inspired u to start using organic techniques?
Took a master gardener class
How did you learn how to garden organically?
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
3+ acres surrounded by residential 1½ in working cutting garden- ⅔ producing at same time
season May-Sept/Oct. produce @ 10K stems per week.
Lisianthus – July and August – hottest time of year white, purple, and pink
plants for sale are harder to come by
Is there something you would do different next year?
Didn’t want to wait for soil to be dry enough
Eating or harvesting vegetables or fruit on time?
Harvest 3 times a week, written in stone. Make a date with your garden that you are going to pick and harvest every week….Once you get on a schedule you learn to love it…and it becomes a whole different thing…
On deadheading: the reason a plant blooms is to make seed…message to plant we need to make some seed so you better send some more flowers up…
Do you have any special techniques for cooking weird or unusual foods?
Eggplant pignon? Long skinny eggplant like a hot dog…easy to grill
A favorite recipe you like to cook from your garden?
Drain Tomatoes really really well. Make a topping a cup of onions, mayonaise and a cup of shredded cheese and mix together and smear on top…bake for about an hour and then let is stand for a while.
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.
A favorite internet resource?
our website…other private gardeners…
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend for our listeners?
Good Bug/Bad Bug by Jessica Walsler
Grow Organic by Doug Oster and Jessica Walsler
If you have a business to you have any advice for our listeners about how to sell extra produce or get started in the industry?
Opportunities are wide and far…
Cut Flower Growing – Association of Cut Flowers
Chat rooms on Facebook.
Only had an acre and ¼ a few years ago. 2 ¼ acre gardens produced 4000 stems not long ago…
To connect with Lisa visit her website at the Gardeners Workshop
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