341. Vegtables Love Flowers | Lisa Ziegler Returns | Online Flower Farmer Courses You Will Love

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Links we talk about

Lisa’s Website

Full list of Online Courses

Jonathan & Megan Leiss: The No-Till Micro-Scale Flower Farm  – available anytime

Lisa Ziegler: Flower Farming School Online: The Basics, Annual Crops, Marketing, and More! – Registration Opens October 2020

Steve & Gretel Adams: Growing Cut-Flower Crops in Hoop and GreenhousesRegistration: November 16-20, 2020

Jennie Love: The Wedding Process Registration is only open October 1-5, 2020

Ellen Frost: Florist School Online: Growing Your Business with Local Flower

Vegetables Love Flowers- Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty

Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty

Welcome to the Green Organic Garden. It is Friday, August 21st, 2020.I have the most amazing guest on the line, she was guest number 2, she came back after that and today she is here to dazzle you after her 3rd book called Vegetables Love Flowers to here is Lisa Ziegler.

Thank you so much, Jackie. It is so my pleasure to be here and really, I do remember now that I was number two, that was a long time ago. Wasn’t it?

Welcome back, tell. I do have a lot of new listeners since December. And so tell them a little bit about you because maybe they haven’t heard much about you.

Urban Flower Farmer

Sure. Thanks. So I, if you can’t tell from my accent, I am kind of in the South, I’m on the coast of Virginia. I’m in Southeastern Virginia and I am an urban flower farmer.

My little three acre farm is right in the middle of the city. Literally I’m surrounded by 200,000 residents and my place. Although when I first, my first half of my career, I only had an acre and a quarter totally, including where my home was.That’s now up to almost three acres and I have no hoophouses.

Flower Farmer Book Lynn Byczynski

The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers


Everything I do is grown outdoors in a garden or a field. And, you know, I started farming in 1998, like so many other people after reading Lynn Byczynski’s book, the Flower Farmer and just hit the ground running because I’m such a follower, meaning I really followed her instructions. I think it helped me to be successful right out of the gate.

And when you’re successful out of the gate, it helps you just to keep on going after it, you know, not everybody is like us, Jackie, where you were talking about how you kept trying and trying with your podcast.

Some people just throw in the towel and I understand that, but then there’s people like me and you that just keep bulldoze and after it, and but for me in the flower farming, my first customer ever that I had just really took me under his wing and ushered me right into this business.

And then I just ran with it. And my business has really changed over the years.

I started teaching and doing lots of programs and speaking to groups and that led to a book deal. And then I started writing books and speaking even more and traveling.

And during that time I launched an online garden store called the Gardener’s workshop.com where I just sell the same tools and seeds and supplies that I actually use in my gardens and the same seed varieties.

We do not save seed. We just buy extra from the seed houses and package them with our instructions and offer those to our folks that are looking for great cut flower garden seeds.

And then about three years ago, I launched online courses. I built my own first course and it’s such an undertaking and needs such an admin support that I knew that I wanted to have higher level courses, you know, for people to be able to build their business.

And so I began publishing online courses for other flower farmers in the industry, people that I’ve connected with and known for years and know they’re awesome teachers and instructors, and wanted to publish kind of like being a book publisher. I just do it for online courses.

Flower Farmer and Florist Online courses

And that is just really mushroomed. And our business is now being built on, we are offering online courses that better to start businesses based on flowers, whether you’re want to be a flower farmer and build that business, a farmer florist.

Florist School Online

And now we’ve even offered have coming out this fall florist school online, which is all about a floor D design studio, Ellen Frost. And she only uses locally sourced flowers. So she’s like, it’s just amazing. So that’s been kind of how we’ve evolved through the years and it’s just pretty awesome.

I just absolutely love what I’m doing.

I love everything that you’re doing too. Like I laugh because you could see that we persevere, but like I have not persevered with my Lynn Byczynski dreams of becoming a flower farmer. I am totally struggling and I didn’t even know Any sunflowers this year. I’ve like less than a dozen sunflowers. And I just want to be a better, like, I just, I don’t know. Anyway, tell us about the courses.

0 (5m 42s):

Sure. So, so when it started out it’s to 2018 is when I launched the first course, which was flower farm in school. And that was my course. And it was all about, I understand the importance of people learn and how to start a business because what people don’t understand is every business is unique and it’s hard.

It’s hard because there’s a lot to do and learn. And flower farming is no exception to that. It’s not just about growing the flowers. You’ve got to get your business foundation set up. So I knew that was going to be a good part of my course.

Lisa Ziegler: Flower Farming School Online: The Basics, Annual Crops, Marketing, and More! – Registration Opens October 2020

And so my course, which is now referred to as flower farm in school, the basics annual crops marketing, and more really helps people to get all the nitty gritty of the business stuff out of the way. It’s so simple when you know what to do, you know, it’s like, yes, you need a business license. Yes, you have to charge sales tax. If your state requires it, and this is how you do it, and this is what you have, you have to have insurance.

Growing Annuals the Biggest Bang For Your Buck

And so it’s kinda like getting those things that people tend to put blinders on and don’t even want to look at, we get that out of the way. And then we go to town showing people how they can get into flower farming, growing annuals, which is the biggest bang for your buck and the easiest and the lowest investment to get in on and to make the most money.

Teach you how to sell and find customers

And so we kinda, I kind of immerse people in here. Let’s get you started, let’s get you growing flowers. Let’s teach you how to sell. Let’s find some customers learn how to harvest, learn how to run a farm and how you, the conditioning of the flowers, all those steps, you need to get your business rolling.

And then, okay, then let’s start adding some of these high value crops. And that’s when I asked Dave Dowling, if he would be interested in doing a course, cause he’s like a walking encyclopedia. If anybody doesn’t know Dave Dowling, he was, I’m a farmer for over 20 years.

President of the cut flower association for many years and other jobs. And he’s just a wealth of information and experience.

So he does a course called flower farmer school: bulbs, perennials, woodies, and more.

So he builds on what people have learned once they get their business started this fall, we’re adding yet another builder on that. And Steve and Gretel Adams of sunny meadow flower farms and from Ohio are actually doing a core of flower farming school course on growing cut flower crops in hoop and greenhouses.

Steve & Gretel Adams: Growing Cut-Flower Crops in Hoop and GreenhousesRegistration: November 16-20, 2020

And that’s going to be amazing. They’re full time farmers. It’s, they’re the sweetest cutest young couple ever, and they’re doing it! You know, they have 17 houses and they’re growing out in the field as well. And they have quite a business going.

So we kinda offer you every level. Some people don’t even ever want to go past the basic. They just want to grow some flowers, sell a few bouquets, add some money to the family coffers and go on. Other people are looking to ramp their business up and we’re trying to provide it all.

Then I started getting questions from our students saying, Hey, we want to do weddings. So I knew exactly the who I would ask if she was interested. And that was Jenny Love of Love’n Fresh Flowers, because she was like the industry leader in the farmer florist world. I mean, she was she’s in Philadelphia, she’s doing tons of big and small weddings, very experienced.

And her business savviness is amazing.

I mean, I’ve listened to her course several times, myself. She just has such, you just learned so much about organizing your business, whatever it is. So I knew that she would be a great addition to our lineup for people to be able to make the most money that you want to make from growing your own flowers, obviously doing events and doing the flowers for events, sorry, is the most dollar per stem that you can get.

Events is the most dollar per stem you can get.

And so I knew that was going to be a really great one. And, and then we added Ellen. I mentioned already the Florist School Online Ellen Frost for anybody that is not familiar with her, she’s in Baltimore. And she ends a design studio. It’s not a classic flower shop where you walk in to order flowers. She is got a design studio, which is really not open to the public where they do a lot of events, both weddings and those types of events.

But she also don’t know how quite, how to explain it.

But I say to folks, Ellen’s business model is what I think most people that want to get into the flower shop business think a flower shop is about, you know, she does events with her customers. They have flower book clubs, they have flower arranging war contests.

I mean, they just, she has built this amazing business, but she only uses flowers that are grown within a hundred miles of her shop year round.

And so her business model is just absolutely amazing!

And she is actually cultivated farmers and helped them because she needed them. And we’re really excited.

All of those classes, all the registrations typically are open once a year and all except Dave’s bald class, which they’re actually in school right now. All the registrations are open October 1st through 5th is my course. And Jenny Love’s farmer florist. And then mid-November, the registration is open for Farm in school, growing cut, flower crops and houses and florists school online. Both of those are mid November.

But anybody that has questions, they can go to the Gardener’s workshop.com and go to the online course page. All the courses are listed there and there’s even a little calendar you can click on at the top to kind of show you all the dates of when school runs and when registration opens.

Cause I know it’s very confusing, but that’s in a nutshell, that’s kind of all the different courses that we offer and they’re kind of rolled out because, you know, I found that, I don’t know, Jackie, have you ever taken an online course?

I love online school.

Yeah. I mean, so a lot of people, cause I didn’t know about online. I mean, I literally, this is so funny. I learned how to build online courses by taking an online course. And I was so nervous,

Did you take Amy Porterfield’s?

I did not, I took Teresa Loes? And I don’t, I’m not sure that she even does it anymore. Cause she’s now a big coach for CEOs, digital CEO. She is my business coach as well. And anyway, so I took her course and I didn’t, I didn’t know what to expect.

I couldn’t, I was so afraid when it started that I actually, cause I have, I mean I have a crew of folks that helped me in my business. I made a couple of them hanging out later that day to make sure I could figure out how to get on when the class started.

I mean, it was like, that’s how intimidated. I mean, people think I’m so competent, right? Don’t do me in technology. I mean, I’ve learned a lot, but anyway, so because there’s so many of us that haven’t done it. So I like to always explain of how it kinda works.

So first off the first thing people need to know about online courses when they buy them from us anyway, is that when you buy a course from us, you have access for your lifetime. It’s not like a onetime, just watch it and you’re done and you have to buy it again.

It’s just like buying a book. But instead of picking the book up, you log into your online course library and all of your classes, like if you bought, we have people that have bought multiple of our courses and when they go to their online library, all of those courses are right there for them.

And you can watch them as many times and as often as you would, like as well as there’s PDF downloads and there’s tons of resources. And so our schools, we sell two type types of courses.

The first is on demand courses

Those are the courses when you go to our page, it’s like, I think the first three or four, you can buy them anytime they’re shorter courses and you can buy them and watch them as much as you want the same as with our schools, then our school courses, registration and enrollment is only open once a year, typically for only five days. And then school starts about within a few weeks of registration. Then school, lasts six weeks.

And that means, let’s just say if school started today. So that meant this morning, when you got up, if you wanted to see school, you would log into your library. And lo and behold, there’s a bunch of videos loaded in there for you to watch as well as any resources.

And then you have all week to watch them. And then at the end of the week we offer, which I think is probably one of the, the most significant things that our students just really love is we offer live Q and A sessions where the students hookup with their instructor and ask questions after watching their videos.

And that happens every week with each new class for six weeks. And at the end of six weeks, your library is slammed full of a bunch of videos. We also record those live Q and A’s and those are actually put into your library.

So you can go back and watch them and something that is happening for my course currently, because we’re now getting ready. I’m in October, that’ll be my third class, the third year that I’ve done it. So the students this year will be able to watch both of the course, the course Q and A’s from the previous years.

So the content gets richer. You know what I mean? It’s like, because people ask great questions. And so I just really find that the content gets bigger and bigger as well as the instructors actually add additional content to their courses from year to year.

And even the past students get access to that. So if you bought it two years ago, last year, when I added stuff, the people from the year before get access, you know what I mean?

It’s all going into the same pot for everybody to look at. So we’re excited this year, we’re adding some really awesome new stuff to my course, one of them being, I think it’s such a great opportunity, especially for starting out farmers, we’re offering a photo library.

That means that we’re going to give you photos of different zinnias of different sunflowers so that if you’re building your first website, you know, you’re just starting your business and you don’t have, I mean, that’s a complaint that we hear from people.

It’s like, Oh my gosh, when I first started my show, I was like, maybe I could put like a stock library cause I have so many thousands of pictures and that could be like my free thing for people, like way back I always thought that then that’s really a thing. I never did it. I should have done it.

Flower Photo Library

No, but it’s so much more, I mean, as everything is, you have to have a platform to put them on that people can get it from, I mean it’s yeah. So anyway, so we are adding a flower library for our students to use, to help them get started, to promote themselves and to show their customers, you know what their growing, and we’re doing some marketing sessions and building emails.

And you know, with the COVID pandemic, Jenny Love just added an amazing four video bonus series to her course, which were actually people can request it and she all has been offering it and she will for the next couple of weeks offering it free to anybody that wants to watch it.

And it’s about how, you know, she’s, I mean, she does like big high dollar weddings. And when the, the virus broke out her business, I mean they all, they all canceled literally, I mean like a week she just watched her business evaporate as every other event florist had happened.

And so these sessions are about how she has pivoted and what she’s doing differently. And so we’re trying to add to our courses what to do. I mean, this is a horrible thing, the pandemic, right.

But stuff like this happens in business and you have to have tools to use, to manage and to get through it.

And so we’re adding information to our courses to help people, even through this, you know, troubling time.

Oh my gosh. Right before, like I was pulling in the driveway and I got an email from a parent, I had one of my students last year who started a wedding business this year. Like they have bought this place that they thought was going to be a farm.

And then I don’t know, somehow, like everybody loved the, and people wanted to have weddings there and she ended up, she was booked for this entire summer. It’s her first summer.

And she said at the beginning it was horrible. And now at least they’re having a few weddings, but it’s very limited people and the cleaning and she’s like, Oh my gosh, I am so exhausted, but she’s young.

And they’re pivoting. She also like when it first happened and they didn’t know, she bought like dozens of ’em, like her goal. She, she went to school for animal agriculture, you know, she wanted to like have like, they bought it to be a cattle ranch, I think, and ended up with this wedding business this year.

So in the beginning of the, when school first got out, she was like, they were like, she’s like constantly missing their kids missing the Hangouts. Cause they’re going to get 120 pheasants and 20, you know, 50 ducks.

And like they, they must have got 200 chickens ducks and they were going to do it organic. Plus she still had the wedding.

Oh, I just people who can pivot. But what, the only thing I was going to say, so I’ve been listening to Jesse Frost’s podcast, you know, for the farmers. And he just had these people on talking about the biggest thing to their success was doing an incubator year

and having an incubator year because they worked at this incubator farm and learned all the businesses and got all their marketing and all the things that you’re teaching in practice at this already established farm net.

And then they’re in their third year, but she said, but then to go to their first year at their actual own property and they had so many of those pieces already in place that they could focus on building the infrastructure, but trying to build the infrastructure and learn the marketing end. Everything that you’re talking about that you teach in one year by themselves would have been so hard.

So I think this is awesome. I love your six year. I want to call like ask you like maybe sometime when you’re not like super busy, if you could look at my course and give me some advice, because I came out with a six week course called the organic Oasis masterclass and I just have not had any luck getting people to sign up.

And then I was thinking, well, maybe it’s cause it’s six weeks and it’s too long, but maybe not. I don’t know,

Take it. It’s very deep. That’s why I have five people that do admin on my courses. It’s big business. I mean, meaning that it’s a lot of work to do all that needs to be done. I mean, we’re all right there answering emails every day from students helping them with troubles.

I mean tech stuff and yeah, it’s very, it’s like going to college. Well, it’s different. I mean, it’s busy. I mean, it’s people just think, Oh, you do it and put it online.

Well, it’s huge to market it. And then you have to support the platform and people have troubles. And anyway, so yeah, it’s crazy.

Well, I love all these classes. It’s so exciting! And I think like it’s key if you’re going to be successful. And like, so I’m the kind of person you were talking about in the beginning. Maybe that just like wants to maybe take a few bouquets to the farmer’s market or do some little stuff or, Oh, did I lose you or ideally I want to just paint bouquets, but I love like, I just want to have more flowers.

So like what kind of tips do you have for like people like me who maybe, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go to market, but

You don’t have to first off, we have a lot of people that take our class, my class PA, and Dave’s really that are just avid gardeners. People that want to ramp up their garden and game.

However, we do have, I do have an on demand course on my, the Gardener’s workshop.com called the easy cut flower garden.

And it’s really about having a really small cutting garden and how to maintain it, meaning to keep it producing lots of flowers all the time from the beginning to the end of the season.

And when you add cool flowers into that, which is the cool season, growing flowers, you can really have flowers for a really long time.

Nobody is you don’t have to make this into a business. You know, you can grow flowers for your own personal enjoyment. You know how many people we have that have gone through our school that are like growing flowers for like you’re talking about.

  • one lady is in a painting club.
  • Another person provides flowers for her church.
  • Other people just give flowers away or
  • they just cut them, enjoy them and compost.

The Problem is People Grow too Big of a Garden

So, but you, the problem is people grow too big of a garden. So my number one tip is to start very small, but easy cut flower garden is literally based on a three by 10, three feet by 10 feet garden. And that gives one to two handfuls of flowers a week.

When you plant it with cutting gardens, the recommendation of cutting garden flowers, and then take care of it and treat it like a cutting garden and people that’s what Bates people into wanting to grow more because they can’t believe how much it produces from that little spot.

And it’s so, I mean, who can’t take care of a 3 by 10 spot? You know what I mean? It takes minutes every week, literally.

And so you don’t have to go big. So we have classes for gardeners and for people that want to build businesses.Awesome. I ought to check that out more, starting with a 3 by 10?

Maybe that’s my problem. I always try to go too big and I’m horrible at trying to take care of anything. Cause my biggest struggle is always watering and watering all the time.

What about like, if people like me who also want to grow them for like the bees or for like the vegetables, like your book, Vegetables Love Flowers , like isn’t there a point of like growing flowers just because it will help your neighborhood if you have a vegetable garden?

Vegetables Love Flowers is not really about vegetables. It’s about how flowers benefit vegetables. So the book is really about growing flowers, but it offers the tidbits of why you should grow flowers in your vegetable garden.

First and foremost is without a flower there’s nothing, you know, there’s nothing for pollinators. There’s I mean, all of the beneficial insects and creatures and all the bees, native bees, they all need flowers.

Nature’s Workforce

So without them, there’s no reason for any of those creatures to be in or live or visit in your garden. Nature’s workforce is far more powerful than anything we can reckoned with and it is much more efficient. It does a much better job.

It works 24 seven where you can’t and the number of vegetable gardens that, especially when I was writing that book, it was so interesting to me, how many men I don’t want to pick on guys, but I’m thinking of old retired guys of which my husband is like in that group, so I can say this.

That had these immaculate amazing vegetable gardens, but yet they’re still, you know, they’re like thinking organic is crazy. There’s no way I could grow without using products is what they’re saying.

And I go to their gardens and it’s like, there’s not a flower there’s lawn and there’s a vegetable garden plopped in the middle of it. And I say to them, I mean, why in the, would a bee or any beneficial creature even come this way?

Yes, your vegetables do bloom, but not nearly enough to attract and sustain these creatures come in and stay in your garden. So flowers are an essential piece of the organic system that the world was based on.

And if you want to keep that system going, you have to have a constant flow of flowers.

And the only way to do that, that’s why vegetables, love flowers is a perfect book because it’s all about why you should put a cutting garden in the midst of your vegetable patch.

Vegetables Love Flowers- Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty

Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty

Because when you treat a flower garden, like a cutting garden, that means you’re constantly harvesting and cutting it, which means the plants are constantly regrown and bringing up new flowers. And so, because here’s the classic story that I hear. Well, I planted marigolds. Once I put, I said, well, how big is your garden?

Oh, like 50 by 20 big, that’s a big garden. I said, Oh you did. And they said Jack, but one pot of Mary Golden, but like three or four weeks, the blooms were gone. You know, it’s like in spring when everybody’s pumped to grow people, plant a few flowers and then they just leave them.

And that’s the end of the story because they get consumed with their vegetables. But in fact, by putting a small cutting garden in the midst of your vegetable garden and tendon it alongside your vegetables and cutting the flowers, which makes the plants constantly reproduce.

There’s plenty for you. Plenty for the bees. You’re not leaving flowers in the garden. You’re cutting constantly cutting the garden clean, but there’s always new flowers coming along. And, and it just is the basis of an organic garden. You can basically not organic garden truly.

Cause we use no products. We don’t even use organic products in our farm. I mean, we use organic fertilizer, but we don’t use organic pesticides at all. And so, and we don’t find it necessary and we grow perfect blossoms without it. So flowers are at the root of everything.

I bought some nematode yesterday. Do you use nematodes? I feel like I hear everybody talking about adding.

No, I don’t

Go ahead.

No. As I say, we pretty much don’t use anything. I mean, we take care of our soil and build it and add a lot tons of stuff and do soil tests every year to make sure it’s balance and grow lots of flowers and anything.

That is a real pest problem. We don’t grow those types of things. And so we just, we, I haven’t faced a problem to need to get nematodes, but no, I, we, I’ve never done that.

Cool. Well, we haven’t either. Mike’s like, what are you buying and what do you want to do with it? But I feel like all these soil keep telling me, that’s what I should do. No. As a matter of fact, I’m struggling to be like, to get them to be like, give me a, like a actual, well, one person I talked to she’s like, well go to the box arena that store near you.

And I was like, but I want to place the order them online. She’s like, well just go to Amazon. Any of those will be fine. And so then I went to the box of rain store yesterday and finally bought them there.

But I’m just curious about like, I don’t know, you know, like that’s kind of how I I’m like nervous about putting something into the system. That’s never been there before.

Mike feels like we’ve always been super productive, but also like I might, keel is covered in bugs and I, I don’t care, but I feel like if I was ever going to try to sell that kale, I can’t have these bug bites. Like there, I do not really have a leaf of kale that doesn’t have bug bites.

Well, but nematodes, isn’t going to help that. And that’s why we use row cover. I mean, you protect your crops from the past. That’s a pretty basic organic step in protecting all the brassicas, all the, you know,

Anything that gets those, you know, the moth light lays eggs on your kale. And then the babies are born in their caterpillars and that’s, what’s putting holes in your leaves probably. And that would be, you know, you can use BT, but that’s not even necessary. So we row cover to prevent that whole process from happening.

Okay. And when you say row cover, like from like the day I put the seeds in the ground, I would have had row cover over it the whole time. It’s too late to put the row cover over it now.

Correct. You’ve already got the bugs.

Okay. All right. Well, I have row cover because of you because you told me what to buy and where to get it. And I got it and I even have a protected in special cans now, finally, and yeah.

Well, anything else you want to share with us? This has been awesome.

Well thanks. Yeah. I mean, they can just, they can find me. I mean, I’d love to connect with folks on Facebook and Instagram Gardener’s Workshop Farm, and I do lots of live broadcast.

That’s the way people can ask me questions and connect with me directly. And you know, the Gardenersworkshop.com is where it’s at and we’re actually launching a podcast. We’ll be coming out later this year,

You are? YEAH!!! awesome!

At field and garden, which is the name of my blog. And we’re just adding another component and really going to do a lot of talking about business and farm business and, you know, just really to support our students even in another way. And so it’s pretty exciting stuff.

And we actually are in the midst of moving everybody else’s downstairs, we just moved up, bought a commercial building to move our warehouse, our fulfillment center for an online garden store off of the farm because it’s kind of like growing out of its. And so we just have a lot of exciting stuff going on and I’m actually going to be doing a Facebook live, I do on Fridays called “Meet me on the porch. “I’ll be doing at four o’clock I’m on most days. It does change the time on Fridays anyway. So it’s a lot of fun. I love connecting with our people, the gardeners and farmers.

And you are just a wealth of knowledge. And thank you so much for sharing everything with us today!

My pleasure. Thank you for having me. 



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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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