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The No-Till Flowers Podcast

Feb 16, 2024

There are some incredible nuggets of pure gold in this episode.  You will definitely want to have a pen and paper handy! 

Joining me today is Dr. John Dole, cut flower researcher and professor at North Carolina State University.  As you’ll hear in the episode, John has been immersed in flowers since he was just 8 years old, planting gladiolas at a neighbor’s farm in Michigan.  Over the decades, he’s been a keystone leader for the floral industry, serving farmers and florists alike with his valuable research projects. 

John is well known for his work with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, which is where I met him years ago.  My friendship with John is an example of how priceless a membership in the Association can be.  If you are not already a member of the ASCFG, you’ll want to click the link above right now to join.  While John and I were talking here for the podcast, I was reminded how much I have learned over the years from him and others who have generously shared their knowledge through the ASCFG. 

For flower farmers, John, along with his posse of awesome graduate students, has done a lot of studies on what we call "post harvest handling" of cut flowers.  Basically, what are the best practices growers can implement after harvesting to get the longest vase life out of their crops.  You can be a dynamite grower, but if you don’t know how to handle your flowers after they’re picked, you won’t have happy customers or a sustainable business. 

In this episode, John and I talk about a handful of key crops and how to handle them after harvest.  You are going to be shocked by what he has to say about storing peonies and tulips!  For peonies, the ideal temperature for dry storage is 31F, for up to 16 weeks.  For tulips, leave the bulb on and dry store at 31F for up to 8 weeks.  

We also go down a rabbit hole about water quality and flower food.  To be honest, I hadn’t planned to pick John’s brain about those, but I’m so glad the topic came up because it was really informative!  I’ve long been anxious about using flower food and holding solutions because there are no organic certified options on the market.  I assumed they were full of harsh chemicals that I wouldn’t want to dump out into my farm’s ecosystem.  John sheds some light on this subject and I think you’ll find it reassuring to hear. 

Some useful resources related to this episode:

Chrysal (post-harvest flower products)

Waypoint Labs (for water testing)

All of John's Research Publications

Postharvest Handling of Cut Flowers and Greens (reference book written by John)

Govee thermometers


WANT TO LEARN MORE?  Join the Regenerative Flower Farmers Network! It's just $20/year and you'll have access to lots of articles, videos, online courses and live Q&As -- all related to regenerative farming and sustainable business practices. 

On-demand Short Courses for Farmers available on the Regenerative Flower Farmers Network: 

*Note: You'll need to become a RFFN member in order to register for the online courses. 


Past episodes for further listening include:

Episdoe 12: The Everything Tulips Episode with Dave Dowling

Episode 20: The Everything Ranunculus Episode with Dave Dowling

Episode 36: Cool Flowers, Native Headerows and Frost Cloth with Lisa Mason Zeigler

Episode 38: Plant Tissue Testing Explained with Bryant Mason 


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