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341. Vegtables Love Flowers | Lisa Ziegler Returns | Online Flower Farmer Courses You Will Love
24th August 2020 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 00:37:28

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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 Greenhouses - Registration: 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

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 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 Greenhouses - Registration: 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 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...