2021 Tulip Forcing Workshop
Photo Credit: James Buck/Stuck In Vermont
Thanks for your interest in the Flower Farmer’s Tulip Forcing Workshop! I have been forcing tulips in Vermont (zone 4) for the past 11 years. During that time I have figured out how to significantly extend my growing season through bulb forcing. In forcing tulips I am able to harvest armloads of gorgeous blooms (122,500 of them this season- and more than 65 different specialty tulip varieties) from early January through June. By implementing some of my season extension strategies I am able to significantly extend my growing season. This winter crop provides an influx of income during a time when most flower farmers don’t have any money coming in. The winter market is ripe for fresh, local, ecologically grown tulips, as customers are eager for beautiful blooms during the longest, darkest days of winter. During the winter season I am able to sell three times as many flower bouquets compared to the summer growing season, and my blooms sell twice as fast. Winter forcing has been a total game changer for me. I am excited to share my knowledge and methods with other flower farmers who are eager to extend their own growing seasons.
Given the level of interest in the workshop, I have asked my friend Linda of Little Farmhouse Flowers in Jay, NY to join forces and co teach it with me. Linda took my first workshop back in 2018, and has been assisting and contributing to the workshop ever since. Linda has successfully grown tens of thousands of tulips in her basement, and this year has also been growing in her new heated tunnel. Linda also started a hydroponic tulip growing trial this year! Between the two of us we have: 15 years of experience forcing tulips, have collectively forced over 500,000 bulbs, and have trialed over 100 different varieties for forcing.
During the past three years I have supported over 40 flower farmers in the development of their own tulip forcing operations. It has been so wonderful to watch their successes as they dug into winter tulip growing. Linda and I are excited to continue to spread the beauty of tulip forcing with an ever growing community of flower farmers.
Read on to see the different formats we are offering for the workshop this year.
Option 1: March/March 2021 Distance Mentoring Part 1:
Given how eager many of you are to get started, and because NOW is the time to order bulbs for the coming season, we have created a workshop option that will get you the information you need to get a jump start on the upcoming season. This option is broken up into two sessions. The first session will focus on all of the components you need to know to get started: bulb sourcing, understanding bulb treatment and succession, set up, etc, and will be presented via Zoom. Participants should have a good internet connection to be able to access this session. Participants will also join a facebook page where information can be shared and questions answered following the session. The second part of the workshop which will cover the components of growing, harvesting, diseases and marketing will be offered at the end of the summer/early fall.
This option is being offered on the following dates:
Sunday, March 21st 9:00-12:00 EST (space is limited)
The follow up zoom session for this option is scheduled for Sunday, September 12th from 9:00-12:00 EST
Sunday, April 11th 9:00-12:00 EST (space is limited)
The follow up zoom session for this option is scheduled for Sunday, September 26th from 9:00-12:00 EST
(Sign up for only one session)
Option 2: On Farm Workshop at the von Trapp Greenhouse
This is a full day on farm workshop in Waitsfield, Vermont that covers all of the ins and outs of tulip forcing. I will have bulbs available for purchase for workshop participants. During the workshop we will tour the facilities that I use here on the farm and we will cover the following topics: forcing steps, resources and materials, growing practices, season extension (this will include snow bunkers, cold holding, etc.), pest pressure and disease, harvesting and processing, ordering bulbs (timelines and contacts), tulip varieties (the best and worst for forcing), marketing, income breakdown, potted bulbs, etc. This workshop is hands on and is a very full day on the farm.
During the on farm workshop, Sunday morning refreshments will be served. A delicious lunch spread of locally sourced food is also included in the workshop (when registering please indicate any dietary restrictions.)
Participants will also join a facebook page where information can be shared and questions answered following the workshop.
This option is being offered on:
Sunday, October 10th 9:00-4:00 (space is limited)
Option 3: Fall Distance Mentoring
This is a two part online option via Zoom that covers all of the same material that is offered during the on farm workshop. It is broken up into two three hour sessions. Participants should have a good internet connection to be able to access this session. Participants will also join a facebook page where information can be shared and questions answered following the sessions.
This option is being offered on:
Sunday, October 17th 9:00-12/1 (space is limited)
Sunday, October 24th 9:00-12/1 (space is limited)
It is likely that we will also offer another Distance Mentoring session like Option 3 in January. Additionally we are excited to announce that we are in the process of producing a full online video workshop format to be available in early 2022.
If you are interested in signing up for any of the workshops, but are unsure if you have the right facilities, or infrastructure to get started, please don't hesitate to contact me, and we can figure out if this workshop is the right fit for you. Workshop space is limited.
To read a review of the Tulip Forcing Workshop from fall 2018, as well as a follow up reflection from fellow flower farmer Linda D'Arco of Little Farmhouse Flowers, follow these links:
Little Farmhouse Flowers Workshop Review: www.littlefarmhouseflowers.com/blog/2018/10/11/learning-tulip-forcing-with-von-trapp-flowers.
Little Farmhouse Flowers Tulip Forcing Update: www.littlefarmhouseflowers.com/blog/2019/2/13/tulip-forcing-part-2
TO BE ADDED TO THE WORKSHOP WAITLIST PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK: https://www.littlefarmhouseflowers.com/tulip-workshop-signup
We look forward to sharing the joy of growing tulips with you!
Emily & Linda
"The workshop with von Trapp Flowers has allowed us to have flowers year round without having a hoop house. The workshop itself was packed full of information and resources but the most valuable part has been having access to Emily to answer questions and troubleshoot situations, even a year later after I took the workshop."
Cassie, Jig-Bee Flower Farm
"I am so grateful for your clear and kind instruction back in 2019 (simpler times)! Your on-going support and cheerleading have been so helpful. Part of what has made the experience of learning from you is that you are looking for ways to help us adapt our own unique climate/infrastructure/market to your successful model, and haven't guaranteed our success on mimicking your own set up and situation. This is evidence of someone who is an expert at her craft. While sharing what works for us with other growers is a generous act, you are providing something more than that. By extending my flower offerings last year with an earlier season than ever before, I was not only able to make more money and keep relevant in the marketplace, but I was able to cheer up hundreds of people during the scary first days of the pandemic."
Robin Holland, Goode Farm
"Emily’s tulip forcing workshop begins with a very detailed, informative, and FUN day on the farm. It is a farmer led, hands on, and captivating day - plus lunch is delicious. Then the mentor relationship begins, and Emily is responsive, helpful and a creative problem solver. I learned everything I needed in order to successfully force a few thousand tulips the winter I took Emily’s workshop. They were happy, healthy, disease and pest free, and they sold out immediately. Here in the cold North East, being able to have tulips in March kicked off our season with a bang! And all of them were grown easily in our basement. I am thrilled that I decided to take this workshop in 2019, and I feel very grateful to have established a relationship with Emily, and the other growers that attended the workshop. 10/10 would recommend to other growers looking to extend their season!"
Tracey Pavan, Swell Farm Flowers
"I am not shy to say that I’m pretty picky when it comes to attending workshops. I look for people that have a true focus on growing flowers for a living and am fond of learning especially from those that focus on a certain variety or growing technique. So when I found Emily on Instagram I was surely taken in by her knowledge in growing tulips.
Emily is very passionate in growing tulips and it shows in her style of teaching. Attention to detail comes natural. Plus her workshop setting on her farm was truly beautiful!! I also love workshops that are a “hands on” approach to teaching, so when Emily had us actually doing every step in her planting technique I was ready to get my hands dirty! If you’re looking for a step above in growing tulips, you’ll find it taking her forcing class. Emily shared her years of experience in forcing and I was able to take this information home and put it to work. I took her class in October and by February I had my first forcing tulips come into bloom. How awesome is that!!!? I came away from Emily’s workshop with a new approach to adding weeks of blooms for sale, confidence in hitting goals for future sales such as Valentine’s Day and take my business to an even higher level of success."
Tania Cubberly, Skyfall Flowers