Late December and early January brought two weeks of record high temperatures here in the Southeast. The upside for those of us with greenhouses was a lot less fuel consumption. The downside was too rapid growth of outdoor crops. Growers in eastern North Carolina told me they were seeing significant cold damage to outdoor crops such as iris due to subsequent below-normal temperatures.
    
One benefit of these cold temperatures, however, was the time to attend an excellent cut flower workshop in Kinston, North Carolina in late February. Sponsored by (among others) the ASCFG, NC State University and the NC Commercial Flower Growers Association, the workshop focused on keys to successful cut flower production.  
    
Former Southeast Regional Director Bernie Van Essendelft spoke on the trials and travails of shipping fresh cuts nationally (one of the most informative talks I’ve attended in a long time). The ASCFG’s own Dr. John Dole discussed new cuts, including some outstanding new Italian-bred ranunculus and anemones. Also, David Huffman of Carmen’s Greenhouse presented his approach to cut flower production, both indoor and out.  
    
Fortunately for us, David and Carmen have agreed to host our 2005 Southeast Regional Meeting where we will be able to see firsthand their approach to cut flower growing. Located in Hiddenite, NC (20 minutes from Statesville), Carmen’s Greenhouse has been producing cut flowers and bedding plants since 1993. With 30,000 square feet of greenhouse and a little over one acre of field space, they produce a wide range of cuts from tulips to sunflowers to asters.  
    
Their specialty, however, is snapdragons – and boy, do they grow some snapdragons! Foregoing traditional groundbeds, David and Carmen grow their snaps in pots with drip tubes placed in every pot. We will learn from them the production advantages (and disadvantages) of this cultural practice, as well as look at growing in crates and traditional field growing.  The meting will take place sometime in the first 2 weeks of July. Watch Short Cuts for the posting of the meeting date.  This should be a great Regional Meeting with speakers and a farm tour.  I look forward to seeing you there!