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Clipping to Cleaning: How to care for your home grown peonies

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 7:29 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -17 year old Mari Ana Beks has been working at her grandparent’s peony farm, North Pole Peonies, as long as she can remember.

She’s considered a senior harvester at the farm and demonstrated to us how to cut your home grown peonies.

“When we are picking we have little signs that we look for: We look for 50% color in the buds and we also feel to see if they are a little bit soft. Then we know they are ready to be picked and they can be chilled and shipped,” Becks said. “This one here, this one is ready, so we take it, we measure down about 22” and we cut it.”

Marjorie Illingworth, a co-owner of the farm, said to pick them before they open up.

“Pick them in buds like this that are soft, but not fully open, if they get fully open they are harder to keep,” Illingworth said.

She also gave some tips about cleaning are caring for the flower after it’s picked.

“If you are worried about bugs, this is just regular tap water and table salt and you just swish it in there and tap the water off,” Illingworth explained. “Any bugs that are in their will crawl out and drown in the water, they don’t like it.”

Illingworth cautioned against putting them right into a vase.

“Take your peonies and you leave them dry like this, no water and you put them in your refrigerator for two days. That changes the metabolism so instead of lasting three or four days, they will last two weeks.” She added.

The Illingworths operate North Pole Peonies on Eielson Farm Road.

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