I seem to have a habit of falling in love with cut flowers that have the least amount of information recorded on the specifics, ie. hyacinth. As it's a Spring crop, I had little time to do more than photograph as I went during this second season growing them. So what better use of a sick day than adding what I've learned thus far to that wanting pool.
*disclaimer right off the bat...don't lay your hyacinth down on the table the way I did for photographs. This isn't your average cut flower. It's a whole plant, harvested by pulling from the soil (as tulips) with the bulb still attached. Unlike tulips, this plant is covered in tiny florets thant attach 360* around. They are crisp. Therefore, if you aren't gentle, the florets and the stems can snap in the way that lily buds do.
*TIP #1 lay the bulk of the flowering portion off the edge of your work table as far as possible during the cleaning process.
Our hyacinth are grown in crates for several reasons. Depending on the bulbs size (we order size 17-18) you can squeeze, egg carton style, anywhere from 30-50 bulbs in one crate. This works because potting soil does not become compact allowing us to yank like a tulip with little risk. The root systems can however become tangled causing more than your intended harvest to come up when you pull. They don't all mature at the same rate. Also, after overwintering outdoors for chilling hours and rain, crates can bE
moved into your cooler in late winter here in NC (zone 7) to stagger harvests. Pull them out into the sun as you need them. But be warned they could mature in 24hrs once you do.
I harvest into an empty bucket (no water), placing them upright. There's quite a bit of washing that has to take place. Potting soil is in the nooks and crannies. Because I remove as few leaves as possible for their transit protection and optimal design choice for my florists, I leave my hose on the shower setting at full force. Usually it's hooked on the table's edge to free both hands so I can fully bathe the bulb and get between the leaves. After cleaning the bulb (and continually rinsing your workspace) use a gardeners knife such as this one https://tinyurl.com/yc3wzftn to slice around the bulb four times. Leave only the basal plate in a square form attached to the stem. Remove all roots and place in your prepared bucket. Band them in 5's. They make for thick bunches. I use a second rubber band higher up as well to give extra support. Some varieties get shockingly long for a flower that has A bad rap for being short.