So, I am by no means a great writer. My style tends to read more like bullet statements and short thoughts. So, bear with me and I navigate my way through this Blog to explain the journey I have been on for the past year.
Last year we were all just coming out of the Pandemic, a day at a time, and sometimes, a minute at a time. During that time, my business has blossomed, hee hee, and grown in size. I've just about doubled my growing space and flower offerings. But, I've also grown in knowledge and understanding concerning how to grow, what to grow and when to grow. Every flower or filler has their own little time table and needs. Learning all these supporting plants needs is what I really have been focusing on.
The farm has also added a high tunnel. A high tunnel is not a greenhouse. Greenhouses are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer . .. . an expensive set up to say the least. What a high tunnel does is provide shelter from winds and animals, deer especially. It also allows me to extend my growing season about two months and during the winter, I can still get out a few cold loving flowers. I can roll up the sides and keep the doors open to allow airflow which is crucial to plants to prevent mildew and molds. It also allows all those beneficial bugs to get in and do their jobs . . . eating all those little bad bugs we don't want. Which in turn helps me to keep my flowers pesticide free. I'll let them do my job for me! I've also installed two very large fans to keep that air flowing especially when it gets very warm outside. If it's 60 degrees outside, more than likely it'll be around 80 degrees inside the tunnel. And this is the South where the humidity hangs around 90% most of the summer.
The tunnel was installed in late November and by early December, I had broken ground
and planted around 400-500 ranunculus corms. I had pre-sprouted them all and got them in the ground and even though they were in the high tunnel, on days or evenings where the temperatures would drop below freezing, I would cover them up with row covers to protect them. They would die if the ground froze. Starting mid-January, I continued to break ground and add more rows. Amended and added compost and anxiously awaited flower plugs I had ordered back in October. Once they arrived, my volunteer friend and I feverishly tilled the ground and planted the babies. I am so proud of all of our hard work because I was rewarded with the most amazing flowers starting in early April.
Here we are in mid-May, the ranunculus have run their course and are all done blooming. I loved how they looked but also realized that they are a very picky and fragile flower. I am debating if I will grow them again next year. I do have to pull them all out and store them during the summer so they do not rot in the ground. I need that space for new plants! So these past few weeks I've been harvesting the gorgeous Stock. The blooms are amazing and their scent is heavenly! Definitely a staple at the farm. And I can get blooms in early winter using the high tunnel.
This summer I will be focusing once again on another staple here at the farm, our sunflowers! Boy oh boy do people love sunnies! I grow them in all kinds of colors which really surprises people. Most people believe they only come in yellows and oranges when in fact there are white, pink, peach and shades of reds. I have learned that bad bugs really love to eat the white and lighter colored ones . . . sadly last year I lost just about 80% of my white and light yellow sunnies almost over night. I was so heart broken because I had big plans for them. . . . but such is life. Pivot and turn and move on as the saying goes.
I definitely have to mention two things here, volunteer helpers and customers. Without help, this would be almost unbearable and undoable. Every hour of help I receive, is hours I can spend focusing on something else that needs my attention and there is ALWASYS something that needs your attention on a flower farm. I cannot thank them enough, sometimes its just a pizza or a snack or a cold bottle of water to show my appreciation, because my job would be so much harder without their help. And huge thank yous to my customers, those who have returned and to my new ones. My goal is to bring a bit of beauty and happiness to your day(s). And I really, really enjoy meeting new people and getting to know a little bit about them, their stories and adventures. People are interesting and amazing! I'm happy to be a part of their stories even if it is just for a short time and through flowers!