Flower Farming at the Height of Summer

Flower Farming, Flowers

After months of growing on seedlings, building beds and planting out into the fields – we FINALLY have something to show for it!

Our baby seedlings are finally starting to send off stems of calendula, strawflowers and ammi. Our celosia is coming on and should be ready to harvest in about a month or so.

Along with the lovely planted flowers we have TONS of of naturalized bull thistle around our fields. While the tiny purple flowers are very pretty and completely adored by butterflies and moths – their extremely spiny stems and leaves are a nightmare to work around. They are the literal thorns in our sides (and our knees, bums, arms – you get the picture) so we will be working to remove as many of these as possible over the coming months. That being said they do put on a lovely display in our wild areas and are a great source of nectar for pollinators. At least something is enjoying them!

Water, water everywhere

For those who don’t know – when we purchased our farm there was no running water available to us. While there was a house that had been abandoned and an old well – the latter was no longer in service and a new one had to be drilled. With materials still being limited due to supply chain interruptions and so many people finishing 2020 and 2021 dream projects – we knew going into this growing season that there would be a delay in getting the well done. In the mean time we were fortunate that a slightly soggy and cooler spring allowed us to not have to hand water as often.

However, once mid-May arrived the temperatures began to spike and we were in need of some solution to continue to keep our plants alive. So for the last few months we have filled buckets and large storage containers at our home a few miles down the road and brought them to the farm to water the fields by hand. As of now it takes about 6 hours to transport and water the field. I do not recommend this as a long term solution, especially if you like your vehicle and your sanity. But we had to be patient and do what we could. In the mean time we are grateful for every rain storm that provides us with one less slow driving, water shloshing filled drive to the farm. However we finally were able to get the well dug and installed! The drip lines have already been laid down and it will all be connected in a few weeks. Until then its back to hand watering to keep things growing in the fields.

Our well tank!
The well tank is in! Now we just need power…

Surprise Roses

Our bare root roses are finally getting established and putting on a few buds. In a wild surprise in the last few weeks – we found out that we received 20 of the wrong rose from our rose distributor. Apparently there was a mix up from the actual grower and all of the plants that had been labeled as one variety (a new soft cream rose called Top Cream) were actually switch with another (a showy bright pink debut called Raspberry Cupcake).

While the distributor did refund us for the mistaken roses….we now have 20 spots in our field filled with a bright pink rose that we did not intend on having. While we love all roses – when growing space and money is limited – the investment in the right kind of rose to sell is extremely important to a flower farmer. As we sell mostly to event florists and magenta pink is not the most popular shade for events during the season – we will have to hope that the yummy lemon scent and ruffled appearance will charm some buyers in the future.

Quince Blossom Ridge – a Beetle Haven

In addition to a number of other invasive thistles and weeds – we have the “joy” of sharing our land with thousands of Japenese beetles. These pesky insects have very few known predators that can reduce their population and can decimate a crop in a matter of days. And of course – they love roses! And even if we were a farm that used pesticides ( organic or otherwise – of which we use neither) they are generally resistant. So with this in mind we decided not allow our roses to bloom for the main time that they are around (late June through August). We have been disbudding the plants on a daily basis – along with tipping the beetles into soapy water after removing them from the plants. The soapy water ends them in a less messy way than having to squish them!

Big Toys – We bought a tractor!

While we are a low/no till farm there are many projects that a larger piece of machinery like a tractor can be helpful – especially with just under 8 acres to maintain! Without a mower on site we have had to wade through waist high grasses to harvest and water in the fields. With this in mind we purchased our very own John Deere. Dan is elated! And the idea that Dan Till owns a no-till farm with a tractor makes many of our friends and neighbors chuckle when they hear it.

Dan on the new QBR John Deere
Dan mowing the aisles between our peonies and roses

July 20, 2022


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