2.20.14

This week I am having a hard time focusing. I am going to blame it on February, it sucks. It’s sort of the end of winter and I sort of have a lot to finish up before the snow melts. But it doesn’t really seem like it is going to melt so I am not motivated to do anything in a hurry.

I am slowly finishing up orders for more perennials and woodies. I think that I am going overboard again this year but I just can’t help myself. Worst case scenario is that I have little room for annuals next year, which I guess would not be the worst thing in the world.

More seeds to be started: stock and bells this week, snaps and campanulas last week. I am officially out of room under my lights. I am using a sunny attic room as overflow until I can get things to the farm. I wanted to take some out next week but they are calling for another week of below freezing temps so I suppose I will shoot for the week after.

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I did go out to the farm to shovel out the doors of the hoops and I need to remember to put up snow fence this fall, the drifts in front of the doors were three feet high. They are calling for lots of rain today followed by a cold week so I figured I should shovel before it turned to ice. It was warm enough in there for the fans to turn on yesterday and the soil temps are approaching 60. I carried in some buckets of snow to water since there is no way I am getting hoses out there right now.

my bulb forcing experiment: part 1

Last September, after a long year of making planting an business decisions on the fly, I decided that I should try to force bulbs for early sales this year.  I was exhausted by autumn, but this last push was going to get me sales earlier than I ever have before.  Locally grown flowers, in Milwaukee, on Valentine’s Day. Fantastic! Well…. It didn’t really work out like I had planned. Image

There’s my crates with nothing in them. I had my doubts about forcing bulbs this early in the year. For many varieties they just have not had enough winter but I was hoping that some earlier flowering bulbs would cooperate, mainly hyacinths and crocus. Well they didn’t. The hyacinths have not even sprouted. They have roots and the bulbs still seem to be in good shape so I am going to stick them back outside and see if I can get something for later this spring, maybe Easter. Now I did not put all of my eggs in this Valentine’s Day basket, while I am prone to rash decision making, I am not entirely crazy. I did make a schedule and plan to pull in more crates next month for March and April blooms. Tulips, hyacinth, muscari and crocus from the middle of March to the end of April. Fingers crossed.

right now

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It is the end of another cold and snowy week here in southern Wisconsin. Usually by this time of year spring begins to temp us with longer days and warmer temps. We are getting the longer days, but it doesn’t feel like spring is around the corner. Despite the snow there is work to be done, and here’s the abbreviated list that I am hoping to finish up this week.
~Plant those anemone bulbs
~Water everything, it all is looking great
~Cold stratify the seeds for the prairie I am planning
~Look at my crates of hyacinths and will them to flower
~Think about starting on my taxes…
~Work on a sales plan for my bouquet CSA

 

germination

Last week I started my first round of seeds for the year and everything is germinating beautifully. Stock, snap, eucalyptus, sweet peas, poppies, bells are all looking good. Stock always germinates so quickly, I think it was only a couple of days in the germination chamber and then under lights.

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And then almost a week later it is actually looking like a tray full of baby plants! These will go into the hoop house, I am hoping in about 5 weeks. We’ll see how much snow is still piled up in front of the doors.

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Also last week I planted my ranunculus tubers after a week and half of cold treatment. This will be the second time I have tried ranunculus and I am hoping for better results than last year. They require a long growing period before they flower but when it gets too hot (like June) they start to shut down. So the hoop house is really going to help me out with this one. I hope.  Again I am shooting for about four or five weeks and these guys will be headed out into the hoop as well. They have already started to lift the soil that they are planted in, which means there are glorious green shoots under there and they are about to emerge.

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Now that my germination chamber is nearly empty (still a couple of pokey guys in there) I have room to start some more. On the schedule for this week godetia, nigella, and scabiosa.  In a couple of days I am going to have to buy more lights for this operation since I am running out of room. In the past I have never had a need to start so many plants this early in the year but the addition of those hoop houses has has me thinking spring. Have I mentioned my excitement about the hoop houses….

summertime….

No question about, summer is in full swing. I am covered in bug bites, the weeds are threatening to take over, there is a mountain of unreturned emails/phone calls to deal with, I cannot remember the last time I had a day off (maybe in May?), there are spiders living in my car, I wish we had a dishwasher, there is so much to do at the farm but it is hard to stay focussed in the heat of the afternoon. And, most importantly, I harvested the first sunflowers of the year a couple days ago. Yep, summer.

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farm notes

 

 

We finally started work outside yesterday and it felt good! My anxiety about the cold and wet spring is starting to disappear. I will still be a little behind with my flowering schedule for a couple of months but I am back on track now with my seeding schedule. I did skip a few weeks of seed sowing in the basement and sunflowers will have to wait at least another week to get seeded into the field. To make matters even better they are calling for decent weather all week.

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The perennials are starting to come up and I have already seen that some of them have not made it through the winter. The last twelve months have been stressful for these guys and I’m sure that I will find more losses as the weather continues to warm and there are blank spots where there should be plants. That’s OK I was hoping to start over this year any way.

The daffodils are getting ready to flower. If it stays nice and sunny I expect there will be a few flowers by tomorrow, a couple of weeks later than “normal”. These very same daffodils were all opened up by the end of March last year and the year before it was the beginning of May. It seems like there is no normal any more only extremes one way or the other.

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