It sure has been a while since I updated this blog. Last year was a long and busy one, I had little time for reflecting until about September by which time I was unhappy with a whole lot of things which I was reflecting about. I did very nearly decide to quit growing flowers as a profession. I have been sorting it all out over the last few months and I will be making some big changes to my business, and thus my life, this coming year.
In short I did not decide to quit growing flowers but I did decide to scale it back a little. And by scale it back I mean that I will be growing more this year than I did last year. You see I still have some more sorting to do. Or maybe I am just slow to learn my lessons. My plan is to hire some help and get my personal life back to some degree. So here is what is currently happening:
I have got lots of baby plants growing in my basement getting ready for the spring. Hopefully spring will arrive in a timely fashion this year. These are all about three weeks old, some are so small and slow, I should just order plugs and save myself the trouble. Things like eucalyptus, poppies, campanula. But then I look at the price of the plugs and say I can do it myself. Well now my grow room is nearly full and I need to start another 15 flats next week.
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.
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.
I started my first round of seeds today, it felt good and productive. Usually I start during the last week of January and keep my fingers crossed for at least a few nice days in March so that I can get a small cold frame up and start to move stuff out of the basement. The addition of our hoop houses last fall is helping to alleviate some my anxiety in that regard. This first round of seedlings will get planted into my new hoop house, which is sooo exciting. Not only will I have flowers earlier but I will have more room in my basement to get more plants started for later.
This is my new germination chamber, it holds 16 flats and right now they are all 72 cell. These guys are going to be in the basement for a while and will need room for their roots to grow. Seeding at this time of year is a definite balancing act. It is possible to start things too soon and have stressed out plants in the spring. First on my list are always cool weather loving plants that can tolerate a light frost and are generally slow growers. We are not technically frost free until the first week of May and I need to get out plants way before that if I want flowers in June. I have planted out to the field snapdragons, stock, godetia, bells of Ireland, campanulas, scabiosa, and sweet peas as early as mid-March if the soil is ready to be worked. Some of these varieties were on my seeding list for this week and some will get started next week. It’s a bit of a gamble, but when you make your money selling flowers you get used to taking chances with the weather. This year with the addition of the hoop houses some of my anxiety in that regard has been alleviated as well.