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The Crop Report | It's Lisianthus Time

We’re finally back to flower farming around here and the weather couldn’t be nicer. The nights are still dipping below freezing but the daytime temps and gentle breezes have us all feeling like spring is in full force. The kids are spending plenty of time climbing dirt piles and becoming reacquainted with their bikes, and putting in requests for new ones; I swear they grow faster than the flowers!

We are watching as some of our perennial crops wake up and show signs of growth. The hellebore is being closely monitored for those first blooms and the FedEx House has us harvesting our needed dose of colorful farm flowers. Shade cloth was added and wiggle wire was removed from the houses, opening them up to the nice spring weather we are finally enjoying. While the threat of winter is still on the radar we will keep our row cover close at hand and begrudgingly button everything back up if needed. I'm going to soak up and appreciate the current conditions as long as I can.

Last week had us gunning hard to get Tunnel Six amended and prepared for planting this week, so now we get to fill in all those new holes Harleigh and her brother Drake tackled for us. The lisianthus have been in a holding pattern since they arrived at the farm and the crew made quick work of getting them up potted to larger-sized trays to allow them to hang as long as possible. In case you missed it, here is the link to when they came in and my realization that I ordered far more than I had thought about in bed space. The overflow will be planted in the FedEx House as current harvested crops like the anemone and ranunculus begin to slow down.

We also got to welcome back one of our all-star team hands last year, Kelsie! As we practice our new training program on a familiar face we are excited that she is already well versed in the flow of things so that she can jump right into getting our newly prepped Tunnel 6 filled with the farm-favorite lisianthus varieties. It's so much work to plan out a bed, prepare the soil, tackle the fabric, burn new holes, and plant the crop so the actual growing process can begin. We also added in some modifications to the house by raising the beds and lowering the pathways. These small improvements are a primary consideration every time we flip a bed, start a project, or tackle a task. How can we improve it for long-term growth? I'm so proud of the thinkers that help here in getting the very best of our farm out the door every day.

The lissis will sit quietly for a few months once planted. They really don't grow much or do anything besides stress us farmers out. But as the temps rise and June creeps in. they begin to grow at exponential rates and gear up for a grand debut in July. The timing is perfect as we’ll be having our grand opening to the public and they are indeed one of the prettiest flowers we grow when in full flush. July is also American Grown Flowers Month, so yet another amazing way to showcase the bounty of our Virginia blooms.

It's the first big flower project that has us back in normal rhythm. We have collectively worked so hard to craft a strong plan to coordinate and run the flower farm this season with so many new ways to give folks the chance to discover our world.  What we have worked so hard to map out is now beginning to guide us. It's exciting to see everyone's part begin to be implemented in real-time, while we know tweaks and adjustments are guaranteed. It's really fulfilling to see so many of us committed to making things better at every step of this journey.  The lisianthus will be one of the first crops that go through our new record-keeping journey for the crops and from this new set of information we are working to collect we will be able to share more information and connection in real-time to the fields we so lovingly grow.

The seeds are arriving, the tunnels are blooming, the plants are getting planted and the pilot light of the season has been turned up.  This is going to be such a fun year and I can’t wait to see how it will unfold like allllllll the new lisianthus varieties I decided to grow.

xoxo, Jess

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