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The Crop Report | Paved Paradise to Put in a Parking Lot

Well, this week didn’t exactly go as planned. That tends to happen a lot on a farm: delayed shipments that screw up planting schedules, weather events that change expected workload, and our latest challenge, construction. I jokingly say “never let a gal get too bored on a farm.”  I feel like I've turned over every square inch of these twenty acres during my time here and I'm far from done… my husband calls me Capability Brown. This is an old college reference to a studied landscape architect known for changing the contour of the land he groomed and created. It's a pretty cool story, you should look him up!

I've also given The Lady Monarch (Mom) PTSD over moving plantings year after year. She might disown me if I ever entertain the thought of moving the peonies again. That being said, sometimes moving plants is necessary as we discover their preferred location to grow at maximum production on our land. There are always a few crops we scoot around during the early spring season to adjust our growing rhythm, however, this year is a bit different.

After a LOT of talks with our contractors, builders, and excavators, we arrived at the conclusion that a new parking lot was going to be needed and the ideal placement of it would be located in front of a little barn in our first ever growing bed space. We noodled on so many scenarios but to check all the boxes of needs from a parking lot, this location made the most logical sense. We all stared over the long-established rows of just emerging plants and sighed deeply. This wasn’t going to be a small project and our timeline is, as always, tight.

During our weekly meeting, we broke the news to the team about the new parking lot and the action plan that was needed from us to achieve it. The barn is also about to begin renovation so the strategic shuffle of our barn supplies is important to map out. We talked over the various crops this would be affecting and agreed that the silver lining to this whole last-minute project was that this area quite frankly always looked the worst on the farm. A soil test revealed it was also one of our poorest growing fields, and the spotty plantings from my first years in the profession always made us cringe.

The thought prior to deciding to create a parking lot was to tackle a complete overhaul of this space anyway. So while we weren’t anticipating relocating all the crops and fabric, this will help us quickly check off a project we had woven into our long-term season workflow. It still sucks to move plants that were perfectly fine. The affected crops were bearded iris, a planting of daffodils, my favorite geum, fall triloba, sea oats, yarrow, veronica, clematis, and torch lilies among a few others. Luckily, some of these were already slated for transplant and we were well underway getting them moved.

We have been feverishly digging and crating up the remaining plantings (and boy it's a LOT), staging for replant, or shoving in the back of any employee's unlocked car. We have saved what we can, offered the rest to friends and family, and will be clearing the land as much as possible before the backhoe shows up (fingers crossed next week)! Once the land is cleared and the usable topsoil relocated, the parade of gravel trucks will start to arrive. Gravel is expensive just like everything else but I almost cried over the current cost of getting a parking lot created. So many tons of gravel are about to be dumped on a garden I spent years pulling rocks out of. Oh, the irony!  

As the crates of relocated plants are lugged to the new perennial fields, I know they will be far happier in this fertile home. The plants look healthy and it gives us a chance to really inspect the rotation of perennials that the farm will highlight come June. All the hard work we are putting in right now won't be appreciated until we are further into the season and have the ease of a well-placed customer parking area and happy thriving crops. Then we will see all the effort is worth it.

After a hard planning day, I made it a point to snag myself some specialty tulips and bring them into my still under construction house. I wiped off some dust on my desk and added a simple vase of blooms (you can get some for yourself here). Watching these babes grow from nimble to voluptuous is the perfect reminder of how I need to react as we navigate this new journey on the farm. We are doing bigger dreaming and planning as a team than I ever imagined and all through the connection of flowers.  

XOXO, Jess

P.S. I hope you come and enjoy our new gravel parking lot this year and visit the relocated plants in their new *forever* beds.

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Comments

Sarah King
09:54 Thursday.07 April 2022

You didn’t call ME when you were giving away plants ….to FAMILY!!! Can I move peonies now….thought in fall was only time. Did Grandma Jones peonies live that I gave your Mom?

❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cousin Sarah

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