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The Crop Report | Problem Solving

The cold air is starting to blow warmer and the snow has melted, leaving us able to jump back into farm life – man have I missed it. The lisianthus showed up at the end of last week during the flurry of Valentine's Day designs and processing. They showed up on a pallet and I had kinda forgotten how many I ordered. There were so many,  which I wasn’t quite prepared for. But we were all excited to have green baby lisianthus back on the farm, so the team was quick to extend grace on the quantity I brought in.

We kept our favorite varieties in the lineup and added a few more. The extra lisianthus this year will be grown in our FedEx House, which is still in production so the farm team is working to up pot the tiny little plants I bought into larger-sized growing containers. On our farm, we grow in trays that have 128 holes each. So, each tray will provide us with that many plants. When I ordered our lisianthus plugs I wanted the smallest sized holes they grew so I could maximize how many plants I could order and ship in. These lisianthus came in 210 trays which means that each tray holds 210 baby lisianthus. I ordered 30 trays so the math says I will have 6,300 plants. That's kind of a lot, even by my standards. As we work to up pot the babies into 50 count trays with lots of room, we are also focused on finishing the preparation of Tunnel 6 where the majority will live this year.  

We have spent some time working on correcting and problem shooting lots of irrigation issues that we have run into in our bottom tunnels. We want healthier beds in our houses so we are working to amend them and increase the soil volume by digging out the pathways, and in essence, raising the center beds. We have been hand digging the paths and sloping the contour of the top of the house so that when the fabric is re-laid we don't have trip hazards. We also have a significant slope to these houses which means that heavy rains can wash through houses. Lowering our pathways will divert the water and we are even running drain pipes out the back of the houses for severe storms. We are doing calculated assessments to account for weather extremes as we seem to encounter them more frequently. Finding long-term solutions to our water drainage and soil health has been at the top of our radar this winter and it's nice to see some forward traction.

Fixing the beds is one thing, but tackling the irrigation is an entirely different beast. I'm no expert when it comes to setting up watering systems but… I know a guy. Michael Kilpatrick with Growing Farmers hosted me back in January on his virtual Thriving Flower Farmer Summit and mentioned in passing how much he LOVED irrigation and helping folks better understand their options to make systems that work for YOU. Awesome, I thought, sign me up! So I circled back with him and explained how over my skis I felt when it comes to irrigation and guess what – he offered to come teach me! Even better, he offered to come teach a bunch of us that want to learn the irrigation ropes.

Michael will be joining us on the farm on March 7th (yeah it’s REAL soon) to give us a hands-on approach to understanding irrigation! We will be hanging out in the barn digging into parts and pieces and walking around the farm learning how to change, fix, adapt systems in place, or install new ones. I'm so excited to host and attend this workshop and I hope you grab a ticket and join me (I might need to compare notes!). Click here to snag your spot!

Hopefully next week we will begin to tuck the first of this year’s lisianthus babies in the ground and tightening up the parking lot for some guests to come hang out and learn a thing or two for a successful 2022 season. 


xoxo, Jess

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