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The Crop Report | Sticks, Poppies, and Kids

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the kids and dogs are running barefoot through the fields. This is the season of my soul.  As the ground wakes up, every day feels like an adventure on the farm finding new leaves, shoots, and blooms greeting us with each passing sunrise. Watching Mother Nature wake up is truly a magical experience. 

I'm extra grateful for the new outdoor space to enjoy after an entire winter living as a family of six through this home remodel. We are currently without a kitchen and every room of the home is in limbo so all of us have found some solitude and space in the acres we reside. The kids are bigger now so using the extra bodies on farm chores has felt a little easier and welcomed by the team. The boys helped me to pick up sticks from the yard this week. SO MANY STICKS.  We are fortunate to have large old mature trees on the property however the winter and early spring winds make cleaning up quite a task. I also made what feels like my annual call to the highway department this week to let them know about a tree blocking our gravel road and encourage them once again to assess the mature stand that hangs over our rural gravel lane.

The girls assisted me with venting our houses and inspecting our crops. The FedEx House is always the first place they want to visit, knowing pretty flowers await. The first planting of ranunculus is starting to wain and the second room flush is right behind it meaning we timed our transition perfectly (WAY TO GO TEAM!).  We are watching the sweet peas vine up the trellis and the first nigella, bachelor buttons, and statice begin to really green up. This house is on the cusp of delivering more than just the ranunculus and anemone in our bouquets! The girls and I are also careful to tiptoe around the crate-grown crops of daffodils, freesia, lilies, and more as we peek at fresh growth. There is just so much happening in there it's hard to focus on one thing.

We strolled down to the bottom houses after checking seedlings and hold-over plants in the seed house and holding houses 2 and 3. The bottom three houses are works of farming art. Tunnel 4 has the extra ranunculus planted among statice and some of our tunnel perennials and we watch as it transitions to carpets of green. Tunnel 5 will follow behind the FedEx House and has the majority of our spring ranunculus and anemone crop. The anemone are beginning to harvest in stride and the ranunculus are still budding up with only the rouge early bloomer here and there. The side bed is planted with snapdragons, didiscus, winged everlasting, and one of my spring favorites, poppies!

The poppies are a top spring bloom here because of how easily they fold into our growing program and how adored they are on the design table. I order these baby plants in the fall to arrive at our farm during the post-Thanksgiving day lull and we tuck them into a tunnel bed during the December holiday madness. It's one of the only times we get to plant green babies in December and it's a nice switch back to normal farming during the holiday madness. We cover the planting with a frost blanket and let them hold tight all winter long. In early March we begin to uncover and vent them as they start to really take off. They love the stinky Neptune's Harvest and we make sure to keep them well-fed as the first fuzzy buds begin to show. Steph says they look like the little shop of horrors plants when the pods first show up but with the warmth of the sun, the pods break open all day long and the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen take their place. We like to pick them right before they bloom which means this crop is one we have to constantly check for harvest all day long. But dang are they worth it.


Poking our head into Tunnel 6, the alstroemeria is beginning to really wake up for the season and the opposite sidewall of the house is freshly planted with spring favorites like our heirloom carnations. But the bell of the ball is the beautiful center (now raised) beds of lisianthus looking healthy. The house will be so beautiful come July when this crop is at its prime. The new side field beside the bottom tunnels is holding tight as we start laying plans for field amendments.  

Our soil tests have come back and now I will lean into my county extension service to make a targeted plan to help keep the land healthy and the plants thriving. The dogs dig in the compost as the kids explore the ever-growing pile of dirt and brush as we round out our walk around the houses and discuss what a soil test is and why they can't see the things I'm testing for. I wish I knew the right answer to all these little scientist questions. We all feel a little more filled up with a healthy dose of fresh air in our lungs, grass between our toes, and a few plucked blooms in hand. 

The first poppies came into the shop this week and the entire team giggled with delight. After lots of toil and effort, we can all enjoy the simple things like the success of the first poppy bloom on the farm and the ability for me to convince twin 6-year-old boys that picking up sticks is a superhero mission. Spring is here.

xoxo, Jess

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