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The Crop Report | Sweet, Sweet Victory

It’s a big ol’ victory here at Harmony Harvest as the hardest project we have taken on to date is finally open: THE PICK-YOUR-OWN VICTORY GARDEN!

Yeah, I’m screaming it, but that’s because this sweet little garden has had us all sweating, crying, screaming, and learning about patience and fortitude this season, so now I’m darn proud to share its story.

We are pretty lucky that our resident director of agritourism, Harleigh, has a keen interest in women’s history in agriculture and just needed a place to tell the story of the victory gardens. She had unearthed so many cool pictures and interesting tales forgotten over the years, so last fall we laid the fabric for a pick-your-own field, the canvas upon which she could share this story in an interactive way. Here’s where it all went wrong.

Fencing is expensive and pallets take longer than any of us expected to paint so out the gate (literally), our intricately laid plans for a well-curated perimeter became a time suck and aesthetic we had to scale back. But we weren’t really worried about the growing side - we knew we had producing flowers down to an art.

Then we decided to just go off-grid and run the garden outside of the mapped-out farm production. That was a mistake. Not having a clear plan to grow for the season meant that we relied on squeezing in planting, watering, and not forgetting to sow a few flats of seeds into our already well-scheduled day. We dropped the ball on all of these and found ourselves with a half-bare, half-dead field in early spring.

We regrouped and replanted hard and fast, putting in as many things as we could. We were moving in the chaos, shouting out, “maybe we should fertilizer or pinch or water or just do all three.” It was hot and we didn’t have the time to think it through on the spot so with a few weeks of tender growth flushing back, we did just that and stressed/ fried/ killed the entire garden again, right when it was starting to look fully recovered. We were pretty defeated as it was the week leading up to Flower Fair and we were ready to tell the story of this garden, but there was literally NO garden and it was obvious because this well-positioned field runs along the drive to enter the farm.

So after licking our wounds, we decided to be honest and continue as planned, building out an interactive and educational garden, just without the pick-your-own feature quite yet. With dots of color and a little extra explanation, we hoped our visitors would see the potential and come back as it grew.

Low and behold, at Flower Fair we were blown away by the response to the Victory Garden. Folks didn’t overlook it; they engaged and even told us how excited they were to visit again once the pick-your-own aspect was operating. This boosted our confidence and encouraged us to continue nurturing this space, correcting the errors of our ways in cultivating it, and folding it back into our regular farm production schedules. Through these first few weeks of having our farm open, we have quietly allowed the first folks to experience our Victory Garden and it has given us great joy. With a few practice laps under our belt, we are now officially open for pick-your-own business. Come grab a flower cup from the Farm Shop and enjoy this educational garden while harvesting a fresh bouquet to take home! 

XOXO, Jess

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