The Crop Report | The Mum Project
- Feb 02, 2023
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While the farm is humming all around as we gear up for the 2023 growing season so much is already in motion. I told you about our farm crew's wild adventure to Oregon to retrieve a prized collection of mums to make nationally available the past few week, in the "Oregon or Bust!" part one and part two blogs. But exactly how do we plan to tackle this?
Well, let me catch you up. Last year when we began the journey of what we have coined The Mum Project (which I will outline more at another time), we realized we were just not set up at the farm to run such a large scale and technical supply of cuttings in the quantity we dreamed we could do.
Ironically my life did a little full circle shift as my mother introduced me to her neighbor, a quiet gentleman who I grew up watching out my back door as he popped up high-tunnel after high-tunnel amassing a range of over 200 structures. Currently, the houses all sit empty, and on the far back corner were 5 MASSIVE heated structures that had been vacant for years.
Mom and I did the initial inspection of the houses and felt like it was close enough and possible to make this work. Plus I got to finally meet my neighbor, someone whom I respected for their scaled business journey in the green industry.
I looped the farm team in and took them for a visit. We all agreed this closed-down greenhouse would be the ideal space to work out of for all of the mums we hope to share with the world. While we began to strategize our dream we realized quickly there would be more than ample room to grow into scale as we worked out the details.
While the space is massive, the thought of heating it for cuttings made me sweat, and balancing needy cuttings off the farm during our ramp-up to the season seemed nearly impossible, so I took my concerns back to the team.
We all agreed this would be far too hard to manage and feel confident we could produce the quality mums we wanted. So we began to think of our options and who could help us. This is where good friends come in handy. We decided to call our favorite growers of bedding plants, the quiet little range of houses I grew up shopping at with my mom and grandma each spring.
Evergrowin greenhouse has a renowned reputation in the area for producing massive amounts of vegetable starts for our local community of growers as well as a long-established garden center and a seasonal supply of select crops like poinsettias. We adore them so much and honestly got tired of asking them so many questions for getting our starts ready that we began to have them grow out all our spring seed. Our greenhouse is tiny and the crop rotation is tight. This worked so well in the fall that we knew they were the people to call to help us with the mum cuttings.
As much potential as we see in this one crop, they did too. Our massive request for rooting out thousands and thousands of cuttings didn’t faze them. In fact, they were equally as excited as us! So we put the plan in place to grow out our mother stock in our tunnels, take cuttings to Evergrowin greenhouses for rooting out under ideal conditions, and then take them straight to our new expanded operation off-site.
Once we had a plan we felt good about, my next call was to our state inspector to make sure it would work within regulation, after nervous back-and-forth chatter they approved my plan and we had the green light. Cuttings are already rooting out at Evergrowin (don’t worry we visit them frequently). And we are beginning to set up in our new off-site house at the end of the month. It’s wild to see such a big plan come together and with this new expansion, we will be able to bring more mums to the market much more quickly. Make SURE you are still on that mum waitlist!