The Crop Report: Week 21 | Boots on the Ground
- May 27, 2021
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“Boots on the ground!” I’ve been screaming this as we awaited all of our summer season helpers to migrate to the farm. While we have added some hands earlier this year, it wasn’t until this week that our big flush of seasonal help arrived and just in the nick of time. Everywhere I look, there are projects waiting to be started, worked on, or finished.
The first real summer field is a little later than I like getting planted due to our weird spring. We prepped the field, laid the fabric, and burned the holes in the first few rows. It didn’t take the new farmers long to fill up the beds and leave me scrambling to find time to prep the next few rows. My goal is to stretch planting this field over the month of June so that our second summer field can be planted slowly over the remainder of the season. Spreading out our plantings (keeping in mind all of our crops have different days from sowing to harvest) allows us to harvest flowers throughout the summer months without missing a beat.
As that field is planted, others are cleared. Our rocking cress and silvertip wheat are being clear cut, some going in the cooler, and some being hauled to the drying barn. I love these two spring crops because they scream farm fresh when found in our bouquets and bring lots of value to our dried inventory. We cleaned out the drying barn from last year’s leftovers earlier this spring, and I love to see spring flowers headed to this hangout. The 2021 dried flower season has begun!
The peonies are slowing as they shift into a lower gear, and while it was fast and feverish for the past couple of days, the field seems less daunting to harvest. The cooler is PACKED with peonies (please tell a friend and grab one even if out of pity...I need the cooler room!)
We’re having beautiful harvests of snapdragons, stock, and delphinium enter the cooler day after day, and it’s beyond swoon-worthy. The first hard cut of snapdragons out of a high tunnel is floral perfection and these super ruffly madame butterfly varieties will stop you in your tracks! The poppies are quieting down a bit as the lavatera and scabiosa begin to hit stride. While this might sound like a full field I am describing, these are just the tenets of house one - a very cozy space with beautiful surroundings.
The biannuals and perennials are also putting on quite a show. Between the foxglove and baptisia, I can’t decide which I love more (which is why I currently have them both in my bedroom in a mixed design). The veronica is beginning to color up and I noticed the first stems of harvestable cottage yarrow this week too! The sea holly, the phlox, and the echinacea are all on the cusp of harvest which means our first rollout of designer color collection boxes will be packed with all sorts of great stuff. We have added a lot of new perennials to the farm, and as some enter the first season of harvest, we are taking lots of notes to figure out the best way they perform.
The mum babies are being groomed as the tunnel beds are about to be amended and prepped for their arrival. We are also propagating some of our favorite crops like ageratum and salvias. By taking small cuttings of existing plants we can replicate and produce hundreds or even thousands of small carbon copies. We divide the succulents (we always need more of these guys!) and we are potting up some of our plant stock that has outgrown its home.
The crates of lilies that line Tunnel Two are like a stairway of growth - you can see the weekly plantings lined up and it’s a great visual of succession planting! The first lilies were harvested this weekend after I was bone-tired from returning from a wedding, but that's farm life! I can’t be mad - beautiful double orange lilies now grace the cooler! Then there’s the breadseed poppy crop - wow. We are super stoked to harvest this crop as it looks so darn good! In the bed right behind them will be prepped for tuberose and leftover dahlias. Oh yea, the dahlias! I’m getting ready to start tackling the new field for the dahlias so we can bring out crates and get tubers in the ground.
This isn’t even half of what’s happening in the fields around here, and sometimes it just feels overwhelming to step back and look at the aerial view of it all. But up close, all of us ants are moving in line getting it done and knocking out the swell of warm weather work on the farm. While we have done our best to handle the demands of the farm, we can definitely exhale a big sigh of relief that everything will be accomplished as planned now that we have boots on the ground.