The Crop Report Week 26 | Flipping Out
- Jun 30, 2021
- 0 Comment(s)
If you have learned anything here, it's probably that Harmony Harvest is more like a gymnastics show than a sweet, quiet flower farm. We are always in motion, tackling projects that lead to future flowers, and this week is no exception. Last week, we planted the majority of our dahlia field (you can read more here), but now we are flipping our spring fields for 2022 flowers. We are bending over the landscape fabric and cartwheeling through plant debris to create their home for next year.
Our earliest spring flowers are located in our high tunnels and two outdoor gardens; fields three and four. While we harvest the last few crops to come from these fields, we are already planning the next rotation. We arrange for the crops to bloom out at similar times so we can remove the entire field at once. While we plant these fields in late fall, we have to prepare the ground far in advance.
This week, we are clearing out old plantings and all the weeds that have taken hold as the flowers declined. We haul off the dead growth to our brush pile to burn down and layer back into our compost. The fabric is then popped free from the ground with a flat head screwdriver to loosen the staples followed by a mighty tug. While repeating this rigorous process, you begin to question how long is too long for a field row. We have to be careful folding and storing fabric because the staples are still attached, but this means we only have to replace missing or broken ones each year. After it’s removed, we label the fabric by field for storage.
Next, we remove our fabric pathways and reuse them around the farm as needed. These pathways become a covering for new fields as we wait for the team to plant them. Our fields are large, and we’ve learned the hard way that weeds can quickly grow in exposed rows. Keeping them neat allows us to prepare a large area for planting over multiple weeks without maintaining the unplanted spaces.
While we are still focusing on putting plants into our summer fields, fields three and four will be tested for soil nutrients to determine how we can best care for our land. We send off soil samples from each to a state laboratory and await results. Hopefully, I will understand them, and if not, I’ll call in my soil-expert husband or turn to trusty old Google. Some issues we can easily correct, but other concerns take a longer time to address. Regardless, we test our soil so that we can make plans accordingly. We then amend the fields and let them breathe before we till, shape beds, and start the process of laying new fields once again.
Watching a field transform from tired and raggedy to clean and lined with baby plants is one of my favorite experiences each season. I'm so grateful for the bounty the field beds provide, but seeing them transformed in a matter of a few days can be pretty amazing.
In the middle of all this farming gymnastics, we will be hosting our second annual Open Farm. If you would like to see these field stages in person and a flower farm sounds like fun, I invite you to visit on July 17th! We work hard around here to bring you stellar flowers and this is our chance to show it off. The team and I would love to give you the grand tour. Click here to get the details!
We certainly don't have every aspect down to a science, but when it comes to efficiently closing down a field and preparing it for the next season, I would say our game is pretty strong. We flip out all the time over here, but when the fields do it, they put us loud gals to shame.
- xoxo, Jess