The Crop Report Week 29 | Pause and Assess
- Jul 21, 2021
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Well, the Open Farm was last Saturday and things couldn’t have gone any better. The farm was in its prime, the weather was perfect (hot, as expected), and the crowd had a blast! The icing on the cake was the financial boost towards opening an on-farm shop and regular farm experiences next year. From the bottom of our flower farming hearts, THANK YOU.
This week is another sweltering one on the farm and after the push for our event, we are pausing for a moment so the fields can catch up. While there are still piles of flowers in the cooler and harvest flow will continue daily to keep the crops at peak production, we won't be hard-pressed to find extra this week. Instead, we will focus on the health of our plants and clean-up chores for our crew.
We still have some open field rows to plant for this season's flowers, so I will spend time assessing the proper crops to fill out these spaces. We have gotten into the rhythm of direct seeding sunflowers as a follow-up from crops that have already performed in our summer field. Sunflowers are the perfect quick crop to get two harvests out of a single bed space. We will be continuing to fill in any open areas with sunflower seeds instead of dedicating row space to them. A weed is just a plant in the wrong place, but to me, that doesn't apply to sunflowers. I don’t care where they pop up, and since the birds share this same philosophy, it feels more natural to have random patches of them dotting the fields.
The last of the mums are being planted and it's one crop that I just can't wait for in the fall. While they are going in a bit later than I hoped, these little guys are already beefy, so I’m not too worried.
We will continue harvesting armloads of lisianthus and those majestic limelight hydrangeas that Steph loves to call Madonna (something about the cone shape) are starting to make their way into the cooler. These beautiful plants pull a lot of weight for us as we transition out of July and into August. The hydrangeas begin as a chartreuse green and bloom out to a full show of white before the whispers of fall give an antiqued effect to the petals that is perfect for drying.
I pumped the breaks on dry flower harvesting leading up to our event, but will resume packing the barn for fall and winter as a big flush of strawflower is on our heels. I love them fresh, but I'm so grateful for them when we start making dried bouquets and wreaths, so we made sure to plant a lot.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be circling back with NRCS on a new woody field of native Virginia perennials. This field will provide a natural windbreak for the rest of the farm; a project I’ve had in the works for a while now. The baby trees and shrubs showed up a few months ago and now we are working to lay out this field with our local NRCS rep and schedule the fall planting of them.
While assessing these pending farm tasks, we will also look at the farm hands we have. Our next round of seasonal farmers will be needed soon and it's my job to get the right people here to help us plant, grow, and harvest the beautiful blooms we send to your besties and mommas.
There are also meetings this week about the next steps for the FedEx house. While the structure is ready, we are now faced with getting power to all of the houses and calling in the propane pros to make sure our new house has plenty of heat. Now that I think of it, this week hasn’t been slow at all.
And let’s not forget, it’s still American Grown Flowers Month and we are some proud farmers. What we do is different, it’s special, and it matters. Thank you for allowing us to chase this dream as the little American flower farming family we are. You can learn more about the wonders of flower farming on Discovery+ Magnolia Networks’ new show, Growing Floret, with our dear flower farming friend Erin Benzakein. (And don’t miss the end of episode two - you might see someone you know (US!)
- xoxo, Jess