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The Crop Report Week 40 | Full Speed Into Fall

There are 12 weeks left of this year- can you believe that? And because we are down to the wire, the farm is a busy place. The weather feels perfect for autumn, with crisp mornings and temperate days. We’ve had some overnight showers, which helps our daily watering. There’s a vibrant rhythm on the farm and everywhere we look, things are being accomplished.

Our first of two summer annual fields is showing its age and we are slowly removing the crops that just don’t have anything left to give. The team has been cleaning out the established perennials, identifying weak crops and holes, and making plans to fix them. We are preparing to transition this field into another perennial garden so once season annuals are yanked, the field is ready for long-term plantings like fall anemone, yarrows, phlox, and sea holly. Hopefully, this field will be packed by next spring. 

We wrapped up our woody field installation last week as the final plants went in the ground and the irrigation system was installed. I sent a friendly email to our partners at NRCS to let them know we are ready for our sign-off visit. They have to visit the farm to make sure we have upheld the program requirements and it gives us a chance to show off our hard work!

Our team of farmers is playing a bit of catch-up for our big spring annual field. We held off on laying fabric on the prepared bed and planting due to our friends at FedEx visiting, so now we have to make quick work in this field. Boy, has the team been on it! In the blink of an eye, the field went from rows of exposed soil to rows of neat fabric holes that are prime for planting. We are also streamlining our production system in this field by working with three crop blocks per row to help us with seed forecasting and knowing how many spaces we have to fill.  

The second annual field is experiencing a rebirth this winter too. Instead of laying fabric on the prepared field and moving into production planting, we are making this field our first ever pick-your-own garden! Harleigh is shifting her focus from the woody field to this space and we have some great ideas cooking. Thank goodness Pinterest didn’t crash this week! Stay tuned this winter as we share plans of how we will be offering a pick-your-own experience on the farm next season.

The FedEx tunnel is also feverishly being planted as we gear up to produce the earliest flowers this farm has ever seen! We just put the first ranunculus in the ground, and the quickly germinating nigella and bachelor buttons must have made them jealous because seemingly overnight, they exploded from the earth with their first leaves. I may have screamed out loud when I spotted this. And maybe I shouldn’t have, because the construction crew has been working right beside the FedEx House digging the trench for electricity! The propane for heat is scheduled for installation in another couple of weeks, and all this action feels so good because it means our plan is really happening.

The harvest hasn’t slowed down either, which makes all this work a real balancing act and we have to be firm with our schedule. We begin our days at 7 am and only harvest until 10. With a few sets of hands, this might seem like more than enough time- until you walk into the dahlia field. The show is spectacular this time of year and we really should offer theater seats and popcorn for it. But the dahlias have to stay on their A-game because there are a lot of other bloomers looking to be the flower of the hour. The lisianthus are in full stride again and with the assortment of colors, this hearty little flower is saving the day in a world of few roses. The eucalyptus crop is the best we have ever grown and the strawflowers look great too. Our harvest cup runneth over these days and we are happy to share the bounty!

While we harvest from the bottom tunnels, we also keep eyes on the next wave of bloomers. Our mum crop is killing it, the long, strong stems with clusters of blooms look textbook perfect. While it’s interesting to see the uniqueness between varieties, the overall uniformity and health we have achieved this year will be our new benchmark. I cannot wait to see this crop bloom out and share it with y’all!

There’s still so much to do, but our team is working hard to get it done, all so that we can help you discover how to live a better life through flowers.

- xoxo, Jess

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