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The Crop Report Week 49 | We Are Ranunculus

This week the focus was on planting and that included one of my favorite crops, ranunculus. It was one that I dreamed of growing when I first began Harmony Harvest and we’ve produced this spring staple as long as we have had high tunnels. The delicate layers of petals along with the hardiness of the bloom and stem and endless color choices make this an easy flower to fall for. I could have a bouquet of just ranunculus and be happy.  

While we have grown ranunculus for many seasons now, we are always learning and tweaking our process along the way. Minimizing our pre-sprouting efforts, controlling temperatures, and dealing with cooler season diseases have been challenges we have adapted our methods to account for. We also like to test new efficiencies with crops and have staged our bloom windows to be stretched as far as possible. We planted ranunculus in our FedEx house and are growing two beds there, in hopes that they’ll be blooming by the beginning of January. Those beds should carry us through the first 10-12 weeks of the year and with a minimal gap, we hope to have our next high tunnel plantings in bloom.  

We have been planting the high tunnel beds, tucking in the plumped-up corms as fast as our frozen fingers will allow. The beds are soaked in and we will watch for growth and then cover them for winter. While the planting stage is laborious and less glamorous than the harvesting, we have found that strong bed preparation and clear processes help make these crops really sing come spring.

We also gave the ranunculus neighbors, tucking the poppy plugs into the lower house along with snapdragons and didiscus. Once the weather breaks in 2022, I just know that Tunnel 5 will be one of my favorite places to hang out. We also have shutters and fans for a ventilation system that's been installed on this house and once the wiring is complete, we will be able to further regulate the spring temps to extend the blooming season.

Tunnel 4 is a few steps behind. We are slowly filling a large center bed with anemone and babying our statice plants for spring. There’s still lots of cleaned-out brush to be hauled off and irrigation lines to mend. We have a few more flats to tuck into this house as we keep the more tender crops like the eucalyptus under fabric and plastic for good measure.

The tunnel mums are paused in time, not quite dormant but not actively growing either. This buys us the time to get past Christmas before our big dig. The field is a different story and due to continuous freezing temps, we had to learn how to store dormant bare roots in our cooler. They are being inventoried for our big January plant sale and with the looks of these beefy roots, will make spectacular mum gardens next fall.

There is plenty of work to keep us warm as we work through the winter days, but our favorite part has been sharing some holiday cheer and excitement about our upcoming ranunculus crop with folks as they visit the Holiday Market. We have been busy this December, scurrying around doing the beautiful work of next spring.

- xoxo, Jess

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