Unless you’ve been spent the week under a rock, you are probably well aware that Harmony Harvest Farm is beyond thrilled to be selected as a 2021 FedEx grant winner!
Maybe you also know that we were upfront about how we would use the funds. We want to create a year-round flower farm. So, how exactly does that affect the farm this week? Well, I don’t know if you know this or not but money burns a hole in overall pockets faster than a farmer likes to admit. FARMERS CAN SPEND MONEY FAST! After wiping tears and getting all our whoops and hugs out, the first thing I did was call a guy about a greenhouse.
I’ve spent many hours standing in silence in our high tunnels, dreaming about how I could turn them into year-round growing spaces. I’ve envisioned how I would lay out each row, the rotation of crops, and the upkeep that a new growing environment would require. Back then, they were always just that - dreams. Now I get to turn those dreams into reality and I am taking every single one of you along this journey with me. I’ve never grown crops in a heated house and while I feel confident we will knock it out of the park, it’s another new step for us. And, I want to share every step of the way with you because you are very much a part of this family farm.
I’ve decided that High Tunnel 1 will be the beginning. This is our only medium-sized house, measuring 26’ x 72’, and it’s closest to electric and propane hookups. As the first house we built, Tunnel 1 sits equidistance from my house and the shop. While the end goal is to outfit all of the houses, this is the smartest place to start and learn.
Currently, we are harvesting poppies, stock, delphinium, and snapdragons in Tunnel 1, but it’s also the home of the upcoming lavatera, scabiosa, dianthus, strawflower, and gloriosa lilies. Working a renovation around a full house is going to be no easy feat. While we had no idea that we would win the FedEx grant, we did know that heating tunnel one would come sooner rather than later, so I’ve been strategically planning crops with that in mind. Knowing that the majority of the renovations will be on the end walls of the tunnel, we were mindful of which crops were closest to these areas.
I also enjoy complicating things...at least that’s what our Head Grower, Shannon, likes to tell me. In addition to heating the whole house, I want to build a partition wall inside too! I am hoping to have a plastic wall installed on the frame of our tunnel that will divide the house into two spaces. My theory is by creating a small space close to the heaters that can be kept warmer than the rest of the tunnel, I can essentially have two different temperature “zones” to grow crops. The warmer space will also allow us extra seedling room when we are crammed full with babies.
The other piece to our puzzle will be the lighting. Luckily, I’m a pretty typical farmer in that I hoard things for years that most folks might see as useless. This will be where the big pile of grow lights I acquired when I was in greenhouse sales will come in handy! Everyone on this farm who has ever given me grief for keeping crap - I TOLD YOU SO!
I also have to make sure that the new crops for this space are on order. We have to map out this house now (ok, maybe yesterday) to make sure we have blooming crops during the winter months when the farm is usually bare. And of course, I have lots of new flowers that I cant wait to try growing...as if learning how to grow in a new space wasn’t going to be hard enough!
It’s probably a good thing that we aren’t breaking ground today or tomorrow, but that day will be here before we know it. All those times I’d stood silently in the greenhouse, waiting for the FedEx truck to pick up boxes I’d never put these two things together. It’s funny how things become connected. I’m brimming with joy, driven by dreams, and picking up buckets of flowers all along the way.