What is a Flower Farm?
- Nov 29, 2023
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What to expect when you visit a production flower farm
What do you imagine when you picture a flower farm? Maybe you’re thinking of abundant, lush rows full of vibrant colors and shapes, perfect for skipping through or getting that perfect photo; especially if you’ve ever been to a botanical garden, where they grow flowers to look at and admire. While Harmony Harvest Farm is truly beautiful in a lot of ways, it might not look like what you’d expect - and while you can find hundreds of beautiful flowers during our growing season, you’ll also find empty sections and sparser flowers than you’d expect. This isn’t because we don’t know how to grow flowers - it’s one of the things we do best! Since we are a production flower farm, our goal isn’t to have full, lush fields - it’s actually the opposite.
Where are all of the flowers?
We harvest the flowers right before, or right at the beginning of their bloom window. This way, the flowers are just starting to open up when they go into our cooler, so by the time they get across the design table and into your home you can enjoy their full potential for as long as possible. That means we don’t typically keep fully blooming flowers in the fields - the cooler is actually where all the color is. Plus, since we’re growing these as cut flowers, our goal is to be able to harvest as many of them as possible - so the fewer flowers in the fields, the better!
Why are the blooms missing from the plants?
We also often use a technique called “deadheading”. This is when we pull the blooms right off of the plant - which seems counterintuitive at first. The reason we do this is actually to create stronger plants! If there are flowers in the field that are blooming, but have passed the harvest window and have already peaked, we snip the blooms off so that the plant won’t keep putting its energy into the flower, and will redirect that energy back into the roots, leaves, and stem - which will create an even stronger plant and better flowers in the long run.
Why is half the field empty?
Even though we utilize every inch of our farm as efficiently as possible, sometimes you might see empty rows or sections. This isn’t because we forgot to plant anything! We often have to reset and replant rows as the seasons change. This also helps our soil stay healthy, since growing the same plants in the same spot for too long can suck out all the nutrients.
So, why did some of the flowers bloom all the way out?
Sometimes, we do have super full, colorful fields - sunflowers are a good example! One of the really cool things about sunflowers is that they can be used as a “cover crop”, meaning they nourish the soil they grow in, which is why you sometimes see huge fields of them on farms that typically grow vegetables. We plant sunflowers in fields to help keep the soil healthy, and since we also grow more specialty varieties in our production rows to harvest and sell, the sunflower field is typically where you can get the perfect backdrop for your selfie, pick some of your own, or just soak in the wonder of Mother Nature.
Come visit the farm!
Now, I’m not saying all of this to disparage how absolutely lovely and magical our farm is, because the beauty of Harmony Harvest Farm really lies in the community it has created and the experiences it provides. We’ve created a space where you can come learn, explore, and breathe in the fresh air of the Shenandoah Valley - plus, you can absolutely still marvel at the flowers - it just might not look exactly how you expected!