Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Research and Relaxation

I got to steal away Sunday morning for Mother's Day and go to Duke Gardens with my other best friend, my lovely momma.  A huge latte, radiohead, and a cool morning breeze on the car-ride in to one of my favorite places in the world---I was destined to have an amazing day.  My mom says its the negative ions in the air that make me feel so good when I'm there....but I think it could be that I didn't have to lift a finger to see such beauty translated through generations of hard work.  And gads of money from the university.  They have a new tree peony collection.  Everywhere you look in the Asian section there are 20 new HUGE tree peonies.  Around every bend.  I missed most of them blooming, so I have to schedule a visit at the appropriate time next year.  Not to be missed by this gal.         







Sunday, April 27, 2014

RAFI Project Begins!

The excitement is growing around here!  Roger Tate of Tate Inc. sent Seth over to do the grading for the greenhouse we are putting up.  He did SUCH an amazing job.  If anybody around these parts needs this kind of work done, Roger and Seth are your go-to guys.  Roger did our driveway, we get organic chicken manure from him, our mulching straw---and he is a stand-up guy who almost always has some great advice and a few memorable stories.
The only thing that didn't go according to plan was that a power line got cut.  We have a buried power line going under the new site, along with a water line as well.  We thought we were potentially going to have to move these which would have been a major and expensive pain in the butt, but luckily to get the site graded it had to be built up enough over them that they won't be an issue.  PHEW!  The line Seth cut was a line that lies aboveground that powers all our farm energy (cooler, greenhouse) and our well.  YIKES!  We were knee-deep getting stuff prepped for market when it went out but luckily Duke energy came out and fixed it right away.  It was pretty impressive.  (Coal-ash mess not so impressive) 
All in all we are thrilled with the results, now we just  have to decide what to do with the weird slopes on the sides and front.  Landscape fabric?  Stairs to the door?  We also have to figure out what we can sow in the place where Seth got the topsoil from.  Preferably not burmuda grass.  Can't wait to plant the first bed, but I know we still have a long way to go.  Can you imagine, flowers all winter?  Vision and focus, vision and focus.  Please don't screw this one up Alice!  





Goodness Grows!

So many things to report, just not enough time in the day.  For now, a little pink and purple pretty from the garden.   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Can't get enough.

 I'm going to quadruple the amount of these we do next season.  Why not, right?  Has anyone heard of a ranunculus overdose?  
And we never have tulips this late.  So considerate to wait until Easter weekend.  And a gorgeous pastel mix to boot!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tell it Straight

Bleary eyed, bone-tired, coffee driven, anxiety ridden.  
We heft bucket after bucket, crate after crate, armload after armload of flowers, repetitively cycling through the winners and sifting out the losers.  Vase life, proper harvest stage, post-harvest, customer satisfaction, price points, environmental factors, fertilization, disease control.  Flowers run my world; sometimes they treat me like I'm the only thing in this whole wide infinite universe; other times they make me feel like an infinitesimal nothing.  Farming is not a profession to boost the ego so I've heard.    
This past winter keeps dealing blows as we are still discovering more cold damage.  Even our hoophouse ranunculus have some cold damage.  During one of the early arctic blasts when our greenhouse heater went out when at 8 o'clock at night we discovered the house was already at 28F, the only remay we could grab (that wasnt frozen solid) to cover things in the greenhouse was the remay in the hoophouse that was covering the ranunculus and a few other things.  
However, to look ahead, to find the silver lining, we received a grant from RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International) from their Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund program for winter cut flower production.  We are going to put up a minimally heated greenhouse for in-ground production so we can have sustained flowers year-round with a particular focus on November, December, January, and February, the 4 months that tend to be the hardest for flower production.  A HUGE THANK YOU to RAFI and all the local farmers who helped out on their review board during the selection process.  We are so proud to be a grant recipient and hopefully we can disseminate some good info on winter cut flower production to help out other growers make some income during the rough months.  
One foot in front of the other, right?