The last few weeks have been scurrying around dodging torrential down-pours that we have been having in what seems like FOREVER in the PNW. Being English I’m used to the rain but this is getting a little bit too much for even me to cope with and there does not seem to be any end in sight.
I always feel that I’m running a couple of weeks behind the ideal schedule with my flower farm, I don’t think Instagram helps me when I see all these perfectly organized flower farms with everything looking so on schedule but I know social media can be a demon for making you feel that you have not got it quite right. As the years pass and my experience grows I too will hopefully be one of these perfectly organized people!
So what have I been up to? Planting and germinating lots of little seeds. This is my third growing season I am approaching. The past two seasons I have germinated my seeds in the greenhouse, this year I am trying to extend the season longer. With farming, whether it be vegetable or flowers most of your expenses come at the beginning of the year before you actually sell anything so the cash flower at this time of year is not always flush, but you continue on trying to make things work – as you will see it’s sometimes a bit of a patch work quilt.
I have tried soil blocking this year which I love. Filling these little gadgets with my damp soil mixture and making what looks like little chocolate brownies. Soil blocking saves on endless plastic seed cells, and I can have more rows of seeds germinating.
Once the seeds are nestled into their blocks then I whisk them up to my boy’s bathroom! Yep, our bathrooms have heated floors and are great for germination. Next winter my investment is going to be heated mats so that they don’t have to tip toe through the seed trays to use the bathroom – but hey you have to make it work!
Once germinated they are then taken to a shed for the grow lights. I was intending on getting some regular florescent lights from the hardware store. However my husband decided to make a call to a friend who is an electrical wholesaler…….he happened to have a line on grow lights that pot growers were using (I’m in Washington where it is now legal to grow pot.) Anyway the pot growers are now using a different type of light and these came at a very good price. Our original plan was to have the grow lights in the greenhouse but these light give off a bright pink glow that could be seen for miles around so we decided to get the shed decked out with grow lights – I feel with flower farming that you are always thrown curve balls and have to make quick changes in plans, it has certainly made me more flexible in my way of thinking.
Once my seedlings are at a good height I am then transferring them to the greenhouse which is thankfully starting to warm up. This is a constant rotation as I am also going to try my hand a succession planting, (I tried my hand at this last year but I have to say I was not hugely successful, but with the aid of my spreadsheet and Leticia I hope to do better) I have master spreadsheet drawn up and am planting each variety a few weeks apart. This year I have my neighbor Leticia helping me out with all of this work, there is no way that I could get everything done on my own – I am still working an office job but next week cutting down to three days a week so that I can devote more time to my farm. Having an extra pair of hands is a huge blessing and I recommend it to any new flower farmer. She may only come over for a few hours a week but we get the jobs taken care of so much for efficiently.