Spring, summer and fall are such a whirlwind for flower and vegetable farmers. Winter is the time to review notes and look towards next year. I am so grateful for this few month break to refuel and think.
2018 started out strong as many seasons do. By the time July hits I am so frazzled from selling, seeding, harvesting, designing and managing. Often farm recording spreadsheets hand notes are abandoned. Thankfully because of Instagram and Facebook, this as a visual record of what was blooming when.
This season was extreme. Cold spring and hot dry summer. Spring flowers did wonderfully: anemones, dianthus, narcissus, ranunculus, and tulips, sweet peas and stock (Matthiola incana). The cool extends their season.
Summers heat provided us with fantastic lisianthus, abundance of eucalyptus, hearty sunflowers and great zinnias.
Our dahlia crop did not like the heat and even though I watered daily, the 80/ 90 degrees was too much for them and they sat idle for many weeks. What I learned was I was not alone in my struggles and we are at the whim of Mother Nature. Many farmers across America had a tough dahlia season. As farmers, we put up: shade covers, high tunnels, irrigation, row cover, and plastic mulch. This is an exciting time to be farming as technology has provided us with many opportunities to control growing. Though, we can not control the weather.
That doesn’t stop us from improving techniques. Farmers are just determined. We exhaust every option before we give up, if we give up at all. I did eke out a few weeks of dahlia sales and have tubers to sell on The Painted Tulip online store.
So now I am planning 2019, buying new varieties of dahlia tubers, ordering seeds and plugs. Cleaning up and harrowing high tunnels. I am so thankful for my resilience, hope and determination, along with the community of farmers that share their farming successes and hardships. We remind each other to be humble to nature. We don’t fail …we prevail! Please share what crop was a challenge in 2018 and what are you thankful for?