photo credit: Jennifer Langille
It’s that time of year everyone’s starting fresh. It’s exciting as a farmer because it means the beginning of trying out new plans that have been rolling around in the head for the past year. Every season we grow, learning from what we did right and wrong. It often takes a whole new season to implement these lessons.
Frost and winter are the time to rest the body and ramp up the brain. I turn inward and start planning for the new year with seed orders, plant orders, and bulb orders, deciding what new varieties to trial, drop, and keep. I allow new ideas to flow on paper, researching and implementing.
In 2018 I acquired more land after a resurvey of my property. Last year I decided to break a new field for dahlias, a major crop for us. It takes a whole season to prepare the hayfield into workable soil. We prepped the field by scraping the sod off (Bermuda grass and goldenrod). Next we work the subsoiling to loosen the soil and bring up old weed seed. Finally, we tarp it for much of the summer to kill perennial weed roots and seeds. Then around August, I seed with a cover crop of buckwheat I let grow till flowering, mowing it down. I prepare a winter cover crop of winter rye and field peas by harrowing them in to the soil. This season it will be ready to have its first dahlia crop, with much anticipation. Many crops are limited by temperature so if you don’t get it right this season you have to wait a whole year to refine it, at least in the Northeast.
Photo credit: Jennifer Langille
The only reason my farm has the ability to grow is because my community supports it. Our customers include direct sales at the Farmers Market to bouquets at grocery stores to couples who want our flowers to decorate their weddings, and with florist who love our fresh blooms. We sell dahlia tubers to customers who crave American-grown, small farm dahlia tubers. Without these people there would be no Painted Tulip, no expansion and no creativity.
I am eternally grateful to a community that loves and appreciates cut flowers.
The biggest change the 2020 season will be our self-serve flower stand. It will have a refrigerator for our farm fresh eggs in it and a huge shelf of fresh bouquets made daily. I am excited to provide this service to the community. I will be posting details on Instagram so follow us at: paintedtulipvt
Thank you so much for your support in 2019. Looking forward to a great 2020 and seeing you all as the snow melts. May your New Year flourish and grow!
Photo credit Marcia Hagwood