It’s middle of January in cold snowy Vermont. Most people are reveling in skiing, snow boarding, sledding, snowball fights, ice skating and snowmen, not us. Here at The Painted Tulip it’s time to start our season. We always start with anenomes and ranunculus.
Though it’s freezing now by end of February, it’s warm enough in our high tunnels to plant them. The days are longer so there’s enough warmth to survive and grow. We use many layers of row cover to keep the day’s heat next to the plants from freezing in the evening. This technique has worked well for years. By starting all the spring flower plants early, I can fill up the high tunnel and then move on to the summer high tunnel in March (we have two 30 foot x 80 foot high tunnels). I start the season on my own, so I need as much time as possible.
This week we start by soaking the Italian ranunculus and anemones. I do a few hundred a day. I line trays with paper and fill with soil, then place the plumped up corms and tubers in the trays and cover with moist soil, finally putting them in my not running walk in cooler. I use a non LED light bulb for heat if needed and keep a fan running for air circulation.
Once the trays start sprouting I use a few horticultural LED lights to keep the plants photosynthesizing, watering as needed. By the time I am transplanting them in the high tunnel at the end of February, they have nice growth to give them a great start. The plants really start growing in March and April as temperatures and daylight increase. They generate great foliage and by end of April and send little buds start poking out of the ground.
Then May comes and rewards us with beautiful blooms. These continue to reward us with blooms till mid-June. We use shade cover to keep temperatures closer to 60. We grow three types of Ranunculus that we stagger a bit to elongate bloom time. The Elegance Italian Ranunculus are first, then the La Belle series, and finally the Amandine series which is tolerant of warmer temps. This season we added the Butterfly series which is a single bloomer with many blooms per stem. Hoping these will be ready for the week of Mother’s Day.
When do you start your growing season? If you have any tips or trends you would like to share please leave a comment below. It’s wonderful to share so we can all grow amazing gardens no matter how big or small. Farm on!