The late spring and bounty of rain that we've had this year has been really beneficial and yet really not very beneficial for us.
It has been extremely hard to get things into the ground and we are weeks behind on my planting schedule.
On the up side though, the flowers that are in the ground have really loved all of the rain and are looking great. My nephew is getting married on our farm in 3 weeks (I must be some type of crazy person...doing my very first wedding at the very beginning of the season; what I can tell you is that the learning process through all of this is absolutely priceless. I already know what I need to do differently for my fall planting this year to take on those June weddings next year!). While a lot of what I had planted last fall and early this spring is not going to be ready there are a few gems that are coming along beautifully and I have my fingers crossed that Mother Nature knows exactly what she's doing and will give me what I am going to need for that weekend. We took a little risk and planted 300 Ranunculus in early March and they look fabulous. I am really hoping that it doesn't get to hot before June 9th because they aren't a fan of the heat.
Since it has been a bit of a rough go of getting everything in the ground, I thought I would share with you how we prep our beds and get them ready for planting.
The first step is to get the fabric ready for planting. Last year we used a fabric that was basically a "one and done" type of fabric. The nice thing was that it already had the holes pre-punched but was a bugger to lay out. This year we have to prep the fabric by burning holes into it. We use three types of spacing for our flowers; 6x6, 9x9 or 12x12. Most fall into 6x6 or 9x9 spacing.
I measure out 50 feet and take the template that my hubs made for me and burn holes into it with a propane torch. It is a little time consuming but we'll be able to use this fabric for many years so next year this step can be eliminated.
Next I measure the distance of the actual bed and the spacing between the beds. We have 4' wide beds with 18" in between each bed.
We use a rototiller to work the soil and get everything nice and loose and then we load each bed up with compost. Our beds in the main planting area are 50 feet long and we put 5 wheelbarrow loads of compost on each bed (someday soon we'll have a tractor with a loader to make this easier)
After the compost is on I rake it to the width of the bed and place a slow release fertilizer on and till it all in again. Then I rake everything smooth once more to the width of the bed.
We lay drip tape under our fabric (it's really fun when you lay the fabric and realize that you forgot to put the drip line underneath!). Then I put the fabric on and secure it with anchoring staples that I hammer in. The tape in the picture below will be straightened out prior to putting the fabric down.
This entire process goes much faster with a helper but if I am doing it myself from start to finish including burning the holes in the fabric it takes me about three hours to do two beds. Whew! Who's tired?
Hope you've enjoyed a little sneak peak at everything that goes in to making these beautiful flowers grow.
Have a great week!