Second Quarter Recap
As we are cruising right along through July and we are on vacation (which means no flowers for you until Friday) I thought it would be a good time to do a blog post recapping the first half of our growing season (April – June).
Last fall if you remember we built our first high tunnel. In January I decided a quick trip to Florida for some sunshine would be a good idea for the end of March. Prior to the tunnel the earliest I have ever had blooms was the middle of April but most years it was towards the end of that month. By the time we returned from Florida at the end of March the tunnel was bursting with Anemones and Tulips and boom just like that the season had started!
This year we grew just under 4000 Tulips and I have decided next year we will be planting somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 bulbs (I currently have 12,000 ordered but am thinking of knocking it back). We will be trialing a planting with half in raised beds covered with compost and the other half in the field as we have done in previous years.
The majority of the month of April was a blur of Tulip processing, filling orders and trying to get seeds started.
My seed order which should have been delivered late January/early February never came until the end of March putting us weeks and weeks behind schedule on getting things started and in the ground.
May brought all of the temperatures into play. We flowered Mackenzie and Seth’s wedding on May 1st. It was so cold the Friday before that while prepping I wimped out and brought everything inside because my hands were so cold. Fast forward to the end of May for Hannah and Ben and we were rocking the 90
June ushered in seven weddings for us along with a few growing/crop headaches. We lost beds and beds to blight and thrips. It was heartbreaking to be pulling hundreds of gorgeous Canterbury Bells and Snapdragons out. Thankfully beautiful Phoebe from Village Acres Farm helped me out and I was able to supplement our June weddings with her blooms.
By the end of June we were also noticing some growing issues with another section of our field. The majority of the beds looked healthy but were not growing as they should. Every fall we perform a soil test to see if anything needs added or amended to our fields. Last fall everything came back with very good levels. Due to having Covid in November and trying to get our high tunnel planted at the end of November we never put a cover crop on our field beds. We are thinking (I haven’t had another soil test completed to tell for sure) that even thought the levels came back okay in the fall, the field sat open all winter and then was tilled this spring. Our best guess is that due to those two factors Nitrogen was lost and is affecting the plant growth. In years past we have always placed a fertilizer into the soil before planting, either 10-10-10 or Milorganite and you guessed it…we didn’t this year!
Once we noticed what was going on I started spraying with a fish emulsion foliar feed about every 10 days to help give the plants a boost. That along with some good soaking rains have seemed to help things tremendously.
I also took some time at the end of June to sit down and really look over my business and how things are running. I dug into & reviewed my financials, my goals for the second half of the year and one thing that is abundantly clear to me is that boundaries in the area of time need to be set! The biggest thing I didn’t expect when I quit my job to do this full time was that your mind and thoughts are focused on nothing but the business almost 100% of the time because you are there & in it full time. You are not walking away from it. If it isn’t seed starting, planting, weeding, bouquet making, delivering then it’s book keeping, replying to messages, questions and wedding planning (honestly there is more but you get the point!).
My oh so wise husband sat me down after one particularly rough night and said you have to set hours for yourself. Working from 5am to 10pm isn’t sustainable and he is right. I have to set several evenings a week where I am finished by 6pm and whatever task is left undone then it’s left undone! I want Sundays off completely and that is something that I am going to have to fight for. Once August hits we have weddings every weekend for two months and several weekends are double booked. So for me, it is sitting my business down and telling it how I am going to run it and not the other way around.
Even though every year brings a different struggle I am truly having a blast and growing tremendously in the process. I know this was a super quick recap but hopefully it will hold you over until I have flowers for you again on Friday!!