Spring Update and Big Dreams Amidst the Chaos!
I decided it is time for a farm update because it's been a hot minute since I've added anything to the blog.
I am hoping that everyone is doing well through all of this chaos and hopefully we will be back to our normal lives very soon!
I personally have been enjoying every minute of this shut down. While I hate what is happening to others and to our economy I have loved being here at the farm and diving into projects that I would not have had time to do otherwise.
Every season I stretch myself a little further and sometimes those leaps pay off and sometimes they don't but I definitely learn with each and every success and mistake.
So lets jump in and start with my tulip mistakes this year!
I have had three great seasons with tulips and have increased the number of bulbs I planted each fall. Last year I planted 3900 and honestly the demand is so high in the spring that I probably could double that number.
Even with the stay at home order we started out really well in April and had two great weekends of porch deliveries. I expected to be able to continue porch deliveries throughout April as well as supply our shops buuut there was a slight curve ball thrown my way!
Typically I plant everything in a four foot bed. I planted these tulips in a wider than normal bed (almost 5 1/2 feet and the reason why is another story). Normally this wouldn't be a problem but we had a really warm winter so these guys starting popping up early this year. Then all of a sudden April turned cold with some very cold nights. Due to planting them in a wider bed I wasn't able to secure a frost blanket over them very well and the bed was almost too wide to even get a tunnel over. Some varieties were able to withstand the frost and cold mornings while others completely succumbed and the petals became pitted & discolored which resulted in loosing a lot of them. I estimate we've lost between 600-1000 due to this.
Big time bummer and honestly a mistake I should have never let happen but it's never a failure unless you do not learn from your mistakes right?
So that brings us to my goal of a high tunnel. At the beginning of the year I created this really awesome vision board and I can tell you thanks to Covid-19 many of the goals on that board are absolutely not going to happen. The funny thing is I didn't even have a high tunnel in my vision for this year until about a month ago but can tell you it is as clear as day to me that it is time for one.
I haven't felt until this point in the game that I was ready to install a high tunnel on our farm. Maybe because I still work, maybe because of the cost, maybe because we weren't sure where we wanted to put such a large structure or maybe because I felt like I needed to know that I could make an income from this business before I invested in something so expensive and large. This season though I feel it is time to step off of the cliff and put one up. Next year we will be heading into season 5 and frankly I am tired of being in a pinch for flowers in April and May.
I have approached this business with small calculated steps (and a lot of mistakes along the way), I want this to be something sustaining with a solid foundation and not something that crashes and burns. I look back and five years seems like such a long time of grinding and building but then I look ahead at what the next 20 years will bring and it makes me smile because five years of small steps is such an itty bitty part of the whole story.
The other big goal I have set (that wasn't on my vision board) is to heavily invest in perennials and woodies so that I have a huge range of foliage and fillers to harvest from that will take our wedding work up another level.
We'll see where the rest of the year takes us. I certainly never dreamed that I would have off for 6+ weeks or be at home during tulip season (huge blessing). The many goals on my list may or may not come to pass but these two are what my laser beam is focused in on right now!