As the second season of our farming adventure approaches, I take a look at the past year and what changes lie ahead for the farm. Currently, I have every seed packet covering the kitchen floor, trying to group by variety and ignoring the voice in the back of my head saying 'you ordered too much, where will all this be planted!'. We will make room for all the new flowers, as some new growing techniques have been introduced around the farm. During the fall of last year, Reggie and I fertilized and re-tilled areas of the flower beds that seemed to be lacking nutrients and paid attention to where blooms were not as abundant. I plan to introduce a new system for planting, making the rows tighter and the plants closer together—this allows for greater production and space for the new varieties to be planted. Im thrilled about our new rose and mock orange bushes, zinnia varieties, new vines such as 'Cup and Saucer Vine', and how could I forget an all time favorite, sweet peas- 4 new collections to be introduced this spring!
With our mild winter and some warm spring weather already upon us, we are ready to start seeding! I can see the daffodils waking up and the lilacs are full of buds. After making it through an incredibly successful first year, going into the second is that much more thrilling- and overwhelming, especially with things starting earlier than expected! I have spent the last few days going over the notes from last year, and coming up with ideas on how to make things easier, while balancing more tasks and additional space being utilized in the field. I am looking forward to working in the new floral design studio we added to the back of the barn. I can't wait for the warm weather so I can paint and organize! The new space will make putting together weekly orders, fresh bouquets, and wedding designs more efficient- as well as a great space to meet clients! With the overwhelming success of our 2015 CSA, and our first farm grant, we are happy to announce that we will be putting up our first greenhouse this year! Bulbs have already been ordered to plant this fall, and since they will be protected through the winter, our first crop will arrive early and full of specialty tulips- just in time for Mothers Day! Our greenhouse will add at least a month of growing, extending the season in spring and fall.
This past month, I had the pleasure of returning to work at Floret Flower Farm to help Erin with "The Great Dahlia Divide". My eyes were opened to the world of flower farming when I spent a season doing an intense internship combining farming and design with Floret in 2014. Watching each stage of growth from seed to bloom was captivating to me, and I learned many harvesting and growing techniques. Using seasonal ingredients, my design skills grew also to mimic what was growing in the gardens. I was so inspired by Erin and her family, that I returned home to NH to team up with my dad, and put my new skills to work, making Tarrnation a family run flower farm. It was so nice to return to Washington state and work side by side with Erin and the Floret team again, tossing ideas around and picking her brain about the business of running a successful farm. After we divided over 11,000 tubers, I was lucky enough to sneak some into a box to send home for planting this year in our trial patch. Last year we had a great crop, but as the 20 plus varieties have had their first year acclimating to our climate (from a zone 8 to a zone 3), I expect this year to be filled with even more bountiful blooms. I can't wait to see our dinner plate dahlias (Cafe Au Lait & Sparticus) in their prime surrounded by some of my favorites such as Braken Rose and Crichton Honey. Before our season kicks into full gear in NH, I will return to Floret to assist with one of her many flower farming workshops. I can't wait to see the abundance of flowers growing and meet the attendees that fly in from all over the country and world. It is so encouraging to meet growers like myself, chatting about what works and doesn't work on their farms. So much passion in one space is such an incredible thing!
To conclude, I want to remind all of our local readers that we are now taking members for our 2016 Flower CSA. We have a few spots left, so please click here to sign up and learn more! We have some really unique blooms growing this year, so don't miss out! This can be a full or half season share and it really makes an incredible gift, as well as brightening up your home or business through the summer months!
Please stay tuned as I start blogging what's happening around the farm as the season continues! Be the first to know about whats blooming here at Tarrnation Flower Farm by signing up for our mailing list here.
Warmest wishes and happy spring!