As I review the successes and road bumps of my first season growing flowers, I've decided I'm quite happy with my accomplishments for the year. It was a good start and there were many valuable lessons. While it is impossible to capture everything here, we wanted to give you a little taste of my first year of flower farming.
- I'm still not a fan of weeding. Landscape fabric is quite possibly my favorite thing. This is an area I feel very comfortable investing some time and money in up front, since it results in less weeding, less watering, easy plant spacing, and a nice tidy spot for a cat nap.
- Transplanting is fantastic. Sure it takes up space in my living room, but it is worth the head start it gives plants over weeds, results in fewer empty spots in beds, and is far easier to control then direct seeding. My sunflower struggle from direct seeding had a negative effect on product availability for the whole season. In 2017 I'm going to work backwards from market dates to plan harvests with more assurance.
- Being a market vendor is way more fun than I thought it would be. I describe myself as introverted, and I was apprehensive about putting myself out there, making small talk, etc. It turns out that people love flowers, and it's not that hard to make a connection when people love them.
We had a pretty good year with the beef herd as well, and are looking forward to seeing the cows and heifers bring a new crop of little ones into the world over the next few months.
So, what is 2017 going to bring? Hopefully a whole lot of excitement, beautiful flowers, cute calves, and growing relationships! Here is a peek at some of the hopes I have for this new year:
- We are trying out a flower CSA. This is a new concept (for flowers) in the county, but I'm hoping it will gain some traction as a unique Valentine's or Mother's Day gift, as these are traditional days for flower purchases
- I'm planning to double production space, which is ambitious for one person. I made an investment in planting quite a few perennials in 2016, so we needed more ground for planting annuals. The space is still small compared to other farmers, but I am looking forward to the challenge!
- Season extension with low tunnels, which will hopefully give us a bit of a jump on the season and get colourful flowers into your hands a bit sooner
- A Thanksgiving offering - pumpkin centerpieces!
- The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFC) is holding a summer meeting in Canada this year! One of my goals is to attend, and hopefully meet up with all my virtual flower farming friends.
- I'm looking at adding a 'flower friends' addition to the site. The local flower movement is growing across Canada, and we hope to put together a bit of list to help you find small Atlantic Canadian flower farms. We believe in 'community over competition', or as the saying goes 'a rising tide floats all boats'.
Here are our Instagram 'best nine' photos from the year. I think they sum up the accomplishments pretty well!
Do you have any aspirations for 2017? Do you make resolutions and set goals in January? Are you already itching to start plants for the new growing season?