I sold my first flowers!

I’ve kind of been waiting for sales to fall into my lap, rather than like picking flowers and then hustling to sell them. Kind of pathetic, I know.

A woman in the local flower growers/florists network said she needed marigold flowers (without stems). Here’s a photo of some of the 30 (36?) that she took.

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Dark Orange Marigold flowers

I was concerned that many  looked too far developed, but that’s kind of where they are at late in the season. I’ve really been in denial and it’s becoming increasingly clear that winter is coming. Early.

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Workshops… tempting…

I get so frustrated with all the questions I have and the lack of people to ask… I need mentors. In the meantime, I keep hearing about all these workshops that I wouldn’t really have time to go to, like locally at Singing Frogs Farm this fall and The Gardener’s Workshop (online) with the author of the book Cool Flowers. I just don’t know…

The garden looks pretty darn good, but I have no idea what to do with my gorgeous, big purple, pink, and white zinnias. Do I sell them one at a time? In bouquets of 4? And um who do I sell them to? I was thinking of selling thru a local buyers’ club but someone sold like a $20+ bouquet at $5 each (with like 5 focal flowers, smaller flowers, and foliage and other fillers) and I’m like… peace! I’m not about to way underprice my flowers just to bring in a couple of bucks. And yes, I am pretty sure that the other grower, like me, has a partner who has a pretty good-paying job. That doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to cover the expenses and labor incurred in growing the flowers, though!

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Made my first sale

I’ve been keeping busy out there in the garden. I’m still working hard on the painstaking removal of old plant matter (and weeds and slugs) from last summer’s strawberry bed. Meanwhile, there are strawberries to pick and eat every time I go out there. I’ve done over 7 hours of work (over the last week or so, I think) and I have only made it about halfway down the bed. I don’t have time for this! I need to get my June-bearing bed cleaned up, and today I noticed that there are strawberries rotting in the 2016 summer strawberry bed.

Meanwhile, my seedlings are begging to be planted or potted up. I sold 2 sixpacks of Broccoli (Waltham 29 iirc) today! A woman drove over and took them home for her raised beds. In addition to my not having time, the beds that I wanted to use for greens. I have cabbage, dino kale – 4 sixpacks – and way-too-leggy red russian kale, plus some dill and a few zinnias for those beds. I also have marigolds and poppies. I need to get those poppies into the pea bed asap. I’ll have to hand-water first, though! I tried planting some sweet peas for flowers this spring and got zero plants. I need to just start them in the greenhouse.

Speaking of peas, we got our longest section of trellis moved from one of last fall’s pea beds this week. I set up the trellis this morning and tried to train the plants to the netting. By about 11 or 11:30, the plants were shutting down and stopped reaching. This evening it looked to me like the casual observer might think that I had, in fact, trained them. 🙂 There are still a lot of weeds, including volunteer tomatoes. Hopefully next winter will be a bit less rainy and I can remove my debris in a timely fashion.

I’ve been doing a lot of mowing and weedwhacking. I have uncovered most of the path that goes down the middle of the garden. Unfortunately there is a row’s worth of drip tubing stuck in some really tall grass on the west end. 😦 Tonight I realized that my planned new greens beds were immediately next to last summer’s greens beds, which I had only just mowed. I tried to pull the chopped up brassicas out and take them to the compost pile. Didn’t quite get to finish since it was getting very late…

We need to water soon, even though we had a few rainy days earlier this week. The ground has crusted over wherever it’s bare. Hoping to start more seeds real soon.

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Photo taken by my partner Z this evening. It shows me at the north end of the garden with the mower, which had likely stalled due to trying to eat too much grass at a time

Went to an entrenpreneurship workshop

The Farmers Guild put on a workshop for beginning farmers about the business aspects of starting a farm. Speakers covered: inspirational farming story, why you should keep careful records, and what kind; business plans; sales; marketing; farm financing options (I mostly spent today reading articles about the fire in Oakland; I know quite a few people whose friends died); and crop planning. We also did a small group exercise in which we did a quick and dirty business plan for an example property. My group’s property had issues: seasonal ditch water on one end of the property, flooding on the other end, and a goodly amount of uneven ground.

There weren’t many opportunities for networking. It was worse in my case, since an old friend had convinced me to go, and we sat next to each other ;). I did talk to a woman who is a Master Gardener in another county. She recommended that I mulch strawberries with rough straw nearly up to the top of the plant, and water way deeper (so that the water goes a foot down). This year we only watered for 15 minutes a day (more on the hottest days or if there were small plants in the ground), but we did do it every day. Last year we watered for an hour every day. We need to set up more zones and water them that way. Another thing to consider in crop planning.

I may have been won over to the growing microgreens camp. I need some high-value crops to grow. But I still need that wash station. We don’t have the money for it, so I think I need to design it and just start, like, buying something every week. I also need add up the costs of different licenses and certifications and start making those happen. And figure out what I will grow in 2017.

No photo today, as I never made it to the garden while the sun was still out. I got home after 5:00. 😦

What’s available right now on our farm

I think I should start regularly posting an availability list… (possibly not complete)

Around 20 small and 20 medium pumpkins. 4 small Cinderella pumpkins. 3ish large pumpkins, 1 xl (nearly ripe). Others that are not yet ripe.

Lots of bottle gourds and speckled swan gourds (still green, some young speckled swan)

Strawberries (seascape)

Tomatoes: everything from slicing to sauce to Sungold

kale: toscano, green leaf, and red russian

a few onions

corn leaves and stalks

herbs: Green and purple basil, rosemary, oregano

flowers: some calendula, borage, small cosmos, aged zinnias

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Getting ready for rain

I realized yesterday that my biggest priority in getting ready for this week’s rains was to cover the ground between the strawberry and tomato beds. There’s room enough for a whole bed there, although it’s nice to have a nice, wide path in which to throw bad fruit and not have to step on it while I’m picking other fruit. There were a lot of spots where the ground was bare and hard because the gophers had left mounds that had dried out in the sun. I am trying to limit opportunities for rain-caused erosion. Today I finished picking up the rest of the fruit and leaves off the ground there and put out 10 wagonloads of compost. It might be a bit heavy, but when the tomato plants are gone, I might be able to spread some of it at the edge of the bed where I apparently did a really good job of hoeing the weeds out.

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Behind these zinnias is the space between the tomatoes and the strawberries. Brown leaves are visible in this photo. They have all been picked up and composted.

The other thing that I did today was start a new compost pile. I had a big pile of corn stalks, leaves, husks, and bad ears from when I pulled out about half of the corn plants the other day, plus some other weeds and some 13 buckets (5 of them had bad strawberries and some tomatoes in them, and there were a lot of corn cobs and husks in the buckets from the house, lol). The compost pile is still like half the size it needs to be to compost properly. #goals While I was building the pile, T did some walking around the garden all by himself (with pokemon go on his dad’s phone, of course). Yay for exercise and his sense of accomplishment! Boo for screen time.

The amount of rain we’re expected to get in this week’s storms has been decreased, thankfully. I’m still trying to figure out how the fava bed can be prepared so I can plant into it- it was chisel plowed but not raked, iirc.

Z is putting a lot of pressure on me to get the pumpkins sold. I guess we need a marketing person, lol. People are really not willing to pay very much for pumpkins. And the stores charge WAY too little for them!

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Grass is visible on road around the garden (far right) after last week’s rains