Introducing the Perfect Flower

So it turns out we have been growing flowers for ten years now and that is a while.  We have raised lilies, glads, snapdragons, asters and all manner of zinnias and sunflowers. We have learned about selling to florists, wholesalers and farmer’s market customers.  We have brought flowers to weddings and parties and some of our flowers have even found their way to the White House. We have dried them, made wreaths and filled our dining room table countless times with abundant bunches.  But I feel like the super simple blue cornflower on the long delicate stem is the best …

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Hurricanes, Elections and Croup (oh my!)

I want so much to make this little blog shine but I seem to be stumbling and falling over dozens of distractions and writing hurdles, large and small.  I will have to develop new strategies to keep writing even when it gets hard.  No need to leap hurdles gracefully when there are ways to crawl underneath, sneak around, or knock them down. Here are 7 reasons my blog has been so quiet this fall: 1) We all had colds by many names: croup, regular colds, bronchitis, possible sinus infections. I lost lots and lots of sleep and spent what would …

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Bringing in the Heavy Hitters

When I wrote, Eulogy to a Greenhouse in February I promised to add updates as we built our new greenhouse.    In the past few weeks, we have made some progress and the new structure is taking shape. We now have all of the side bars in place and more than half of the top bars.   The side pieces actually went in very easily thanks to the awesome High and Heavy Hitter made by (I love the company name)Wheatheart that we were able to rent from our local extension office. If you like machines you can click on this link to see a …

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Potato Planting

It is always an event when my husband teams up with a neighboring farmer to break out this restored antique potato planter that actually works amazingly well.  They are pulling it with a small tractor. The machine digs a trench, drops the potatoes in and covers them up all in one pass.  They are planting fingerlings and purple potatoes today. It is great fun to watch this machine in action, and the children found it especially fascinating. Since we used to plant potatoes by hand and know what a slow process that can be, it is a bit miraculous to watch …

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First Green

If you look closely at this picture you can see thin, green lines of sugar snap peas coming up in the beds.  Even though the germination looks pretty good, we are a long way from harvest.  These tiny shoots are very attractive to deer and groundhogs and now that they have emerged from the soil, we need to scramble to protect them. It’s hard to imagine that if all goes well, in just a couple of months these plants will be tall enough to require six feet of trellis which we will piece together from old tomato stakes and flower netting.  …

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Toto, we are not in Connecticut Anymore

As  a displaced New Englander, this fuchsia Camellia that is flowering outside my kitchen window seems unreal with its abundant display of bright pink flowers.  Once a local master gardener stopped by and remarked that this is as far north as this species could possibly survive and the tree would be much happier south of Richmond.  He pointed out that it was carefully planted many years ago in the warmest and most protected corner of the yard. When I look these blossoms, I feel like I am far away in the tropics or at least the deep south.  It is …

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Last Taste of Winter

In dozens of ways, we are gearing up for spring on the farm.  We are signing people up for our CSA, caring for trays of seedlings, preparing the ground for planting, popping onion sets into the cold soil, building a new hoophouse and seeding trays in the chilly hoophouse.  At the same time, we are enjoying the last of the winter as spring weather is making a slow and faulty entrance.  Last week, we had a dusting of snow on our daffodils and our winter coats are still in easy reach. The farm pace is not yet frenetic and we …

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Perfect Weather for Plowing

It can be mesmerizing to watch a plow pull through the soil, revealing the darker earth beneath and with that hope for an awesome farm season and possibly a buried treasure. This weekend, we took advantage of the combination of a long weekend and unusually perfect weather for plowing.   The moisture was just right in the soil and the tractor was recently tuned up for spring. There have definitely been years when we have not been this lucky.  There can be many hurdles to getting the beds plowed in time for spring planting.  If the ground is too wet, you …

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Fashion Week with Work Boots

Post by Cheryl Corson I left home just before 7am Wednesday for a 2 hour drive south to Sandy’s Plants near Richmond, Virginia. Sandy McDougle is a retired school teacher with a slight Southern twang, whose 35 acre family home has grown in her retirement to accommodate one of the finest perennial growing facilities in the region. All the well-known retail garden centers around DC get at least some plants from Sandy’s. I use them for my clients, and for our own place outside the city. Sandy and her Sales Manager Elise host some events in the spring and fall …

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Eulogy to a Greenhouse

The weather is starting to warm up and it is time for hibernating farmers to wake up from a winter slumber and get back to work.  Yesterday, we kicked off the season by taking down the remainder of our collapsed greenhouse (technically it was a hoophouse because it was covered in soft plastic). We used the greenhouse for 5 years on our farm.  It provided warmth for early and late tomatoes and strawberries and sheltered giant rosemary and lavender plants in the winter.  Over the years, we harvested thousands of pounds of full sized tomatoes and hundreds cases of our …

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