Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer in the Garden

Summer Flowers


It never amazes me how hard we work through Spring for our Summer flowers.
Zinnias, Sunflowers and of course Dahlias are some of the summer flowers we are working on through Spring.


Then all of sudden you realize Spring is over when you notice its the third week of June.
Its time to look up and see what you worked on last season that is finally blooming.
Although this year it was an easy thing to happen as we had so late of frost and lots of rain.

Then all of sudden the Sping flowers are blooming.
Sweet Peas

One thing I like to do in my gardening style is grow vegetables, fruit and herbs amoung my flowers.
This is called companion gardening.


The other thing I do is grow veritcal.



You can get a lot more growing in your space if you grow up.
So when you are training your cucumbers to grow veritcally you can also think about a flower
you can grow along the cucumbers.
Such as Bachelor Bottons, or Centaurea in blue is always nice.

This gives you something pretty to look at when you walk into your garden.

The other plant  I do this with is my Dahlias and tomatoes.  The reason is they
have a lot of the same requirements.  So, this bed I am wanting to grow my Dahlias in
will get a good dose of ash from the woodstove early in the season where I have left the bed bare. This makes stronger stems in both Dahlias and Tomatoes later in the season.  Especially, since these two plants are started so far in advance.  Presprouting the Dahlias so they become plants before they go into the ground is something I practice.  Then the tomatoes also are a good size before they go into the ground.


  Just like in the picture I like to use bamboo as I love the natural look it brings to the garden.
It can be a little investment but it does last many years so your not purchasing it all the time.
Planting closely spaced plants doesn't allow the weeds to come in as easy.

Then we have mulching which is very important as you don't want your soil to bare.
This is how the nutrients that you put into your soil starts to leach out when the soil is not covered.
There are a number of ways you can mulch.
I typically use straw in my garden due to it being able to decompose and help my soil.
You can also use wood chips or leaves.
So for all you growers out there that have small spaces this is very helpful for you.

Summer flowers that just show up when it is late June is Purple Coneflowers also called
Echinacea.
Echinacea
These are perennials as they produce flowers and then go to seed.
If you want more of these then just let them fall to the ground.  If you
don't then make sure to cut them off and store the seeds.
Happy Growing!







Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chrysanthemums

Mankato
Chrysanthemum have become a flower I have started to admire.
It is now commonly referred to as "The Queen of Fall Flowers".
If your one of those people who want to preserve the history of flowers than lets learn more about heirloom flowers.
In the US the popularity of chrysanthmum has increased since its introduction in the colonial period.
Instead of buying plants lots of people traded their plants with family and friends.
Moonlight

This old system was called barting as money was always a shortage.
Over the past few years I have been buying them as plugs or commonly called little rooted plants.
They are ordered in early spring and then they arrive in late May and I then pot them up till they are well rooted.

The heirloom mums just need a little special care as the deep winter colds will kill some of your plants.  This year I am doing a little test.  I left most of my plants in the raised bed protected with a heavy frost blanket.  One plant was dug up and put in a plastic pot left in a plastic house by the house. Then a few small pots were brought into the house to see how they fare. I had planned on taking cuttings but other garden chores had grabed my attention and before you knew it the season of fall was gone.  One of the important choices is picking your site for planting as these are really treated as a perennial.
Moonlight was a new addition to the garden with its amazing yellow color.

Mankato is almost like a daisy type of flower it blooms are a little earlier in October.
The one thing I like about all these different kinds of blooms is the different types of colors and type of flowers.


When all is gone you can count on these cool loving bloomers.
The one thing you should know about this flower is it has a long growing period.
In the U.S. it has grown in popularity since its introduction in the colonial period. . 
Over the past 3 years growing Chrysanthemums has been a real joy.
I love seeing the colors come fall when all other plants have died.
As a cut flower grower I am always looking for a new perennial that I can make cuttings for more plants. Starting small is how I am growing my business.  So if there is a plant that I can grow with and learn with as the business grows.
All for the love of beautiful flowers.
 



Norton Vic



 Norton Vic is one of the new types I grew this year and what an amazing soft pink color.  The blooms did not come till mid November which was okay as everything else in the garden was already done by the frost.


Shock
 

Shock is another one of the winners this year for their amazing color in the cut flower garden.  It grew very tall so it is necessary to stake the plants.
Chrysanthum as an herbal treatment.


Whats amazing about the cut flower industry was in the late 1880's the flower industry was not real big. In 1885 I found a flower lovers journal and there is much written from a magazine called Parks Floral Magazine.  This little magazine that was a common name in households across America.  In the magazine they talk about different flowers grown from seed and other interesting flowers to grow.  The best part as people were able to write in questions about plants from Park's Florist Magazine from 1885.
I then came across this woman, Theodosia Burr Shepherd who started her own seed and bulb company. 



Theodosia Burr Shepherd 
  In Ventura, Theodosia developed the California flower seed industry, starting in 1874.  She began by swapping seeds through a ladies’ magazine.  After a few years, she expanded her property and began growing flowers for their seeds.   In 1881, she sent a package of seeds to Peter Henderson of New York, one of the nation’s leading nurserymen, who encouraged her to grow seeds and flowers in the Ventura climate. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Natural Pollinators

Sarah Raven Part Three

This is the last of the series that were sharing from Sarah Raven series on natural pollinators.
What was amazing about this series is she shows how we desperately need to start growing more plants that bees and other pollinators are attracted to. Dahlia's are one of my specialties so I was really watching to see which ones were used on this project. As the Dahlia's went into her annual wild flower mix as the one flower that was not from the seed mixture.  Of course Dahlia's are a show stopper so of course they were a winner from the polls they ran from people that came into contact with the garden.


 One of my plans is to implement a plan to go around my garden with a strip of wild flowers around the perimeter.  One of the things I think is going to help is keeping grasshoppers out of my garden.
I am hoping this will trick the grasshoppers and they won't lay their eggs inside the garden.
This has always been a problem since we moved to this old catle farm.
Here is the view from this years garden.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sarah Raven's campaign

This is part two of Sarah Ravens campaign that I found quite interesting.
The best part of this show is it has shown me that I need to be an example in my own garden.
The plan is to bring more natural pollinators to my garden since the bees are the ones who will pollinate my fruits and vegetables.
When growing cornflowers in your garden you will know this is just another flower that is going to give you an April bloom.




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Habitat for the Insects

As a grower, I have always been concerned about the natural world. 
 Many years ago when there was the big news article about how pesticides were killing off a major part of our bee population.

I began having a bigger interest in finding out how I could make a change at our farm.
Due to us buying land from an old farm where there is only grass.
 I came across this video series that I found very interesting even though it is in England, I feel we have the same issues here in the US.  Sarah Raven is a well-known author and I am so happy she has made a campaign to take some action for change.
As a flower grower, it is important we are growing a certain type of flower.  As she states the typical show stoppers they use in public flower beds the bees do not visit these flowers.
The bees have to bee able to get to the pollen so more open flowers are the answer.
Grow some annuals and perennials that will attract all types of beneficial insects.
Bee Balm is one of those flowers that do very well for this purpose.
Order some open pollinated or heirloom seed today.
This growing season let's think more about the bees.

 

Friday, March 3, 2017

New Spring Flowers

 This year my focus is to learn more about growing some new early spring flowers. 
These lovely blue flowers are called Forget Me Nots and they are a plant I am striving to produce.
The other spring flower is called Scabiosa, and both these flowers are being grown from seed.

Tall Growing Annuals
Forget Me Nots
Scabiosa








Anemones and Ranunculus are both grown from corms, the amazing part of growing these for the first time is how small they come and before you know it they have swelled and become larger than you thought possible.  Pre-sprouting is the key to the success of these two flowers, a lot of growers write about.  Although I did mine under lights and in very cool moist conditions, that was all they needed.  The last step for me was planting them in crates in very light soil conditions with homemade potting soil.  In my potting soil a fertilizer called, Catalyst Fertilizer +BioChar 7-6-6 Natural Plant Food, grit, and vermiculite, peat moss.


Anemones

Ranunculus












These plants only grow in cool weather so timing is very important.  I am very thankful to Floret Farm for her great explanations on growing these flowers I have learned so much from her and about making a business out cut flowers.
 http://www.floretflowers.com/blog/

If you want to learn about flower farming or just want to have your own cutting garden her blog has a lot of info.

I have not met her in person, but one day I hope that will happen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Geraniums


In the month of October is when the season is coming to an end,
but this is a time when I begin prepping for winter.


The first job of the season is getting the pots ready to come inside which has begun by the time October has come around.  This is actually a job I will begin in mid-September so I will
have it done by our frost date of October 20th, but is officially October clean up work.
 
The clean up of the pots begins by taking the geraniums out of the pots and trimming them by a third and rinsing the roots off.
 
 
One of the good reasons for doing this is to be rid of any insects that I don't want inside. 
The next step is to remove the old potting soil and set aside for another purpose.
Then, you will put the trimmed geranium in a new clay pot that you have cleaned, and according to its size of the new plant.
 
 Adding new potting soil is the last step before bringing your new plant inside for the winter.
Making homemade potting soil is something I like because I decide what goes into it.
 
I use this method for both types of geraniums, which are your flowering kinds that most of us know and love.

 
The second type is the scented geraniums or Pelargoniums. Now the difference between the two is one is known for its flowers and the other is grown for its leaves as they are scented. The Pelargoniums do flower but not as large and the common Geranium
Now it is time for them to come into their new home on the window sill indoors.
Don't let the warm weather of the fall fool you into not getting this task done.
The weather can change so drastically fast and then you could lose your plants.

Now, you can sit back and congratulate yourself for getting the job done before the frost date.
Enjoy a little rest.