Fast & furious fall flower harvest frenzy
Say that ten times fast! Well, twice read is enough I guess.
My first year growing cut flowers for my busy florist business is coming to an end. It’s time now to take stock of what I have learned.
Now as I begin to take notes on all of the things I need to do next season, I find myself in a frenzy, harvesting all that I can before it’s gone. You know where your passion lies when you care more about the blooms than the tomatoes. But then there’s that homemade salsa.
My flowers need to be rescued from the yearly apocalypse, otherwise known as late fall in New Hampshire. Autumn is quickly approaching and has brought us our first frosts last week. Even though I covered the flowers, the frost was good enough to nip them anyway.
I started all of these lovelies from tiny seeds in April before I had even decided on where the flower plot would be located. Some of the varieties I grew include, Trachemene(blue lace flower), Zinnias(of course), Rhudebeckia, Scabiosa, Snapdragons, Strawflower, Celosia, Cosmos and Sunflowers.
The garden area was flooded for the entire month of May and most of June. We couldn’t plow it under until late June. The flooding, paired with an exceptionally cold spring, made planting on time impossible. One consolation was that everyone else with gardens to plant were in the same boat, in this case, an arc. Needless to say, all of these flowers got a late start – a whole month late!
I know that I am in a steep learning curve with a new home, new yard, new frost dates and new animals who apparently have expensive taste…..flower connoisseurs really.
Scary eye for the fury guy
Enter the scare eye- not the stink eye, but kind of the same idea if you know what I mean. I ordered these tacky and gaudy balloons with giant reflective eyeballs to scare away the birds and rodents. It worked for the most part-except for the groundhog who always appeared almost sluggish, loafing around the cucumber patch like he was at a five star hotel.
This should be old hat!
You would think that this was my first rodeo. But no! I grew all of my wedding flowers back when I got married in 1997. I worked at a garden center managing a greenhouse and designing container gardens and was able to plant 100 feet of annuals on the edge of a field owned by the mini golf course next door. It went like a breeze. Looking back, it all seemed so easy.
Hindsight isn’t always 20/20
My memory recalls endless days of perfect sunshine during the day, raining softly only at night, verdant fields of perfectly formed blooms ready to pick for my wedding day with not a critter or bug in sight. Ya right-In your dreams missy.
I do remember all the beautiful blooms I had for my wedding day. My friend and one of my bridesmaids-Amy and I harvested and arranged all of our bouquets in 2 days. It was so much fun!
But wait. There was that pulled neck muscle. -it’s all coming back to me now. I don’t know as muscle relaxants are helpful when arranging flowers unless you combine them with beer, which is what I did.
There is so much that goes into growing flowers. The most common thought about this by the lay person is a romantic one, just like my memory. The following is a list of what really happened.
- The plowing under of sod, breaking it down, amending the soil, cultivating and initial weeding.
- Constant daily effort of raising tiny seedlings, fertilizing(with natural fish emulsion only), watering just the right amount and providing the exact amount of light and heat needed.
- Next there is preparing the flower beds, laying down soaker hoses and weed barrier fabric.
- Of course there is planting, pinching and praying the weather doesn’t destroy all of your hard work.
- Then you must fend off insects and furry guys who can devour your precious little ones while they are so tender.
Finally, after a long summer of endless toil, you get to harvest and hopefully sell enough to cover some of the expenses incurred in the first year. The most lucrative down payment is actually the knowledge that will make next year’s growing season easier.
If you are thinking about growing flowers for any reason, be prepared to work hard. When you request wedding flowers grown locally, they come at a premium that reflects all of that toil and tender loving care.