The flowers that you see on the stand all come right from the farm. That process starts with buying seed and ends with being displayed at your home! So today I am going through the “life of the flower” explaining what goes into getting that seed to your vase!
During the late fall months, the seed catalogs start to arrive. Each year it seems that I have to order seeds earlier and earlier because of the limited supply. That is a good sign, people are gardening again! I review tons of catalogs and online shops to find the seeds that I will grow for the next season. It is always a mix of the tried-and-true flowers, and some new test flowers to see if they will fit in at the farm. This year I am growing asters and lisianthus both for the first time. I am really excited to see how they grow in the farms hardiness zone, 6a.
The seeds start arriving shortly after Christmas and I organize them all by the month that I need to start them in. Some seeds need to be started as early as January 1st (I am looking at you Eucalyptus)! I use a shelving and growlight set up. The seeds are planted into trays filled with soil and put under lights to grow until they can be moved outside. This year I have started thousands of plants under two sets of shelving units. They then move from the lights out to my mini greenhouse and then out to the field for their final planting area.
Every variety of flower has different needs. Some like moist soil, some hate having wet roots, some germinate with light, some need darkness. It takes time and practice to remember and do what each variety needs, and I can say each year I learn something new about seed germination.
Most of the plants will not get planted out until sometime in May. The weather in our area is just too unpredictable to chance planting tender plants out any earlier. Once the seeds are ready to be moved outside, I plant them into weed barrier. This is a black reusable plastic that is laid on the ground and stapled in. This helps to mitigate the weeds but is not a cure all. Countless hours are still spent weeding the beds to make sure the flowers have the best growing conditions.
Once the flowers are planted, I work on putting up support netting or string. As the flowers grow taller, they need to be supported in case of wind or other weather events. This helps to get longer, straighter stems.
The next step is a waiting game. I try to plan so that each week of the growing season something is ready to be harvested, but that does not always work. Sometimes the weather causes flowers to come early or late. It all depends. Once the flowers reach maturity and are ready to be harvested, I get our floral cooler ready and fill buckets. This year will be the first season I have a real cooler to hold flowers in. I am so excited and appreciative to Kyle for working long nights to get something built for me. The buckets are filled with clean water and then I go through and hand harvest every flower that we sell. These flowers then go into the cooler until they are ready to be bunched and put out for sale.
I clean the stems, stripe the leaves, and cut the stems before put the sleeve on the flowers and putting them back into display buckets. They then go out on the flower stand and await to be picked for their new home!
There is a lot of behind the scenes work that is done on a flower farm, but it is work I am so passionate about. I am profoundly grateful that I have supportive customers that appreciate the homegrown beauty that I offer at Barn Blooms. I hope to see you at the stand this year!