April Update

anniew(4-5/PA)April 2, 2006

Another month has rolled around. Is everyone getting excited and creative in their choices for the season?

On my part, I am downsizing the number of different things I'll be growing, as I've taken on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project with a nearby gardener/friend, so we have to give priority to veggies and a few fruits. Eggs and cut flowers were options, but of the 32 members, only two selected flowers. That was a slight disappointment, but the flowers will go to the farmers market.

I'm limiting myself to growing sunflowers, zinnias, celosia, statice, ageratum, millet, and perennials that I already have. I have ordered a few more lilies and glads, and also have dahlias to re-plant.

I'm a little behind in starting some things, both flowers and veggies, so now it is time to get serious.

What is everyone else doing? Please include your zone...I'm 5, occasionally 4.


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The beginning of April here in Southern Oregon has been pretty dismal from a weather point of view. I have been feeling like the ceiling (sky) has been sitting on my shoulders practically and giving me a huge pain in the neck. I wish the sun would shine. I have finished building 14 new raised beds and started planting out my perfect little beauties. These include Larkspurs, Snaps, Celosia, Dianthus, Statice, Clary Sage. Other stuff waiting in the greenhouse wings for hardening off. I have another 6 30 x 4' beds waiting for weed fabric and planting in the upper part of the garden. This will be my first season at market. I am hoping that next year, I will already be at market due to having a hoophouse and tulips and daffs, but who knows seeing as how this is all done solo. I am excited to be going to market. I will also be selling directly from my farm two or three days a week depending on how much product I actually have. I am going to be selling some veggies and fruit as well as flowers but they dont appeal to me nearly as much as flowers but they do sell. Thanks for being out there. Grow well and prosper!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 8:30PM
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bluestarrgallery(zone 7 GA)

Zone 9 Sierra foothills California and we have gotten more rain here in the last month than all winter long. The ground is squishy with little creeks popping up everywhere. We had put in a lot of drainage when we moved here and now we are glad we did - otherwise we would have had lots of standing water.

Ann, the weather here kind of put a damper on some of my plans and I was late starting my annuals - maybe that was a good thing due to all the rain - now I have to kick into high gear.

Misskitty from the number of beds you have, I bet you'll have a ton of flowers.

Today I got nine trays of perennial plugs to plant. Most of my raised beds are prepared with weed fabric but I still had a couple more beds to prepare and now the topsoil is too wet to mix with the compost for the other beds - hopefully we get some dry weather soon.

Each tray of plugs was packed with 100's of styrofoam pieces and I had to hand pick all the pieces out in order to water the plants. I have never gotten plants packed that way before. I am missing one tray too - but hopefully it will come tomorrow.

I was going to convert my vegetable bins to dahlias but have decided to put perennials in there too and plant dahlias next year - Ednie has a $250 minimum and I didn't have the ground prepared to put in that many more plants.

I am hoping to open my farm up for the first time within the next month to sell direct from here.

I did get weed fabric and gravel around my raised bins and grapes and they look much neater. Hopefully this will reduce weedeating during the hot months of summer.

Happy flowering to all.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 9:38PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Ann, here's what I did to increase flower memberships for my sister's CSA. Early in the season, once, when I had tulips that weren't enough to take to market, and once again when I had plenty of extra flowers in summer, I made extra bouquets for the CSA customers who hadn't taken the bouquet option. My sister gave them out, for free, with the veggie boxes. The following year, more of those CSA customers chose the bouquet option. Oh, and one customer who didn't have the bouquet option hired me to do her wedding flowers, on the example of just the one free bouquet!

As for what's happening here, I have two packages to pick up at the post office as soon as I get off this computer. They are probably asparagus crowns, strawberry plants, or seed potatoes, since I'm expecting all three of those things any day. Unfortunately, it's raining cats and dogs and has been all night, so there's no way I can plant them today - the soil is too sodden. Nor can I prep the beds. The asparagus bed is already prepped, but the other two first need to have some exhausted and diseased tulips dug out, and some minor soil amendment. I'm in love with my digging fork (thank you, lizalily!). Using it, I got the tulips out of the bed intended for asparagus FAST.

It's been cold and showery to rainy pretty constantly for the last few weeks, but that's normal for here and now. Drainage is a fine art here. We got an inch or so of snow last week in a lovely snowstorm, with lots of fat flakes drifting prettily down, but it was melted again within hours.

I've found that I'm unable to cut down the amount of flowers as low as I should. Somehow I have to find space for an extra 70 glads I just couldn't do without (that's in addition to the 70 already planted). That doesn't sound like much to you pros, but it's pretty silly for someone who isn't selling! I've eliminated some pepper plants to make some room, but need more. And here I think I'm going to grow enough veggies to feed us this year! Maybe if we ate the glads..... (Yes, I'm joking, I don't know whether glads are edible or not).

I started several flats of seed last night, the yearly Cape daisies (Venidium fastuosum) for my boss, amaranths Opopeo and Love-Lies-Bleeding, statice, some peppers. Also put some Costa snaps seed in the fridge. Dianthus seedlings and a few greenhouse snaps are growing well, already planted in the greenhouse, as are lettuces and radishes. On heat, and under lights in the house are peppers (just about ready to plant out), sunflowers, basil, tomatoes, and parsley, all to be grown in the greenhouse, as well as Bells of Ireland and snaps for outdoors. Mache and claytonia (miner's lettuce) have just germinated in their greenhouse beds - they're so slow, I'd just about given up on them when they finally poked their cotyledons out.

Still 7-9 weeks until last frost.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 12:39PM
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heidi41(z5 Mass)

Zone 5 Massachusetts. Still way too cold here to plant anything except those early veggies for market. The greenhouse are slowly filling up with seedling that have been started under grow lights. My delivery of glads, dahlias and liatras STILL hasn't arrived. Oh well, I really couldn't plant them yet anyhow. The biennual sweet williams that we planted out last year were starting to green up until yesterday's snow. Well that certainly slowed things down. Every day I walk the field wishing to get started again.It is so hard to be patient. Last week we had 60-70 degreee days, then....it snowed. I keep myself busy by transplanting the seedlings into bigger trays as needed. HEIDI

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 4:31PM
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mbravebird(VA zone 7)

Hello all -- I'm just checking in! I'm online so sporadically these days that I'll have to catch up on all the messages. We've been trying finish renovations and move into our house/farm by the third week in April, and are not sure if that's going to happen. Actually, I KNOW it's going to be later; I just don't know how much later. The latest glitch is a well repair that leaves us without functional water until we repair it.

We are housesitting now, as we have been for many months. Our things have been in storage for almost a year. I am so ready to have a home again!! Anyhow, the way this all relates to flowers is that we are going to have to wait even later than I thought to plant all the flats of seeds I have started. I think they will be rootbound, as some of them are already, and I just have to let go of results for the moment and give it our best, calling our first year a learning year. I am disappointed, though. I was so hopeful that we would be able to start the farm on time. But in order to remain sane, we need to prioritize getting into our home. AND the good news is that I will learn a lot about flower farming, no matter what, even if I lose all my plants and just direct-seed everything. I think I just need to go with the flow, and work hard at what's before me. The name of the game this year.

Here's hoping that for the May update I'll report us being moved in and things actually being planted!!!!

Best to everyone--


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 4:42PM
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We had perfect weather for burning my native prairie plants last week and I burnt 25 acres. Now part of my land looks like a scorched black wasteland. Getting all of that thatch out of the way lets the earth warm up quicker and really sets back the cool season(dandilions, brome grass) perrenials, as well as it burns up alot of the annual weed seeds. My shrubs are due to start coming in two weeks. I've got some flats of natives that are, unfortunately, too far ahead of schedule. I guess I'll have to plant them out and hope that we dodge the frost, it's still three weeks away from our average last frost.

I have tilled an acre for my annuals and have tilled dozens of rows for all of the shrubs. My wife still has me working on the barn restoration project whenever I have a spare moment because she knows those moments are going to dissappear soon.

Just remember, you can never weed too much,


    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:32AM
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Noni Morrison

I never realized how much time-off it takes to have a daughter graduating from college! I feel so behind in everything! Just get going on things and have to run off for an awards ceremoney or something, LOL. Well, that was last weekend. Quite nice, as we flew over and back. Have to go back for graduation in 3 weeks and spend a 4 day weekend doing that then moving her to Portland.,Oregon for her career start.

Well, The daffodils are absolutely splendid this year! Planted about 2000 of them and am down to the last 800 or so....Should sell atleast half of those Tomrrow and Easter. Always sell out on Easter but we have had an ideal spring for our bulb flowers this year and so it we have plenty on hand. Up early tomorrow to finish picking the daffs, then have a number of large arrangements for churches and private orders. Will get them done early and then work all day on flowers to go at the stand. I would be over the moon if I sold out on them this year! That would pay for last years tulip crash! So far this year I have a bit of tulip fire but not bad, and
I am monitoring daily and removing any I see. Also spraying with an ammonia mix to try to change PH a bit on the French tulips who are not opening yet. Doesn't hurt and atleast it works as a fertilizer.

I love the bulbs I got from Colorblends and their Daffodil Depot cohorts!
These are the prettiest healthiest flowers I have had yet. Right now the parrot blend is blooming and they are wonderful! Can't wait for those French blend ones to open! (Probably in about a week). I cut down some wild cherry seedlings that were growing too close together for fillers and foliage for the easter bouquets.

Now I really need to get some more seeds started and my seedlings can probably go into the garden now, the ones that I have hardened off...don't know though..It is down to 35 degrees right now after a windy rainy day. Been too cold to work outside all day. Hope it warms up a bit tomorrow!

Oh yeah, all my dahlias have arrived now and need potting up...Swan Island ones just arrived today.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 1:01AM
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It never fails to amaze me, how incredibly beautiful these tiny seedlings are. Filled with such promise, just waiting for the next invitation to progress, space, sun, moisture and something delicious to eat and not forgetting lots of love. No lack of that here. I find I feel immediately peaceful and at home in my garden. The amount of work is not unsurmountable; challenging albeit, but not impossible. The dull ache in my lower back is just a reminder that it has been a successful day. I keep all those who are not as fortunate in my thoughts as I say my thank-yous each and every day. I wish the peace here was tangible, something I could box up and send to those faraway places that are in turmoil. Be well and happy and thankful friends, thankful for the persistent rain, and for the opportunity to occasionally outwit the ground squirrel and the vole, and thankful for the beautiful flowers that await amongst the tiny seedlings. Happy Easter everyone.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 10:59PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Hi everyone! I've missed the list...been out of town and way too busy! But, like all of you, I'm behind. Our north/central Oregon weather has been significantly colder than it should be. We had spitting snow on Saturday and hard frosts this morning.

But, I had to go to Kansas City last week and I emailed Lynn Buzynski and we arranged to meet at her farm! I had a wonderful time, learned alot, and certainly wished we had more time to talk flowers and flower farming!

My daffs are all picked and need to be sold, but only a fraction of my tulips came up...so, they definitely need to go in protected raised beds, so the gophers and heavy clay don't get them! By the way, Lynn B. was storing her tulips in big, long, deep solid colored rubbermaid containers in her cooler. Each bunch was wrapped in newspaper with the top folded down! I'm now taping the tops of my bunches closed too...hopefully that will work.

Like everyone, the weeds are growing faster than we can get to them due to the rain (which we need), but will make it a huge crunch of time in a few weeks!

Have a great week...
Wendy in OR

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 2:56PM
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Noni Morrison

I had an excellent Easter weekend. Sold out several times and sales only slowed down by late afternoon on Sunday. I think I paid for my daffodil bulbs. Since we are having trouble with blight on tulips we think going to using them as accents and daffs as our main flowers for spring was the way to go. Hope next year my daffs won't all bloom within 2 weeks. I am guessing they were prechilled and then were planted at the same time so all bloomed the same time. I still have some SALOME'S and someCHEERFULNESS. PIcked the first 3 of the French tulip blend today. My new tulips this year are mostly blight free but not totally. Some will still have one little spot on them when picked and can be very obvious by the time they are ready for sales.

I have a lady coming tomorrow to help me pot up excess stock for the Land Trust plant sale. I offered my extra seedlings and divisions if someone else would pot them up. This way we both win as I just never have time to do it at this time of year! Too bad I will be at youngest daughters graduation on the day of the sale. Hate missing it! But would hate even more missing watching this had working young woman graduate from college !

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 12:55AM
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honeybunny442(z6 TN)

Hi all,
Just checking in, I don't get on gardenweb very often anymore, since they changed to the new format I can't access it from my home computer, I think because I use Mozilla. I can only get on from work, which isn't too often, because they expect me to work, of all things!
hee hee.
Getting excited seeing Alliums, lilies, and ferns, and a few perennials come up. Still too cold to plant anything though!
Is anyone else completely overwhelmed with catalogs and the internet? I spend my evenings surfing interesting or odd plants and nurseries, and have a hard time buckling down and ordering! I really have a problem with focusing I guess.
For the first time I have two wholesalers who are very interested in my flowers (at least that is what they _said_ in Dec). As my flower biz is just me, myself, and I, it would be so much easier just to sell the flowers that way. I really miss the USDA Ornamental list, too. I'm never sure on what to charge- don't want to undercut myself but don't want to lose sales because they are too expensive, either. Last year we ended up throwing a lot of flowers away or basically giving them away.
Ah, got some Salal (lemon leaf) roots off ebay for $1 each and am going to give them a try...
And that is it from here in WI...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 1:58PM
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Noni Morrison

Susan, I use firefox for my web browser and have no trouble getting on Garden web. maybe you just need to go in like a newcomer and sign on and then save it to a bookmark. ThAt is what I do. I use a mac.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 12:09AM
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