How is your season going?

Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)July 5, 2009

Hello everyone,

With the economy as it is this year, how are you all doing? It's a bit of a challenge here with the cool start we've had, more than adequate moisture and lack of sunshine. I'm not complaining about the rain, we had a drought last year, but these conditions are making it a less than ideal growing season. The bugs are also in their glory this year, mainly earwigs. I'm finding the market a bit slow to kick off as well. Just wondering if any of you are experiencing any of these challenges and set backs, or us Nova Scotians are just lucky! It can always be worse though so I'm hanging in and hoping for a sunny week.

Cheryl

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all_bout_flowers

I'm in the same boat as you. I have gone a whole month without enough flowers to sell and now the aphids, earwigs and thrips are munching or sucking on everything. For earwigs I came up with something that works real well. Put a stake right up to the plant in the foliage if possible as to look like it's part of the plant they are munching on, maybe a little shorter than the plant, then put one of those black 2"X 2" pots you get starts in upside down on top of the stake. Every morning 6 a.m. with your cup of coffee in hand go out and lift the pot carefully as to not drop any of the little bugs on the ground, they will be all tucked up in the pot or sitting on the stake; then smash or whatever you'd like to do to them. Next morning repeat, etc. My plants over the last two weeks have looked so much nicer without bug bites in them. The pot also makes a nice home for beneficial insects.
Good luck

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 7:51PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

My season is going horribly! Our market has been open for two weeks and I haven't even gone. I have nothing. It has rained here for so long and so much, no sun, no heat, no blooms. The blooms on the perennials all looked like wet tissues.

I help a woman sell vegetables at another market, and I had a bouquet or two to bring to that one, but I haven't bothered setting up my stand at my market. I know I should, and I know I should scrounge something, ANYTHING, to keep my market presence, but in addition to the lousy season I've been dealing with health issues, so to be honest, I just can't be bothered to do all that work for just a few things.

I'm hoping in a week or two things will pick up. I cut some beautiful rudbeckias today, and had one nice daisy - seems the oriental beetles haven't gotten to them yet like they usually do, although I know they've arrived - I killed a few today and have been picking them out of my hair, so they're here, but maybe I can get a few daisies and coneflowers before they get to them!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 9:10PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Yep, mine is slow too. I have only sweet Williams to sell so far, though my first Highland White Dream daisies are finally opening up. I'll probably be able to sell a few at the next market. My first planting of bachelor buttons was chomped, though the bugs haven't otherwise been too bad here.

We also haven't had the rain that some of you have had, just lots of cool weather.

ThinMan

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 8:43AM
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Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)

Very nice to hear from all of you. Sorry you are having a less than ideal season thus far, lets all hope this turns around soon, but doesn't dry out too much! We are 47 degrees here this morning, but we had beautiful sunshine yesterday and the flowers looked gorgeous. I grow a lot of perennials and they look good, minus the bugs of course. However I find that they aren't as big a seller as the annuals, just very handy fillers. Last Saturday we had thunder storms so I didn't do the market. I had 12 buckets of cut. I went to an indoor market instead and did very poorly. I knew this year would be "iffy" with the economy as it is, and selling a luxury item, not a neccesity.
All about flowers,
thanks very much for the ingenious tip on earwigs. I'll be setting those up today. I lose so many dahlia blooms to those bugs and I could sell dahlias to the florist if they weren't full of holes. Good luck to everyone,
Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 6:50AM
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Pudge 2b

My season is going quite well, despite the weather. At the moment peonies are still my main cut - I already have enough cut for next week's market - and they are going to be teamed up with spirea blooms, lady's mantle, baby's breath, velvet curtains amaranthus, campanula, and sweet william. Some will have Cerinthe and I see a few Snapdragons may be ready. I may be able to manage a few lily bouquets by the end of the week. The weather has gone from a cool spring into a cool summer - the temp was very near frost just on Friday night.

To get me to market earlier in the season, I've been selling container rock gardens and herb gardens, and gallon sized herbs, tomato and hot pepper plants. All have been good sellers and I will increase the amount of container gardens next year, especially the herb gardens. I also have potted asiatic lilies - my cost including the bulb, soil and pot was about $1.50 and I'm selling them for $7. I take them to market when the buds are fat and coloured and they sell quickly.

So far the bouquets I've taken to market have sold out within the first hour or two so I definitely could sell more if I had the flowers ready.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 10:50AM
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Noni Morrison

I am having a much better season then last year. I would say people are feeling more optimistic, or maybe my flowers are just prettier then last year. Its been cool and grey interspersed with a few hot days. Yesterday 86, today 57 with thunderstorms. I get a few fried leaves and rose petals on the hot days but mostly I can just pick them off. Have 4 weddings lined up so far, two done over the 4th of July and 2 in August. THe last one is my son's.

Asters,sweet peas and snapdragons are just starting for me. I lost a lot of just set out starts when I was gone for a week in June and my guys did not water often enough. Once the dahlia kick in full force It will be OK.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:09PM
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Fundybayfarm(z5westernN.S.)

I'm happy to hear the slow sales are not everywhere. My flowers also look gorgeous this year, these are great conditions for the perennials and the stem length has never been longer. But people around here just don't seem to be buying any "extra's. I notice the vendors selling food or veggies are doing fine, but flowers are moving a bit slower. We had our first sunny market, an absolutely gorgeous day and the market was quite busy but lots of vendors have added flowers to their table. Not the same as I sell, but still there were more flowers than usual. I'm trying to think of other ways to sell my bouquets.
Pudge,
What size containers are you selling your asiatics in? You must have a very good source for getting pots to keep your cost down like that, or else supplies are just way more expensive here. Is that one bulb per pot?
What is the average stem count in your bouquet's and how much do you sell them for? Most all of mine have lilies in them and anywhere from 17-20 stems total. I get lots of compliments but it's definitely slower this year. The last couple of years I would be sold out by 11:00 or at least noon and would take 25-30 bouquets with me. Last Saturday I only sold half of what I took. I hope it picks up soon.
Cheryl

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 7:06AM
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Pudge 2b

Cheryl, the asiatics are 1 bulb in 1 gallon blow mold containers that I ordered from a horticultural supply (found it online) and with shipping they cost me $0.50 per container. The bulbs were 100 bulbs for $0.75 each from Costco online, includes shipping. You get 10 bulbs of 10 different varieties and no choice in the varieties. I ordered them last year for my own yard & cutting, and they are beautiful, healthy stock in a variety of colors. So I figured another $0.25 for soil and I fertilized once.

My bouquets vary - at this time of year they are not as overflowing as later in the season when I have plenty of flowers to use up. Last week's bouquets were about 15 stems (3 peony stems + various filler) and I have one price only, $10 for any bouquet. I have a fair number of repeat customers and at the moment I'm the only flower vendor. It's a lake area with weekend cottagers.

A little extra touch - perhaps it would work for you - I print up small cards with 'tips for keeping your bouquets fresh' (clean vase, out of the sun, etc) and include the home made preservative recipe. I don't use sleeves, but each bouquet is in a little bag of water to get them home still nice and fresh.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 6:39PM
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