Changes for 2006

anniew(4-5/PA)September 3, 2005

Although we haven't finished this season yet, it is certainly a good time to record changes we foresee for next year while the good, the bad and the ugly are still fresh in our minds.

What things do you see changing either in your mix: additions, subtractions, total eliminations, or new varieties to try.

I expect to increase my zinnias by about 3 times. And will make more effort to plant sunflowers on a regular basis, either every week or ten days. Even if I can't sell them all retail, I'll hook up with florists and/or wholesale florists to sell more...or do a second farmers' market.

I'll go back to actively planting glads, as I had a hiatus due to the thrips problem last year. The volunteers that overwintered in the ground were a nice addition to the mix, and people have asked for them this season.

My biggies, sunflowers, zinnias, glads and lilies will get more attention so that I can really do a bang-up job of growing them, then plant a few (half dozen) other, smaller plants for filler and color such as Neon Duo, Blue Horizon, more statice and loads more Purple Majesty.

I'm planting more forsythia for greens and have loads of solidago for filler.

I need to get my perennials in the ground soon (those that didn't sell as potted plants) so that they can add to my diversification next year.

Of course, I'll try a couple of new things, including Hot Biscuits (is that the right name?) just to add a little spice to things.

Anyone else been re-thinking their priorities for 2006?


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Bob_Piper(NE Oklahoma)

Hello Ann!
I am currently drooling over a fantastic bulb catalog and planning on trying tuplips and maybe a few daffodils in baskets for next year.
My lilies did great this year but I needed the blooming staggered a lot more so next season I want to have the shipment of them staggered so I can stagger the planting and still have stems to sell later in the Summer. My florist customers can't get enough of them. I assume that if I order soon Gloeckner will stagger the shipment as I will request.
The zinnias went well this year and the green ones were appreciated by my customers as I had hoped so there will be more next year.
I want to try some more different sunflowers next season. The Pro Cuts did great for me this year in one bed but the Strawberry Blondes in another location were pretty much devastated by grasshoppers and (I think) deer. The earliest of these S.Blondes to bloom did well however. My customers liked them. I have more Pro Cuts coming on right now but they won't be ready til after mid-October. We'll see how that works.
On my "to try" list are single tuberose, peonies, and, somewhere down the road, hydrangeas.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 11:59AM
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while the good, the bad and the ugly are still fresh in our minds.

Would this also include the 5% of market customers who drove us absolutely crazy this season? In the years we have been doing markets, we have observed some extremely "high maintenance" people. Generally, they fall into a specific age bracket. And, no they are not the ones in their 20s, 30s, or 40s.

Anyway, one change we forgot to make early this season was make the rows between the zinnias 48" and not 38." The plants get so big and start hogging the space where we need to be walking in order to cut these "workhorses." Zinnias are also a flower that I never though I could put with dahlias. Customers want them together though. I have forced myself to do it.

And, we must have more grasses.

Other than that, I think I'll have to post later on this. All our young help have gone home to their respective states. Two of the people who work on the farm are busy with county fair preparations. And, my son, who worked on the farm and markets this season, is leaving in just a few short days. Yesterday he raised his right hand and pledged to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies both foreign and domestic.... He's a fine young man with two young children. We're proud of him and his decision, and grateful for the time he has given working on the farm since last April. It's bittersweet. Life is full of changes.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 8:59AM
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Flowerfarmer, I know what you mean about high maintenance. There have been 2 or 3 customers at the FM that I really could do without. They are extremely time consuming and picky. We have a line usually of 10 to 15 which gives them time to know which colors and flowers they want and ask any questions. I can't complain too much though.

On to your Son, we need more people like him. When I signed up 21 years ago it just seemed like the thing to do. Now it seems we want to blame and bad mouth everything and everybody without moving off the couch. I have told my kids service is one of the keys to life. Whether it be volunteering for a youth organization, church group, local civic duties, or military I think every American needs to do something from age 10 to 100. Now off the soap box.

All, I am just starting to go through the catalogs and notes to see what changes I need to do next year. The big ones I know of already are adding 2 new hoophouses and 30 curly-willow in the cutting gardens. More to follow. Bryan

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 10:30AM
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Noni Morrison

Well I know I need more flowers for fall...the period right now. And I meant to have them but they baked in the early heatwave and I never caught up with replanting,...also had a cooler then normal summer so what I did plant was slow to come on.

I know that I want to plant a lot more of the mixed queenie hollyhocks. They are wonderful bouquet flowers! I only found the mixed colors one place. Germania only lists the Queenie purple. Not sure where I found them! WIll ahve to chekc las years orders.

I too need more grasses. And more zinnias and larkspur. I need to move some of my dahlias to a spot with more daylong sun or else cut down some trees.

I am happy with my new stand and location and look forward to continueing business there.

I may have my adopted daughter's identical twin sister coming from Korea to learn English this winter so that is going to mean that winter goes by real fast! The girls are 24 and have not seen each other since they were almost a year old. We are so excited about this! Daughter is in her last year of college about 300 miles away from home so it is going to be interesting. We are hoping she comes about Thanksgiving time so they can spend their winter holidays together. So that is my "Service" for this year :-)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 12:55AM
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Your notes sound like mine, except I need much more filler than you mention, and I did grow "hot biscuits". They took forever to be tall enough, but am using them now in my sunflower bouquets, and they look great. I'll have to post a list later, of the "goods and bads" of the season, and I hope to start doing the farmers market. I have another idea for the town closest to me, if I can get permission from the town. I have a little more nerve this year, that comes with more sales, and more flowers. I still don't have enough to do everything I want to do, and will have many more questions for flowerfarmer. But all and all, I feel this has been a good year. I actually PAID FOR IT ALL this year, and am now in the profit zone. I'm feeling pretty good about that, since it's just my second year. But I sure don't have it all figured out yet, I just know that I absolutely love what I'm doing, and hope I can continue. I'll let you all know how the farmers market goes.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 5:31PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Well - what I've decided so to eliminate my stock (I love it, but could use the space more profitably), rattail statice, and grow a smaller amount of cutting ageratum. The gomphrena planted in lightweight weedcloth is doing great, as are the snaps, tithonia, and perennials. The strawflowers don't appear to like it as well. I want more dahlias, lilies (staggered plantings in crates over the tulip beds), staggered plantings of suns, more zinnias, larkspur, lime nicotiana, amazon neon dianthus, more of something...not sure what! I have the right amount of glads, crocosmia, solidaster, yarrow, rudbeckias, feverfew, perennial scabiosa, caryopteris, buddlea, and peonies I think...need more greenery/woodies, phlox, veronicastrum, eremurus, campanula. I have new echniacea plants, haven't cut from them yet, so can't evaluate yet. I need to continue to amend the soil, get on the weeds earlier, hire someone for more than 20 hours, figure out a better irrigation filtration system (so someday I can use drip -- I tell customers its not mildew, but glacial silt from Mt. Hood!), and maybe get more sleep!!

I'm sure I'll think of more as we progress through the end of the year!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 5:46PM
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Jeanne_in_Idaho(z5 N.Idaho)

Well, the changes I was planning to make included ripping out all the tulips (they're diseased) and not getting any more, just giving up on the money-losing early markets, not planting any artemisia next year (I found I just don't use it any more), getting more glads in purple and red and getting rid of about a thousand other glads, but things have changed. Now I'm trying to get rid of at least 90% of absolutely everything, and re-planting the remaining 10% in my raised beds, to make the transition from market gardener to private gardener. Then there's picking up all the weed-control fabric and drip tape system from the field I'm trying to abandon, so it can become pasture. This decision to go out of business has actually made MORE work for me in the short term, in order to have less work eventually. And, omigod, I haven't even thought about what to do with all the seeds I have!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 7:01PM
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I have to do some serious planning to make the most of my rows, and get the plants in the most advantageous spot for maximun growth and productivity. Shade is not something I have a lot of, and that always seems to be a problem. I am still undecided on growing flowers for drying, and may forget that whole thing. I don't think that succesion planting would do me any good on my suns, because we could get a frost at any time in Sept.,(usually the end) and I am just now at the end of my cutting. I plan on switching back to State fair zinnias, it was probably just the year, and Benary's would have done better in a better year, but the state fairs were incredible last year. I'm not planting any more cleome, I just can't stand the smell, and I doubt anyone else could either. I have enough glads, maybe a few more of certain colors, and the lilies should be enough too, however, I need to read up on them and see what I can do to get more height. Jeanne, did you grow them in the field too, or just your hoop house? I've been hesitant about adding bonemeal to the soil for fear of racoons digging up my bulbs. Spring is still my big problem, after the tulips bloom, there is a lull before anything else of great numbers or significance comes. I can't for the life of me get doronicum to get high enough, and am ready to rip it out. I do love painted daisy but don't have much that I really like with it. The middle of July through now is definitely my best selling time. Amazon neon is a real trooper and will always plant that, and I was equally impressed with the per. dianthus I planted last year, super duplex mix. It drew a lot of attention to my field. I'm also giving up on pink clary, blue angel salvia, zinnia, "envy", choc./orange rudbeckia, stock, annual phlox, white obedient plant, shasta "alaska" and any lupin. I know all of you out west love them, but they don't sell here worth a darn.
When I get more organized, and toward the end of things, I'll post a much more sensible list of what I will and won't plant next year. Sorry about the rambling.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 4:27PM
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I know you've made a decision, but wonder if this is the right time of year to do that. Everyone is mostly burned out. Maybe you should only give away 50 percent of your stuff, so that you could have a shortened season next year. Maybe cut out half your growing, and increase nursing by one day a week. Then you'd make more money and still be doing the growing that you love...but still think this is NOT the time of year to decide. Good luck either way, and you MUST continue to help all of us whatever you do!

I think succession planting of suns is vital if you use single stems but maybe not with branching types. When I succession, I also start one or two successions in the greenhouse early so that I can get an earlier harvest, but then plan to plant maybe 10 successions or more, one every 7-10 days. I also usually gamble on a late fall frost, as the cost of the seed is worth the gamble. Did you check the other thread about was it worth it to plant suns late?

Wendy: do you seed your larkspur in the fall so it germinates in the spring, or wait until spring?

I think I'm more excited about next year than finishing up this one! Ann

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 8:05PM
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I am continually expanding my gardens, so there will be many changes for me next year. I lost several trees last year, pulled the stumps this spring and found that instead of a very shady area, it now gets full sun. I am slowly making this a cutting garden. I want to expand on the flowers I always grow and try some new ones, but first I must "harvest" all of the rocks, it is probably 50% river rock and so hard to dig up! Anyone need some lovely river rock?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 1:35PM
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flowers4u(z6 OR)

Ann - I've tried larkspur many ways! My most successful year was three years ago, a combination of plugs planted in May along with direct seeding in May! I've tried the past two years to plant it in the fall, but am probably doing it too late! This year, I planted it through the lighterweight weedcloth and it didn't like it! I am going to try to get a fall sowing in one more time this year and we'll see...

I have trouble with succession planting suns too...I think its a colder night thing...And, the 50-60 day varieties seem to take 90+...I'm going to give up on the procut orange they-re not 50-55 days here! and they just don't hold well if you don't get them before they're too far open and my market customers like the bigger more traditional suns or the really unique ones like Chianti, Cappachino, double quick orange!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 2:43PM
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Noni Morrison

Wendy, I can't succession plant sunflowers either. MIne are just slowly blooming from a 1 June planting. I haven't had a super larkspur crop tends to be little and wimpy. I have fall planted serveral times but not gotten much from that.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 5:57PM
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I totally agree with you on starting suns early in a hoop house, and also a late planting, but as for using the field for succession plantings, I can't see where it would work, unless we have a year that the night time temps warm up early, and we have a really warm summer. This year just didn't cut it for a lot of my annuals, and the sun flowers are just now done, with not enough time for much more bloom time. I could definitely have planted maybe 2 weeks after the first planting, and will try that, but we just have a short season, period. Flowerfarmer's zone 5 is a good 3-4 weeks earlier for planting, but frost probably comes about the same time in the fall.
I also can't seem to get the results alot of you get out of larkspur. It's shorter, and the flowers are pretty small. (Is that normal?) I dried what I had, and like the way it looks, but don't have all that much. I can't seem to get this whole thing figured out with the dried flowers, and how much you need to plant. With all the bouquets and wreaths that Bryan makes, it seems like you would need at least 5-10 acres of flowers planted!
Do you make the wreaths with all fresh flowers, and then they just dry naturaly on the wreath? I sure wish I could get some lessons from you!! Maybe I should just stick with the fresh bouquets, but my season is so short, that I keep trying to think of ways to extend it.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 11:01AM
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Cheryl, It does take a few flowers, that is why I plat so close. The statice is so close we can barely walk through it. We do use them fresh and let them dry. We usually start with 2 corn tassel, blue globe or millet, purple statice, celosia, gomphrena, last white statice. Put 1 extra corn tassel every other clamp on the inside of the wreath. It really does extend the season. We sell flower wreaths all the way to Christmas.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 9:46PM
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Thanks very much for the tips on wreath making. I know nothing. I have made fir Christmas wreaths, but I use wire, so when you're talking clamps, are you talking a wreath machine of some sort? (you see, I really do know nothing)That sounds much easier. I can see where putting the flowers on fresh would be much easier to work with, as dried statice is pretty darn picky. I am a hands on person, and to watch someone do this would be most helpful, but since that's not possible, if you could just let me know about the clamps it would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 7:10AM
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Noni Morrison

OK, after having viewed Jeanne's gardening system, I have made the decison this morning that we are clearing a space about 50 by 80 feet that borders the drive and lies between the "old" cutting garden and the dahlia garden. Right now it has been maintained (If you could call it that, LOL) as part of a buffer zone (from our busy street) and native woodland. By cutting about 2 Doug firs and some dying or smallish madrone, I will gain a well draining field on the corner of my property with a 30' buffer zone of the natives I use in bouquets left between me and the road(this includes wild cherry, mahonias,a wild seedling apple, and some things with pretty fall foliage, and some big leaf maple. A walking path along the edge of the proposed deer fence will give me better access to those, and a place to plant other natives for bouquet work, like more mahonias, flowering current, etc. On the north edge inside the deer fencing will go ornamental elderberries and willows. The tulips I have ordered this fall will go in and should do extremely well with the excellent drainage and sun from the east and south. Clearing the east edge of that space will also give the dahlia garden the additional sunlight it craves! Inside the deer fencing will give me more space for roses on the fence! IT will also give me more room for the plants I seem to keep acquiring along the "Garden road"..whoooo-hoooo! OH yes, opening this space wll improve the sunlight in the cutting beds I have, and those will acquire built up raised beds added like we observed at Jeanne's house! MY hubby took copious professional engineering type notes and now understands how to do them...good winter project! I will add pipe holders for hoops to cover for winter growing, and to extend our seasons.

I highly encourage the rest of you to travel to see each other's gardens. IT made a lovely vacation for us, Jeanne and I had a blast together and our husbands got on well too. My hubby got a better understanding (That his wife isn't the only crazy one out there) and I got ideas to make mine a more profitable venture that I could manage healthwise). My favorite kind of vacation! My only regret is that Poochella had to be at work when we came through to see her dahlias!

I am always willing to entertain any Gardenwebbers traveling to the Puget Sound area too!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 12:56PM
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