Sunday, February 9, 2014

Still Here!

I realize that is has been almost 7 months since I last updated this blog, but we are still here- and that in Oklahoma is an accomplishment! We have been extremely busy building a new greenhouse -this one is made out of 2 inch steel- and filling it with thousands of plants, bulbs, and flat after flat of starts. My talented husband has also designed a novel aquaponics system which we are trying out with roses for the cut flower market...more on that later.
 November 9th

Last Fall we invested heavily into turning much of the property around our house into growing fields for cut flowers, into to these we planted 2,400 tulips and daffodils and 390 peonies. Here it is February 9th and they are just now poking their heads up through the snow. I can't wait for the carpet of beauty that I have been imagining all Winter! The Peonies of course will not have any marketable stems until next year but maybe a few blooms will open this year -just so that I can look at them and smell their heavenly are not supposed to cut them in their second season from planting, they need to be undisturbed until their third season if you want several years of good yields of gorgeous dinner plate sized peony flowers.
After several hours of backbreaking trenching with a shovel, we got smart and used the tractor.
Like eggs in an egg carton!

Alden the serious with an amazing work ethic!

 As far as potted peonies are concerned: I just received a shipment of large tubers from Holland last week, and they are now available for sale to be planted this Spring or to be held over (recommended) in the pot until a Fall planting in October or November. Tubers are $24.95 for red, pink, and white varieties. Yellow Bartzella with it's huge lemon scented fluffy yellow flowers is $38.95. It is a prolific and early maturing bloomer and in it's second year often will produce upwards of 70 blooms per plant! These can be sold at your local farmers market for about $4-5/stem.

It has been one of the coldest Winters ever here in Oklahoma and across more than 2/3 rds of the United States. We were not able to finish the heating system for the greenhouse and so transformed my husband's home office into a growing room with shelves of grow lights and heat mats in every available space. We have started more than 5,000 seeds this way, and intend to start still another 5,000 or so as we closely follow the growing calendar that I spent many months creating. We are growing Delphiniums, Stock, Dianthus, Lisianthus, Rudbekia, Sweet Peas, Calendula, Pansies, Begonias, Roses, Petunias, Foxglove, Butterfly Bush, Dusty Miller, Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Pumpkins, Snapdragons and Geraniums....and it is only February 9th! We still have thousands of more Snapdragons to plant, Sunflowers, various bulbs, Peonies, more vegetables, Campanula, Gladiolus, Zinnias, Dahlias...and many many more that I cannot remember right now. Also in March 2000 strawberry starts will need to be planted for our u-pick berry field in orderly rows of plastic covered raised beds. I adore strawberries and am very excited to grow them again, this will be our third year trying to grow strawberries...or any berry for that matter!

This is our first year growing Sweet Peas Flowers and we discovered just how fast they grow! We planted the seeds without soaking or scarifying into 288 cell flats, covered them with plastic domes, and put them on 70 degree heat mats. 7 days later they sprouted, within three days of sprouting they had to be transplanted because they were 4 inches tall! We transplanted them in to 5" deep pots on trays and placed 15 trays of them (18 pots/tray) onto the living room floor because it is still too cold in the greenhouse for them. Lol. We have watched them in awe as they have grown more than an inch per day until they were 10 inches tall and starting to flop over. So I pinched them (cut the stems to the first leaf node above the soil), this will encourage stronger and bushier stems and will likely produce a better plant for cut flowers. I plan to put these babies into the ground this week in the greenhouse if the weather warms up. I will be using lovely and inspirational fellow flower farmer Erin's method from to grow. Her blog has been the best guide ever to growing the various varieties of flowers and I am indebted to her for life! Her blog is truly eye candy and very uplifting and inspiring when I am feeling a touch overwhelmed. Here is a link to her wonderful post on sweetpeas. and of course a picture to lend a flame to your Spring fever! Lol.