The Flower Farmer's Year
So what are we doing in the garden?
Well, new dahlia stock is being kept under cover till we harden it off from mid May and it won’t be planted out until the first of June. Anyone who’s been to any of my cut flower patch workshops here will know I am a stickler for putting in the diary garden jobs almost a year ahead. Dahlia planting out is 1st June.
I’ll sow a little more annual seed before the end of May - successional sowing is the key to a long season’s flowering. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the same cut flowers in my garden in October that I had in June. I like hotter colours to glow in the autumn. And so I’ll sow some of those hot colours in May.
And as my crops of annuals finish, I’ll whip them out and feed and mulch the soil and have a new set of seedlings to fill the space I’ve made.
Well it’s been a glorious spring - and I hope it’s going to be a glorious summer. Can it already be May? It’s planting out a go-go here, despite there being no rain to speak of. There’s a tunnel full of new dahlias waiting for the 1st June and planting out day. And in the cold frames more and more plants fattening up nicely for our charity plant sale on 6th May. And in the studio we have lots of goodies piling up for the plant sale raffle.
Plant sale? You say… I know, don’t we all love a plant sale? Well, for more info on what we’re raising money for have a read of my blog post here. And if you don’t really mind what we’re raising money for but just fancy coming alon...
Although strange urges do take one at this time of year: accepted practise is that you wait until you can feel the earth radiating heat until you sow seed directly outside.
Last year I sowed directly outside on 27th March and it was bitterly cold and I had quite a nice crop off my sowings. So this year I sowed a *little* (ahem! - read whole three ninety foot beds) seed outside in the sunshine while the long tailed tits built a nest in the Common Farm Flowers shed and the second batch of compost tea bubbled happily in the greenhouse. We’ll see if I’ve been precipitate. Certainly the larkspur and Bells of Ireland won’t mind a few cold nights to help it germinate.
I’ve also started the seedling rearrangement waltz - starting to bring trays of babies out to harden off in the shelter of the cold frames by the poly tunnel, making room for more sowings in the warmest of the greenhouses and moving tenderish babies into the cooler greenhouse.
At this tim...
You know how it is when suddenly an apparently random subject just keeps on coming up?
Well, over the past few weeks I keep on hearing people holding forth on how to maximise flower production at flower farms.
They talk of how to only grow flowers which will last weeks in vases, how to compete with huge mulitinational flower growing corporations in order to be a 'proper' flower farmer, and it seems to me that the way people try and do this is usually by de-wilding the space they have, joining a race to supply the cheapest flowers to the maximum number of people, often dunked in chemicals you wouldn't want to breathe the gas from on a daily basis...
For more on growing cut flowers for fun, for weddings and special events, and even how to be an artisan flower farmer like me, come on a workshop here at Common Farm Flowers near Bruton in Somerset.
If you can't come on a workshop here to learn more then I thought I'd start the gardening year on the blog with a few tips for making your seed order for your cut flower patch this 2016.
So here are my very favourite tips for managing the ordering and sowing of your flower seeds - which will hopefully see you grow a very successful cut flower patch this year.