May on the farm – baby steps and giant leaps

undefined Mixed tulip bunches in April

April was a month of very warm and sunny weather and everything grew including the weeds. Everything except the sickly biennials and hardy annuals which had been laying under water all winter. And although it’s heartbreaking they are being ripped out and replaced. The soil in the beds has suffered and is in desperate need of being turned over and fed. We are moving ahead laying weed control fabric over a lot of the old flower field in preparation for planting a large amount of perennials for cut-flower production. Delphinium, achillea, eryngium and scabious are already in. Our youngest, Jack, has proven to be a whizz at using a hand-held blowtorch to burn planting holes in the fabric and finishes a row in half of the time it takes any one else.

The new acre out back is filling up nicely, all of the first sowings of hardy annuals are in and soon it will be time for the half-hardies to go out. As I write we are due one more round of colder weather and frosts.

We’ve finally managed to get the shepherds hut workroom home and into the field. It was given to us by my father in law. Already it is making a huge difference to my productivity as flowers can come straight from the field to the hut for processing and all of my floristry and wrapping tools are there which speeds up the process immensely. I’ve bought a solar panel for the roof of the hut, so I’ll also be able to have electricity down there too.

And as my eldest and his girlfriend are with us for the lockdown they have tackled a task which has been upsetting me. They have taken apart and scrapped all of the broken and twisted polytunnel frames and cleared the ripped covers away from the field so we can finally get on and tidy the area where the polytunnels once stood. I’d love to get on and replace the tunnels straight away but we have decided to upgrade to a much larger polytunnel and I will need to move some shrubs and perennials for this to happen so we’ll have to wait until October. Still that will be just in time for planting up the polytunnel crops for early blooms next year and overwintering stuff.

Sales wise it has been amazingly busy, I get several daily requests for buckets of flowers from florists and the shop in town has been selling out of bunches, sometimes only an hour after I’ve delivered them. I can’t grow enough to meet the demand and other local growers and British flower wholesalers are in a similar situation. We are working closely with other flower growers and suppliers in the area to expand and streamline our operations. This year may have started off in the most disastrous way, but I am hopeful for the future.

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