Summer 2019

Hi there! It’s summer in Texas and I actually have a little time to catch y’all up on some of the things going on around the farm this spring and summer. This year has been kind of crazy with really wet weather for the first 6 months and now we are in somewhat of a drought. When one is happening I wish for the other. The wet weather and cool temperatures caused a lot of fungal development on some plants, especially Fusarium on Lisianthus. It was so sad! With cutting it back and treating with copper fungicide I got it somewhat under control and now in July I’m able to have a good harvest.

Another issue I had in later spring was getting my seeds started. Unfortunately I had my seedling trays too close to the ground and had some critter eating the seeds before they could even germinate. The problem was solved with new, custom made propagation tables.

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I also let some things get too dry! Stupid mistake, but it happens. So, I lost a lot of plants this spring. I was able to catch up though with lots of zinnias, gomphrena, basil, cosmos, lisianthus, celosia, and even a few dahlias. It’s all coming along. My newest challenge now is the dry, hot midsummer weather. In Texas, we have a long way to go! Things are not going to cool down until mid to late September.

Lisianthus

Lisianthus

One other thing I can tell you is that it is much harder to get young plants established in the ground this time of year! I have had several plantings of seedlings fry a few days after planting. So, that might mean a gap in production again. I hope not, but we’ll see. I just planted sunflowers, amaranth, marigolds (most of them died), and more zinnias, basil and cosmos. I have been really babying them along and although I have lost several, most have rooted in. Another round of seedlings are on the tables including more celosia, basil, marigolds and pretty soon I’ll start another, and probably last, round of zinnias. It’s going to have to be a blow out for zinnias this fall! I really like them and they did so well for me this year.

I love them because there are so many different kinds! There’s the big ‘Benary Giant’, the smaller ‘Oklahoma’ and the awesome ‘Queen’ series. They come in any color except blue and they can be just as pretty as any other flower! They can be elegant, bold, cute and funky, depending on the variety.

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The plants will last for a good while too. My first planting is still going, although it will probably be the next crop to come out.

Another good thing this spring and summer is the bouquet subscriptions at Blockhouse in Historic Downtown Richmond. They started in April this year and will end after August. I plan on expanding this project next year with at least another pick up location at the NEW Blockhouse in Katy...more on that later.

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Another blessing from working with Blockhouse is meeting my new apprentice, Carley! She is such a hard worker and really keeps me going. She helps with everything in the field including weed control, planting, mulching, clean up, bucket washing, harvesting and more!

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There’s a lot going on around here and I’ll share as much as I can when I can! In the meantime, I’ll be growing flowers and carting a kid around to Jiu Jitsu (and eating Domino’s Pizza) and even visiting Galveston soon!

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Thanks for following!

A list of links

I had a good journal entry I was working on, but twice it was thwarted by the weird format of this site which is Squarespace. I am not a technologically savvy person. One press of the wrong button and everything is gone! Oh well. I was attempting to write about what to do and when, because I keep getting asked that. Most of my advice was rambling and vague, because how do you really explain without reinventing the wheel? Now my answer is, here are some good resources that I have personally used:

Johnny’s Selected Seeds - The catalog has good info on seed germination, spacing, time till harvest, and more.

Texas Gardener Magazine - A good start for beginners.

Soil Testing in Texas - Texas A&M AgriLife Extension soil testing information.

ASCFG - Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Excellent info for professionals! Get the book Specialty Cut Flowers, by Allan Armitage and Judy Laushman.

Growing for Market - Excellent articles written by professional growers.

Common Diseases of Ornamental Plants - From the LSU AgCenter. A handy little gem!

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The only way to really learn is to do it yourself. You will fail many times in the process and that is ok.

Happy growing!

Soni

Fall 2018

What’s happening? This time of year is generally pretty busy even though we don’t have a whole lot of stuff blooming. Plus, we received an early frost in November that killed off any warm season stragglers (ie: zinnias, amaranthus, cosmos, celosia, etc.). Reminder: last year at this time we were not too far off from SNOW! Time to drag out the hoops and frost cloth.

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We (a couple assistants, my husband and I) have been working on clearing old plants out of the field to make way for new plantings of spring and early summer blooms. We have been planting many types of ranunculus, anemone, delphinium, snapdragon, stock, nigella, queen anne’s lace, ornamental cabbage and kale, dianthus, lisianthus, statice, godetia, scabiosa, strawflower, foxglove, poppies and heirloom gladiolus!

clockwise from top left: ornamental cabbage, ranunculus, delphinium, lisianthus

clockwise from top left: ornamental cabbage, ranunculus, delphinium, lisianthus

Snapdragon ‘Rocket’

Snapdragon ‘Rocket’

This is also the time to plan for warm season planting. If I want to order plugs I need to do it soon! Planning is key with growing anything because if you don’t, it’s usually too late and you might as well think about the next season. I’m still figuring things out, learning, and trialing. Mother nature throws everything plus the kitchen sink at you sometimes, so even your best efforts can be thwarted. But, you move on. It helps you learn what changes to make and what to plan for.

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All this said, I am really looking forward to 2019! The flowers are going to be amazing!

Late spring in a Texas flower farm

When does it change from spring to summer? The 'summer solstice' isn't until June 21st. It gets hot here way before that! Spring time is fleeting in the south. It has been pretty cool this year up until now. I am going to have to start harvesting earlier! 

Thank you to all who support local flora at the farmers' markets! This would not be a thing without you! 

Have a look at what is in the garden now:

Half of the field on the west side. 

Half of the field on the west side. 

Lisianthus: Echo Lavender

Lisianthus: Echo Lavender

Still have lisianthus! The lissies started blooming weeks ago and haven't stopped. The first flush will taper off pretty quick. Probably by this weekend. But we have lots of zinnias coming along:

Some other things ready for harvest are some late season ornamental cabbage. The end of delphiniums is coming, but will be replaced by something else equally spectacular. Then there's 'Paper Moon' scabiosa pod. They are very unique. They look like alien eyeballs.

 

Mother's Day was a hit! It's a fun holiday for getting creative with design. Something I am always practicing.

Mother's Day was a hit! It's a fun holiday for getting creative with design. Something I am always practicing.