One of this year's pilot projects has been the "Cut-Flower" paddock. In the previous post I had talked about the different trials and mistakes I made before creating proper beds using the no-dig method. We are now beginning to plan the next no-dig beds to plant this Autumn and harvest in Spring.
We used organic compost produced in Ireland, it is of such good quality that our Dahlia bulbs grew healthy and beautiful without the need to add any extra nourishment.
The wood-chip paths have also been working very well. Even on wet days I am able to walk up and down without causing a big muddy mess.
Next time around though I have to make sure these paths are wider, right now I would not be able to bring in a wheelbarrow, except maybe a toy one, which my kids would probably love.
I also have to make the rows wider as I planted the bulbs too close together.
I am hoping that next year we will be able to use our own compost and woodchips, but we will see how things develop.
Growing flowers is a big job, but the other big job is to sell them, ha! And to be able to sell them I have to cut them at their prime, condition them so that they are well hydrated and last longer in the vase, arrange them in a beautiful way, and finally deliver to the customer.
I have been experimenting and documenting the different processes to condition the flowers, and am getting very good at what not do do. I also quickly realised that for an arrangement to work I need a lot of foliage and other, smaller, flowers.
While I have been harvesting material from the forest I really need to create my own foliage paddock to accompany the cut-flowers. It is ironic as foliage used to be one of the main business of our farm before all trees and shrubs died after the soil froze solid for a week several Winters ago. I will keep foraging materials in our woods for the time being.
My kids are still very excited to help out. They helped plant the bulbs, they have helped with the harvesting and foraging in the woods, and they are also now wanting to help sell the flowers. They want to put up a table downstairs where customers can come and select their favourite arrangement.
It is helpful for me, though, to still see all of this as marketing research.
I love the flowers and want to find the best way to share them with others.