Friday, August 21, 2015

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 205

 Welcome back farmgirls! I don't want to admit it but I was almost positive I could smell Fall in the air last week. And, I'm beginning to daydream about inside painting projects that I want to complete before the time change goes into effect. I know!!! What am I thinking? There's still a whole month of Farmers Markets ahead and two September weddings to design flowers for. I'm not the least bit ready to say goodbye to summer, I just find it interesting how we humans are so biologically tied to the seasons don't you? 
 Debbie ( my farmgirl co-Hort) and her hubby are knee-deep in a DIY kitchen remodel right now and watching green tomatoes on the vine for any signs of blush pink or red tinges.
 They're counting the days till harvest time.

It's time for another great round up of farmgirl posts!
Let's see what cha got! 
Have a great weekend and we'll see you on the hop!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Garden Notes~ South- Eastern Massachusettes Succession Planting Tricks And Trials for Cut Flowers

Raised beds planted in Mid-March - late May
 We're having a heat wave this week with temps in the high 80's so I'll be hiding out inside most of the day until I can get back out to the garden this evening . 

I want to talk about my experience with succession planting today. With 13 4 x12 raised beds I was able to experiment planting seeds and dahlia tubers at different intervals this season with a goal in mind of having enough cut flowers in one season to sell at the Farmers Market and provide flowers for one or two local weddings. 

 So far so good! Two farmers markets down and one wedding to go! 
Until the season is actually finished I won't have a true sense of how my plans worked out but I can tell you how it's going so far.

 Here in Eastern Massachusetts we have a fairly long growing season which goes from Mid-March - November. This is pure gardeners heaven for someone who cut her gardening teeth in the clay packed earth of the high desert of Northern Nevada. If you've ever planted a tree in a hole you dug with an auger ( auger is slang for small jack hammer ) you know my joy!

Our last frost date is Mid-March and the first is somewhere in late October/early November. 
Here are my plantings and planting dates for the 2015 growing season.

 Mid-March- late May Plantings: dahlia tubers, and gladiolus corms


Mid-May Plantings: Bakers Creek Rare Seeds ( sown direct )
  zinnias, cosmos, cockscomb, sunflowers,  
 Snapdragon and  dusty miller annual packs purchased at my local nursery.

These plantings filled 8 of my 4 x 12 raised beds and have provided all of the flowers for my floral work this season. Thus far I've created 70 32 oz mason jar bouquets from the first planting.

This is my first time growing Cockscomb and it us such a fun plant to grow. The flower head just keeps changing and getting bigger every day. I've been using them in my arrangements in the early stages of blooming and they're perfect for added pops of bright color and interesting texture.

Cockscomb and Senorita Pink Zinnia in the rear bed. 

Sunflowers and cosmos
We didn't finish construction on the other 5 raised beds until early July. I had hoped for a late June second planting, but went ahead with the early July because I wanted to see how long it would take for those seeds to germinate and flower.

Senorita pink zinnia
5 rows of zinnia seeds in a 4 x 12 raised bed
The second planting of zinnias ( last weeks photos ) is coming along and have grown  even more since these photos were taken and the plants have formed buds! It's looking like I'll have flowers for September as long as the weather cooperates. Living near the coast we are subject to coastal storms and high winds so keep your fingers crossed we don't have any of those until after my last wedding on September 26th. I'm learning the realities that farmers have been dealing with for centuries. We can't control the weather but I'm willing to gamble!

This patch of zinnias are all reds and oranges. Perfect for fall flower arranging!

Farmers Market Bouquet 
My grab n go mason jar bouquets have been a hit at the Farmers Market this season. People really like having something table ready and they make great gifts too.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mason Jar Wedding Centerpieces With MY Local Flowers

Dear friends,  
I feel as if it's been forever since I sat down to say howdy. Life as a mom and writer is busy enough. Toss flower farming into the mix and now we're talking B.U.S.Y. but it's a beautiful busy and I love every minute of it!
We've ( my daughter and I ) been peddling our petals at the local Farmers Market and we just delivered our first wedding order yesterday! 

Today I'm sharing the wedding centerpieces I made for the bride and groom's farm venue wedding.The bride chose a modern/rustic theme for her mason jar centerpieces and wanted to incorporate locally grown flowers into her wedding so we were a perfect fit!
 I love doing arrangements in mason jars because they are so versatile and most flowers look happy in them.
My bride provided the jars and the ribbon and I did the decorating. It only took about an hour to cut the ribbon to size, glue it on and tie on the twine bow at the last. I simply measured the ribbon to fit the center of the jars then cut it to allow a half inch over lap, just enough to add a few drops of Quick Dry Fabric Fusion. This stuff is amazing!!!! It works like a charm. It's truly fast drying and fabulous on fabric.
Once the ribbons were secured on the jars I cut lengths of twine 27 inches long to tie around the center bows. 

 FYI. I found it easier to adorn the jars before adding the flowers. Makes sense doesn't it? Especially if you are doing any gluing or you have to lay the jar down for applying ribbons, beads, burlap, lace, etc.


I always cut flowers early ( before 8:00 am ) before the sun has a chance to start warming them up and place them immediately into clean buckets of fresh water.

Cut flowers for the centerpieces.
I used a mix of seasonal flowers for the centerpieces. All of them came from my backyard except some golden rod still in the bud stage that I foraged from the backyard at our cottage. Thank goodness I did, because I'm low on filler material this year and the wispy stems of the golden rod added just the touch of rustic romance I needed for the finishing touch on the centerpieces.

Cockscomb ( red)
Cafe Au Lait ( dahlia)

I have to say, I think the black and white ribbon is striking with all of the flowers. 
Once the centerpieces were finished I packed them into sturdy cardboard boxes and my daughter and I packed them into the back seat of her Vintage Ford 250 Truck and hit the road. I was calm as a cucumber after the delivery but I woke up very early this morning with butterflies in my stomach worrying about the flowers. Were they too squished in the box? Did any of them wilt in the night? Probably not.They withstand much more abuse sitting in the sun all day at the farmers market and they were only in the truck (not air conditioned ) for an hour before going to an air-conditioned house. Still, I worried but a Facebook comment from my bride this morning settled my nerves. They are fine and right about now they are probably sitting pretty atop her tables at her venue. They've promised to send me photos from the wedding photographer! I promise to share them with you as soon as I get them!

I've been a gardener for 25 years but flower farming takes it to a whole nuther level. I've always dreamed of having a farm...Who knew I would find one in my own backyard?

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