Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy GLITZY Thanksgiving

Howdy friends,

 I wanted to stop in and wish you all a very happy ( AND GLITZY ) Thanksgiving.

I attended a very fun floral workshop last evening where I got my farmer/florist fix on with roses, spider mums, seeded eucalyptus, goldenrod, pine-cones and a pretty gilded pumpkin for a vase.
 I'll share more about the workshop in a future post, for now... it's time to get cookin'!

Enjoy your holiday! 
Love, Deb 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 209 and an Autumn Note Card Giveaway!

My favorite fall captures made into note cards.
 Happy Farmgirl Friday! Thank for joining us again. I bet you're all busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. We're keeping things traditional here with a mid-day meal of roasted turkey, mashed taters and gravy, stuffing with craisins, green beans, dinner rolls and of course pumpkin pie for dessert. Speaking of delicious fall food. Debbie has an easy peezy Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe for you to try using your homegrown tomatoes or farmers market maters. I can't wait to give it a go this weekend.

 I love this time of year with all the fun fall festivities, turning of the leaves and happy fun fall gatherings. 

Many of us live miles from our loved ones and homesickness can hit home in a hurry this time of year. Face-time and Face book fill the gaps in between but nothings better than a handwritten note to let your loved ones know how much you think of them.

In celebration of this season of gathering and gratefulness I'm giving away a set of my handmade Autumn Note Cards featuring some of my favorite fall captures from Dandelion House.

Double your chance to win!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post and over at Debbie's Farmgirl Unleashed Blog telling us why you love to " keep in touch" the old-fashioned way!
Good luck! We'll announce the winner next week! 

 Now, let's hop!
Happy, happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Digging Dahlias and Winter Storage

Glorious dahlias in pumpkin vase mixed with hydrangea, sedum and pumpkin on a stick.
 Dear Dahlias,
 How do I love thee? I couldn't possibly count the number of ways I adore you. I am intoxicated by your beauty and I mourn your absence even before the first frost comes to take you from me for another long New England winter. I love you so much that I will dig each and every one of you out of the ground so you don't rot in our bitter 7-7a garden zone. I'll put up with a stiff back and sore knees believing that for all of my efforts to tuck you away safely in storage there's a chance I'll see you again next summer. That's how much I love thee. 

Growing dahlias isn't hard. They are happy in a container or in the ground as long as they have rich, well draining soil, plenty of sunshine and lots of love. The challenging ( and most labor intensive ) part comes when it's time to dig them up at the end of the season. 

 If you garden in a cold climate you will have to dig your dahlias. There's just no way around it.
 After the first frost the leaves will wilt and turn almost black. No need to rush with the digging them just yet. Give them a couple of more weeks in the earth. Even though the flowers and foliage appear to be dead, the tuber is still growing and putting on new eyes (growth ) for next years blooms. 

I cut all of my dahlias down leaving the tops showing above ground before digging them so I'm sure to get every one. To dig I use my handy garden spade and gently poke around about a foot or so away from where the stem is to be sure not to damage the roots.

 Once they are dug, rinse them off lightly and let them dry on a surface that allows airflow like a screened table or greenhouse work bench with drainage. I used our patio table.

After they are dry, shake off any excess dirt and  remove any untidy roots ( as seen below ) and divide if necessary. Some you just pull apart gently and others you will need to cut.  If you do divide, just make sure you have a visible eye on the tuber. If you're not sure, pack it away until spring. You just might get lucky and you can divide then.

Now is a good time to label your tubers. You can use copper tags with wire, plastic garden markers with twisty ties, or oak leaf tags with permanent marker tied with twine.You can also write directly on the tuber with an indelible pencil or permanent marking pen.

Mine are stored in correlation with the bed they were planted in. I have a master list of the names of each variety that was planted in each bed to refer to come planting time. That's not the most organized fashion to do it, but at least I'll know generally which ones go together next season. 
This year I am storing about 75 tubers so that's not too many to keep track of and store. I'll be expanding to 100 -150 next season. I'm stocking up on Advil now!

 I decided to store them in Rubbermaid bins layered in pine shavings with the lids off and covered with a double layer of landscaping burlap fabric so there's some ventilation. I have them all tucked in for their long winters nap in our unfinished basement. Dahlias prefer to be stored in cooler temps. 35- 50 degrees. Wish us luck! 
Here are two great videos from Swan Island Dahlias on how to Dig Dahlias and Divide them.
I'd love to hear your dahlia storage tips too. Leave me a note if you've had success storing dahlias!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Field To Vase Supports American Flower Farmers

That's me! On the Field to Vase blog today!
What do you picture when you hear the phrase, " Field to Vase" ? If your vision includes beautiful flowers like the kind your grandmother grew in her garden then you are right on the money. Today's flower farmers grow in hoop-houses, greenhouses, backyards and front-yards, abandoned city lots, community plots, and good old -fashioned farmland too. I'm talking about flower farmers who grow 100% home-grown flowers for wholesale, retail, weddings, events and more. 
If you've been with me for some time now, you know I'm a budding backyard flower farmer aiming to do my small part in bringing flowers back home to American soil where they first began. Imagine how excited I was to find others who are doing the exact same thing all over the United States.

 I'm so excited to introduce you to a fantastic grass root/flower roots online community called Field to Vase. An online directory of flower farmers and farmer/florists committed to educating the public about where to find local flowers where ever you live. I learned about it through digging around online looking for flower farming communities on Facebook. 

This community was created by Christine Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers. She ( and her team of talented artisan floral designers) have earned rock star status in San Francisco, Calif. with their signature burlap wrapped bouquets using flowers 100% locally sourced flowers from local flower farms in California.
 Farmgirl Flowers was also recently featured in a three page spread in the San Francisco Chronicle.
How cool is that?
Check them out on Yelp to see more fabulous flower photos and read over 600 reviews!
And, if you're thinking about starting your own backyard flower farm some day, read my article on the Field to Vase Blog, and meet more inspiring flower farmers there too. Who knows? You could be living right next door to your local flower farmer.

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