What’s Popping!

Wow, it is the last weekend of January, oh where has the month gone! Another week's work done and we are already running a little bit behind.  First off, thanks for all the healing wishes for Farmer Tony's nose. His nose is fine and so is he, he is just sporting a purple bruise.  This week I was on the injury bench with a neck and shoulder pull. Let's just say that the greenhouse was packed with stuff and after hunching over dozens of trays seeding, poor body mechanics is the excuse for yanking up a large bag of soil materials. The pull gave me a massive headache and shoulder pain but after a day of heat, coffee, yoga stretches and self pity, I am back in the game and hopefully working much wiser.

Things are starting to pop! It is always a big sweat and worry time to see if we will have tulips ready in time for Valentine's Day. We run pre-chilled tulips and our first group is Red Impression which is great for Valentine's Day but terrible the day after. After the big day, florists and designers don't want to see red again for months. We are finally seeing buds and are very optimistic about our red tulips.


Things are popping in the germination house too. Above is one tray of three of delphinium Planet series. I have no photos of this flower, it is new for us. It is a shorter variety that will work in bouquets and we are excited to be giving it a whirl.

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are popping. We started them a bit late and so we are growing them in 2 inch soil blocks so they can get a good start and go directly into our hoophouse. This is the first year we did not soak our pea seeds as per the instructions of Dr Keith Hammett. The majority of our sweet pea seeds are from him. A few varieties include Maloy, Earl Grey and Piggy Sue.

A couple of our favorites include Nimbus and Anniversary below.

Sweet peas

Sweet Peas Nimbus Sweet Peas Anniversary

Our last group of foxgloves are sprouted and headed down to grow on in our newly cleaned propagation house.

Propagation House

This is one of the first little building we built, clear back in 2008. At the time, it seemed to be big enough as we were only going to sell our flowers at our local farmers' market. We are now wishing we had built it quite a bit larger, but you  live and learn. It works for us now and keeps us on our toes logistically speaking, no dilly dally around.

Propagation House

We removed the old capillary mat and cleaned out our gutters, both were covered in gunk, roots, algae, moss and other crud.

Propagation House

The new mat was cut for the correct length and width and we also cut out the misters.

Propagation House

The additional mat was cut, it drapes into the gutter that are filled with water and wicks up providing bottom water for the trays of germinated seedlings. Floors were swept up and ready for trays of seedlings.

Propagation House

First few trays in the propagation house for this new season.

Propagation House

The seedlings' roots will pull water up to them from the gutter and the misters will provide a little additional moisture from the top. The black poly hoops are there in case we need to drape a frost blanket or two over the seedlings. The house is not heated and is mostly vented up the sides as this is where our seedlings grow on, harden off and prepare themselves for field planting.

Hoophouse Construction

Farmer Tony is back at the construction of our new hoophouse. He is working on the end walls and it is not very exciting yet for a video. When we start pulling plastic, we will start videoing again. There are always a bajillion other jobs that just have to be done, so we work on this in between jobs.  I keep giving him grief about how fast our friends across the valley at Raindrop Farms put up their 2 hoophouses. I mean they did it in about 3 minutes. Check out Raindrop's video on hoophouse construction here its pretty cool!

We did our last pre-sprout of ranunculus this week. These corms will go into some of our test boxes in a couple of weeks.  We know that stem length and plant size will be a little shorter as they will not have had as much time to put on root growth. Every year we get a few rather warm spring days and the ranunculus in our tunnels gets the message to shut down and go to corm development. So this Spring planting will extend our harvest for a few more weeks.

Pre-sprouting Ranunculus


Two seasons ago, we had ranunculus in the late spring days, they were great and we are hoping for another wonderful ranunculus spring crop.

Until next time....

"Play in the dirt because life is too short to always have clean fingernails" ~Prairie Homestead~




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