We never looked forward to January and February quite the way we do now that we’re flower farming. Yes, these tend to be cold, dark, bleak months, but they are when we slow down and catch our breaths, too. In contrast with July, it’s a time when we don’t have an overwhelming list of chores to do every day. We tend to view winter as the time when all our weekends for the year get pushed together because the other 10 months seem to run full-bore, seven days a week.
Projects and Planning
Winter is also the time when flower farmers take on a big project or two. A fellow local grower put up a large greenhouse this winter. Another installed a new walk-in cooler. Often plans are made and seeds and bulbs are purchased.
New Deer Fence
Our big project this winter will be new deer fencing around our flower field. We recently took a day trip to Deer Busters in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where we purchased nearly 700 linear feet of 8-foot-tall wire-mesh fencing. We also found some 12-foot-tall, half-round fence posts at an Amish sawmill in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania. We plan to put up the fence in March.
The dead of winter is a time for vacations as well. Some growers who don’t have children in school make pilgrimages to warm locales. Beaches, baseball spring training games and theme parks have a strong draw for people who feel most comfortable outdoors and miss their flowers. We are well aware of the therapeutic qualities of palms and plumerias!
Frank took a working vacation in January when he helped a friend move from Tucson to Iowa City. He volunteered to drive the U-Haul truck. It was also an excuse to wear sleeveless shirts for a couple of days — at least in Tucson – he was greeted by a snowstorm when he arrived in Iowa.
Missing Our Customers
While R and R is a good thing, we find that during the winter hiatus we miss our weekly farmers markets and the customers who buy our flowers. We have grown close with many of them over time and it feels like a reunion of sorts when we see them again each May. We also miss the farming itself by the time March 1 rolls around. Typically, the first of March is a thrilling time when we start thousands of seeds in our basement. It won’t be long now…