I have a problem. Okay, more like several or dozens (hundreds?) but I’m human and who doesn’t? Okay, perhaps I will name three problems that I feel compelled to share with each of you. First one, it’s August and I have been putting Trader Joe’s pumpkin seasoning in my coffee every morning for the last few weeks. As my Mom pointed out when I confessed to her and my sisters: “Jess, it’s only July.” Yes, Mom, such minor details. I just got done direct sowing ornamental cabbage, red sunflowers and millet for fall harvest, I’m ready for fall! Plus, if my heirloom mum can start blooming months too early (overachiever), I can start daydreaming of scarf and sweater weather. Second confession: I have been suffering from writer’s block. Yup, radio silence. Sorry for that, but with midnight hunting of earwigs as they decimate sunflower seedlings (for the third time) and early rising to beat the heat, I’ve been tired. Good news: I’ve broken the silence! Third confession… I have hardly mentioned it but… we’re in a magazine! So it’s not Martha Stewart or Magnolia (please lower your expectations) but rather a more local magazine: Edible Reno-Tahoe.
A slightly hidden article nestled on page seventy-eight (also be sure to take a look at those Sierra Flower Farm grown ranunculus on the table of contents page) takes me back to the fragrance of spring lilacs and scrumptious ranunculus. Not in the mood to snag a physical copy? You can read the digital version here. Don’t worry, it’s not a boring article about just us (especially since I tend to talk about myself enough on here) but rather it highlights an entire movement with all kinds of different flower growers in our area! From more seasoned growers to first year growers, it’s amazing seeing local flowers take off! It’s also fun to see everyone’s perspective and approach on growing and selling cut flowers. Growing specialty cut flowers isn’t cookie cutter: everyone has different tastes and style making each grower so unique.
Let’s be honest, the only reason any of us are able to be growing and playing with pretty flowers is because each of youare giving us the privilege of handing you bundles of magical blooms. Without your demand, the flowers would just sit. I want to thank you for your continued support of Sierra Flower Farm over these last few years. It means the world to us! YOU are the reason I get to pour over seed catalogs, turnover rows, and grow all kinds of gorgeous flowers! YOU are the reason Graham lets me drag him into the chaos of flower season! Yes, the article is pretty exciting to our family (of course the Grandparents could care less about the flowers are are just excited their grandbabies photos landed in it). Emma and Janey don’t quite grasp the concept of being in a magazine, guess with iPhones- they are just so used to looking at pictures of themselves! Okay, guilty… and on my website.
We have been going pretty much nonstop since March (we won’t include starting seeds since January!) and it has already been a pretty exciting year. It feels like I was just waiting for spring to come and subscriptions to begin and now the summer one has finished and I’m gearing up for the last subscription of the 2018 season, crazy! Fast forward through sunburns and campfires and we are only one month away from next spring’s bulbs and corms will be delivered. Crazy!
People talk about Christmas in July- I suppose thinking of chilly snow days helps us get through the scorching 95 plus degree days that are always have smoke from fires casting over our area. I feel like August is more exciting, especially with Eddy Street Vintage Market’s Artisans & Antiques- which I am super excited about! August 18th, be sure to mark that down! For our family, it’s our last hoorah before school starts up again. With over thirty vendors, it’s the biggest year yet! I hope you come by and say “hi.”
With all this talk about future events and pumpkin everything, I somehow have skipped over some of the amazing happenings here at Sierra Flower Farm (and some not great happenings).
Let’s begin with the not-so-wonderful. Earwigs. More rural growers/gardeners battle Bambi and Peter Rabbit, I battle icky earwigs and neighbors. I should know by now earwigs crazy eating frenzy goes hand-in-hand with the beginning of Farmer’s Market. They’ve munched successions and successions worth of flowers and nearly decimated my dahlias (well, they did actually kill quite a few). Everything is finally under control after weeks of relentlessly battling those creepy buggers then…. Oh then… ready for a first-world-urban-farmer-problem? My sweet neighbor (he truly is a big teddy bear) accidentally weed whacked some dahlias. Oi. It’s tough to smile and say no big deal. He felt pretty bad. I did too but hey, when you grow things right up on the property line, right? Yes, next year the dahlias are going in the center row- prime real estate (which these luscious divas completely deserve). At least things are finally able to grow, even though weeks behind schedule and the earwigs traps are now showing up empty. If you are battling earwigs, be sure to read my previous blog on naturally battling them here.
Things happen, a lot of things happen when growing. Anyone who has had a garden or even a houseplant knows the struggle! Thank goodness raising children is easier than a plant. Naturally, I panic every week what I will have to harvest, every week I have plenty. All the planning in the world doesn’t matter, there are so many factors that we are in the mercy of. I encourage you, don’t ever give up on these times (though sometimes that sounds the easiest), pull up your bootstraps and just keep sowing seeds and planting. Do what you can and embrace what you can’t. Now I’m talking literally but this can apply to anything in life outside of gardening.
Alrighty, now that the sad panda stuff is out of the way let’s talk about some exciting adventures. In between designing for weddings and treasured birthday parties I was invited to chat about flower farming to a group of future farmers. I talk to my kids everyday about flowers but man, talking to a group of kids- that’s a lot of eyes and random thoughts in your direction! It was great though, they were excited and passionate about agriculture. Sadly, so many people are out of touch with the hows and whys behind agriculture- whether it’s where your hamburger comes from or the importance of local produce, it was inspiring and an honor to be able to chat to the future generation. I was there to teach them but I think I walked away with so much more! A huge thank you and shout out to Urban Roots Farm Reno for having me and I applaud those kids- they are awesome. I applaud the organization for doing such a great job at bringing interest and education to the agriculture field. The tides are truly changing, consumers want to know their farmer and want to know where their meat/produce come from. I think this is great! Let’s shuck off the shield of ignorance bliss with Big AG and KNOW our farmers! I know, a little bit of a soapbox moment. I have always wanted to purchase local and organic- at times I haven’t been able to swing that bill but more and more we have been making it a priority. I must admit- I never thought I would become a grower of any sorts that supplied a local produce (even if they are simply eye candy!). Though I hadn’t imagines myself a grower, I have always carried great respect for those that raise the pigs, milk the cows, and sow and harvest our vegetables.
One of my favorite parts about being a vendor at the Farmer’s Market has become learning all the different ways each farmer/rancher run their businesses. Their passion and their compassion for their stock and customers- their communities. You won’t find that from a shelf in the grocery store! Speaking of farmer’s market, have you heard all the great news about the one we are so lucky to be vendors at? It’s just reaping awards and national recognition left and right! To be blunt, it should. It is a gorgeous market with an amazing director and team that makes it just lovely for vendors to be there and engage with customers in a beautiful setting (who knew a parking lot could be so magnificent? Well it is!).
With all the wildfire smoke coming in and settling in our Valley and surrounding areas I’ve been asked a lot how the smoke is affecting my garden. I think there’s concern about how each of your garden is performing with all this smoke so I decided to write a quick blog about how it can impact your gardening efforts here. It’s not a long one but I believe worth addressing since every summer we seem to be getting so many fires and huge levels of smoke in our area for weeks on end.
Though I’m being impatient for fall, summer has flown by. With that, school is back in session! September is a busy busy month for parents and teachers alike, so with that, I decided to offer a sweet little something. Whether you are buying it as a treat for yourself for being the school chauffeur or for your kid’s teacher, it will enchant and delight! Click here for more details.
Now, I’m sure I am neglecting to tell you some other things that have been happening around here. Some things I am choosing to keep silent… for now. All I can say is to be sure and keep up on all our updates, we have some exciting works up our sleeves and have been hustling to make it all happen. I think the 2019 growing season is going to be even more exciting. I hope each of you will think so too!
I hope to be handing you some blooms soon!