30 September 2020
We. Have. Flowers!
Our test seedlings from our first farm update have finally bloomed in to our Misty Bronze chrysanthemums. They’re a bit rough around the edges, some are a little small, some a little eaten by slugs, but they are FLOWERS. And we’re super excited. We’ll be using these to take cuttings from for next year, so we can grow even more, applying the lessons we’ve learned this time around, and there were quite a few. We know to stake the flowers earlier with support netting. We tried to use jute netting but it got so heavy in the rain it sagged, snapping quite a few stems, so we’ve gone for plastic netting that we can reuse again and again. We planted 100 of each chrysanthemum variety, thinking that we would have 3 flowers per plant, so in theory, 300 flowers for across a week. But it doesn’t really work like that. You have a few to begin with before the flush of flowers and another flush at the end, so with this uneven distribution curve, we’ve learnt that we didn’t plant nearly enough. As a result, we’ve ordered in more seeds for some of the other flowers we’ve started to plan for, so hopefully we will be better prepared when those start to bloom next spring.
Slugs are the enemy and now so are mice too, which have eaten half the snapdragon seeds we planted. We did an autumn sowing so that one established, we can plant out in the polytunnel next year and have an early crop, meaning we can then plant more to extend the season. The mice incident, though frustrating, was a good thing to happen now, as we still have time to plant some more snapdragon seeds and make up our numbers.
We’re starting to build up our perennial plants. These are more of an investment as they come back again and again every year. Our wooly foxgloves aren’t too happy, so we might try another sowing of them but our verbascum is flying, as are our penstemons. We’ve just planted our winter flowering sweetpeas so hopefully some sweet smelling joy will be hitting the bouquets in February.
The run off water from the surrounding fields has been crashing through the buildings here during the recent storms so we’ve been using diggers and attempting to create soak-aways and an underground water rerouting system to keep our feet a little dryer at work. Our digger driver had some time left on the clock, so kindly helped us tick off a job from the to-do list, and moved all the topsoil and green waste onto the delphinium beds for us.
We are about to soak all of our ranunculus and anemones. We will be pre-sprouting them in trays of vermiculite before planting, so that we can remove any duds (or ones that have rotted) so they don’t take up precious space in the polytunnel. These will hopefully be ready in the spring. We will do a later sowing in the new year too so that we prolong our season and can also stagger the blooming times so we don’t have too many at once.
Thank you for all the well-wishes we’ve had for James who is recovering from some burns from a slightly-more-ferocious-than-planned bonfire. He is doing well and healing ahead of schedule, largely, we suspect, out of sheer determination to get back on a digger.Back to blog