My record-keeping gets better every year. Lots of people love a journal but I love a calendar. I leave a big one on my work desk and make tons of notes on it. When we transplant, fertilize and treat pests. Each year I get a new calendar and stack it on top of the previous year. As each month goes by I flip both pages. It's a great way to see the rhythm of the farm at a month's glance. You start to get to know your pattern and it helps not feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that seems endless. Taking loads of pictures helps too, iPhone does a great job of reminding me that blooms really are coming.
We are in the middle of building a second high tunnel. The goal of this big plastic barn is to have flowers earlier in the season. We do a good job of still having flowers in the hot hot summer and late into the fall but getting flowers to bloom earlier than April is a challenge. The short days and cold nights make everything just kinda sit still. Not just flowers but produce too. We have lots of food crops that just overwinter and wait for longer warmer nights.
I'm not planning on heating this second tunnel but hopefully, the way it sits on the field we will be able to capture more light next winter for an earlier season. This tunnel build is a little different. We will close the end walls which will retain more heat and I also have a shade cloth to put over it in the summer to help keep it cool once we heat up. Always learning, always adapting, and trying to grow better.
Our first high tunnel (the giant one on the slope) is doing great! We worked with Seeds for Bees and planted a beautiful cover crop for soil building efforts. We planted healthy starts into the cover crop and now have living pathways. feeding the soil while the next crop of cut flowers gets growing. The spring blooms are a quick fix for us while we wait for everything to come out of the field. The high tunnel turns into tomato mania then you know it's summer when you are finally eating tomatoes and picking buckets and buckets of flowers.
It's going to be our best flower year yet. We've been saving seeds and really dialing in what grows well over a long season and has a long vase life. It's so exciting at the beginning of the season, all your planning and hard work is just getting ready to show itself.
The work is paying off. The farm looks great thanks to all our amazing volunteers, we have a thriving weekly bouquet subscription and have started selling our flowers at the Original Los Angeles Flower Market.
2022 is going to be great and even if it's a struggle or turns out to be another meh year at least we will have flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.