It’s been a short season for enjoying the fruits of our labor. While it seemed to take forever for the soil to warm enough for direct sowing, fluctuating temperatures after germination inhibited optimum growth, and now, just when the gardens should be surrendering their heaviest bounty, we are scavenging any successes from exhausted plants that look like they should in late September, not August, in a normal year. We even had a scattering of frost on the first day of September!
The tomatoes awaiting the steamy August days and balmy nights to start their blush have given up and the tangle of drooping vines and rotting fruits is disheartening to behold; the pumpkins are stalled at smaller-than-usual green orbs, and even though there are lots of peppers on the plants, it takes them forever to get to typical size. Our vegetable garden that was looking lush and promising once the starter plants established took a quick downturn once the fruits started to near ripening—from victory garden to defeat, and I believe it was all due to the diseases brought on by so much rain.
Fortunately for us our good neighbor to the north plants excessive amounts of vegetables every year and we get to siphon off his surplus.
We were lucky enough to escape the devastation caused by gypsy moths just north of us, with just a few tents appearing here and there, but from what I hear, we can expect a greater infiltration next year. So we will have THAT scourge to deal with.
But where one hand takes away, the other gives, often profusely. The peach tree in our little fruit orchard is so heavy with fruits this year I fear we may lose it from damage to the limbs. It has been limping along, with the rest of the apple, pear and plum trees, from year to year, never really producing anything until, BAM!…a bumper crop.
For the most part, the perennial and annual flowers did well; even the dahlias that were feared lost ( Don’t Count On the Dahlias ) recovered and produced some flowers. Next year they’ll enjoy a different location where lighter soil and good drainage should keep those tubers robust. And although the red lily bugs ate up some of the leaves of our orientals, we still got some beautiful flowers.
Strawflowers were a first and a pleasant surprise that made up for the failure of the first attempt at Bells of Ireland. After a slow start germinating, the strawflowers grew to produce a variety of papery blooms that added beautiful color and texture to our bouquets. We have also been drying some for everlasting bouquets and to make candles using various vases and recycled solar light globes (thanks, Liz!).
So, as our harvest and selling season winds down for another year, we would like to thank all our customers who bought from the roadside stand and commissioned custom arrangements for special events, and to customers that brought back cans and vases for us to re-use. Many thanks also to Shannon at Barstow’s Longview Dairy Store and Bakery for taking in our bundles of flowers to sell at their wonderful store. It’s been a good season despite the challenges!
With the addition of more peony bushes, lilies, and dahlias next year, we will have even more variety to offer flower-loving customers. Farmer D. is busy putting in a wall that will help accentuate the roadside stand and make it more accessible and we will continue to improve our appearance to make the business more visible not only from the street but out in the community as well. Using donated and recycled vases and other supplies (special thanks my family (Mom, thanks for putting them aside for me always), friends (mason jars and newspapers for weed screening from the good neighbors to the north), and particularly brother Mike for his efforts at the transfer station!)) keeps our costs down. Practicing green farming methods to keep our carbon footprint small increases our positive impact on the environment. More flowers = more pollinators, and that’s good for everyone! Every day IS a good day for flowers!