Captains Log: Stardate 308255.8

Hey everyone,

I can see by the comments that most of you only make it to the blog but not the website. http://www.enchantedflorafarm.com

We have a huge number of photos and descriptions of the flowers and veggies we have available for sale beginning in April.

I sowed some herbs the other day, Rosemary, Lavender “Ellagance,” Roman Chamomile, Culinary Sage, Lemon Grass and Saffron Shallots. Tomorrow we will be firing up the first small greenhouse now that temperatures appear to be on an upswing trend for the next week. I expect that we’ll be transplanting Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  It’ll be pansy hanging baskets, pansy & viola 6-packs, porch buckets and small whimsical containers of violas. We’ll also be potting up the Mimulus AKA Monkey Flower bowls. They enjoy the same growing conditions as pansy/viola, but with a trumpet type flower and unique color scheme. Next week, it’ll be time to seed the onions, leeks, snapdragon and wave petunias.

We survived that most recent snow event. Here at the farm we only got about a foot, but many others in our area got much more as you head up in elevation and into the higher mountain communities. The good news for us is that it was a snow storm with a little wind, therefore no snow settled on the roofs of the greenhouses. Yay! Having lost a greenhouse in the past to heavy snowfall, we are very Leary of these events.

Our pot & tray order arrived this past Wednesday. The soil order is due in late this week or early next week. We have plenty to start this season so we’re in no panic about the delivery date. It’s very sunny outside today, but hasn’t yet hit the 20 degrees we were promised. The great news is that it’s supposed to be 50 degrees come Friday. T-shirt weather here in Vermont.

Until next time, this is your captain signing off.

Peace,

Farmer Mike

Captains Log, Stardate 308280.4

Helloooo cyberspace!

As I sit here contemplating my various thoughts, it’s a bright and beautiful early February day. Blazing sunshine, 23 degrees and not a cloud in the sky… Until tomorrow anyway… and we have about 8″ of fresh snow on the ground from the…Ahem… Storm we had earlier in the week. My humble opinion is that the commercial national weather outlets like to hype up  a “storm” to get our citizenry in a panic.  I’m a NOAA man myself, they just put the information out there with no spin or hype. http://www.noaa.gov. In 6 more days the transplanting of the earliest spring flowers will begin. Yippee! (only 41 days till the vernal equinox) I still have a few maintenence chores to do in/on the two main greenhouses, maybe once I finish this post i’ll get more motivated. One of the most wonderful things about working in the greenhouses at this time of the year is that we get to enjoy a “Preemptive Spring.” Even without any manmade heat, it can get well into the upper 70’s on a calm sunny day. T-Shirt weather! But the second that the sun sets, it can get just as cold as the outside if we don’t provide some form of heat. Our two main expenses are heat and “soil.” We call it soil because we have to pay for it. “Dirt,” is something you get for free out of your yard. Dirt also comes with every disease and critter that wants to consume your plants, and is usually heavier than Heck.

We prefer “soil” for many reasons. Firstly, its specially formulated for all the nutritional and growing requirements of our plants. Second, it’s not sterile like many commercial growing mediums, our soil is “alive” with tiny beneficial microbes and fungi which will bond with our baby plants rootsystems in a symbiotic fashion resulting in a healthier more robust plant. Not that things can’t go wrong, and does, but our plants need NO fertilizer until early May. Third, They’re growing IN their fertilizer, so we don’t have to add any until the plants are nearly ready for sale. Our “soil” is a blend of a plant waste and animal manure base with added “rock/mineral” powders, peat moss,  a little lime and a dash of love. It is OMRI certified (organic) and is “black gold.”

Our main fuel is propane, but we use kerosene in the later season temporary use greenhouses starting sometime in April as weather permits. We’ve looked into alternative heat sources, but they are either impracticle for our needs or ungodly expensive to purchase and install. So we’re at the whims of the carbon based fuel market.

Until next time, keep those cards and letters coming folks.

Peace,

Your captain, Farmer Mike

 

Captains Log, Stardate 308303.5

Hey folks,

Farmer Mike here. The wee baby pansies and violas are germinating nicely. Good strong germination for the most part, there are a couple of varieties which are showing weak germination. We might need to contact the seed company we got those from and request replacement seed and try again. Its funny how some seed is strong and some weak, when all things are equal, as in same tray, same temperature, soil, water, light… Perhaps its a case of low fertility in the parent plants, never really sure. It can also vary from season to season. Last years winners may be this seasons losers.

I once stated to a friend that I don’t play the lottery or gamble, but he replied “you gamble each time you plant a seed.” I guess on several levels he was indeed correct.

That’s the challenge of working with living things as opposed to stamping out “widgets.” Just because we have strong germination doesn’t mean that we’ll have lots of plants at the end of it all. Disease, fungal infection, insect predation (the odd bench climbing woodchuck… we kid you not folks.) can all take a toll seemingly overnight. So I have to admit, it is quite a gamble sometimes. The good news is that we are very vigilant when it comes to our babies. Like so many other areas of “expertise” in various industries, we can see from many feet away whether or not a particular plant is under some stress. A subtle change in the color of a leaf, the way the flowers might look, even the angle that a leaf is held on its branch can transmit a lot of information to those of us who commune with living things.

The good news is that in just two weeks, we’ll be transplanting the first of the early season flowers. Then in early March, the floodgates open wide as we plant up many hundreds of hanging baskets, patio containers and thousands of single plants for your gardening delight.

Until next time, stay warm and healthy.

Peace,

Your captain, Farmer Mike

 

 

 

 

 

Captains log, stardate 47501.3

A little past noon on a sunny 1 degree day. (One degree)

The first tap roots are emerging from the pansy seeds. Yay! Looking forward to warmer springtime temps in the coming weeks. Another three weeks and we’ll be seeding Leek, Onion, Shallot, early snapdragon and basket/container Easy Wave petunias. February 10th the first shipment of starter plugs will ship from our grower in Maine, and we’ll be transplanting those into 10″ pansy & viola hanging baskets. We use a plug grower because otherwise our fuel bill/carbon footprint would be huge from November (when the plants must be started) through February. That is how long it takes to produce the transplants. The other reason is that many basket varieties are done from rooted cuttings from “Mother” plants because they don’t produce similar offspring from seed.

Cuttings insure that you will get exactly the same juveniles as the mother, with the same esthetically pleasing colors, disease resistance and growth habits. Actually, very few hanging basket varieties come from seed, 95% of hanging basket flowers are from cuttings. We use our supplier in Maine because like us, they too grow organically.

Ok, I need to get back to seeding, I don’t want the boss to catch me slacking off. LOL

Peace,Your Captain

Farmer MIke

 

Captains log, Stardate: 25364.9 WELCOME!

Well… here we are, mid-january, 43 degrees out today and sunny. Most of the snow is gone, but I’m confident of it’s return… this is Vermont afterall. I was outdoors looking in the lawn for the first signs of “Snow Drops” (galanthus), usually dont see them till last week of February or early March, but I was hoping.  Michelle told me she had laundry out on the line… Brave woman. Mine is hanging in the basement as is usual for this season.

Welcome one and all to our brand spankin new website! Hopefully, if we’ve done a good job, there won’t be any bugs to deal with. Unlike in my kitchen… The warmer temps have brought every hibernating insect out of hiding and they’re sunning themselves in the kitchen windows. LOL

If… If all goes well… I’ll be seeding the pansy and viola seeds this weekend. That’s how the season begins, with some tiny little seeds, water and light… Well, in the case of pansies and viola’s… dark. They need darkness to germinate well.  Some species need darkness to germinate properly, some need light, some don’t care. I think I like the “don’t care” ones the best. LOL, less fuss.

I built a new germination chamber in the house so that we don’t have to burn as much propane early on in the big greenhouse, then they’ll move into the smaller heated greenhouse and live out their lives there until we move them outside (but under cover) in late march.  They should be ready… weather permitting… The first week of April. The season marches along, whether or not we’re ready for it. I believe we are!

Peace,

Farmer Mike

Your “Captain”

We don't just sell plants, we sell success!

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