FLEDGLING FLOWER FARMER
After 20 years of cultivating crops in upstate NY, I am wrapping up the first growing season here in Dillon, Montana. What started out as a great unknown, filled with concerns that the growing conditions and my lack of experience in this geographical region would produce only weeds or stumpy crops, has resulted in one of the best gardens I have ever had. While still in the process of putting everything to bed for the winter, we have managed to get over 300 cloves of garlic and approximately 1000 narcissus bulbs in the ground. I am at the edge of my seat with eager anticipation to see them bloom in spring. Hopefully, all goes well and fragrant specialty narcissus will be our first flower crop of 2022.
The once intimidating blank slate of a yard is now landscaped with an assortment of zone 3 and 4 hardy bushes, trees, shrubs, and perennials which will be used in floral design work. Included are a 50 foot row of Boyne raspberries, 3 different types of zone 3 pears, 1 Cortland apple, 1 Dolgo crabapple, 1 Red Baron Crabapple, and 1 Stanley plum planted in the production garden. The rest of the yard has about 18 lilacs (15 different varieties), 2 Saskatoon serviceberries, 2 Isanti dogwood, 3 mock orange bushes, 2 forsythia bushes, 2 dwarf red leaf sand cherries, 2 snowberries, 2 Renaissance spirea, a North Pole arborvitae, a heritage birch, and a Rocky Mountain Juniper. It will take a few years for them to get well established (as long as they survive), but just getting them in the ground has been a victory. The perennials include lupine, columbine, astilbe, Crane geranium, lemon balm, echinacea, lemon mint monarda, assorted sedum, yarrow, phlox, valerian, and oregano and more. More will be added in 2022.
In addition to varying degrees of success with the many cut flower crops planted, we celebrated a bumper crops of onions, shallots, and assorted brassica. Starting in July, we had a booth at the Dillon Farmer's Market each Saturday where our flower bunches and mixed bouquets were well received along with the veggies. Town and Country Foods started carrying our flowers in their floral cooler in the produce section in July. We look forward to having our flowers in both of these outlets next year, God willing.
We sold assorted dried flower bouquets and hat trims (and onions and shallots) at the Dillon Garden Club's Fall Arts and Crafts show last Saturday and plan to be at the December 4 Crafts Fair sponsored by the Elks Club.
In the meantime, we are accepting orders/reservations for 2022 flower subscriptions.
A Flower Subscription is a program where you pay an upfront cost at the beginning of the growing season for a bouquet of flowers grown at our farm that you pick up each week. This provides your home / office with the freshest flowers from our field. Signing up for one of our Flower Subscriptions is one of the best ways to support your small local farm and enjoy fresh flowers.
We are also accepting orders/reservations for 2022 vegetable CSA boxes. A Vegetable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a program where you pay an upfront cost at the beginning of the growing season for a box of assorted vegetables grown at our farm that you pick up each week. This provides your home with the freshest produce from our field. Signing up for one of our Veggie Boxes is one of the best ways to support your small local farm and enjoy fresh produce.
We are offering a limited number of Vegetable CSA shares ( Community Supported Agriculture) for the 2022 season. Each box will include 7-10 crops plus seasonal herbs. All memberships will be prepaid before the season starts. Details are in the process of being finalized. More information is available here.
Before seeds get started in late February, there will be many hours of thoughtful garden/farm planning. Crop varieties, quantities, and placement of those crops will all be decided before most seeds are even ordered. Many adjustments will be made from the 2021 season to accommodate additional flower and vegetable crops. We are also hoping to be able to add a large hoop house in early spring to extend the growing season for dahlias, zinnias , and other crops that can benefit from more protection.
Thank you for your support in 2021. I look forward to seeing what grows in 2022.