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April on the farm
So, still in lockdown but we’re now able to get out and about to deliver flowers – which is great. No rain for most of April has meant a slight slow-down in flower production, but as I write this there’s plenty coming out of the sky, yeah. Our flowers need about 25mm of water a week – and we don’t often get that much rain here so we have to do alot of watering.
For those of you who haven’t been here – we have a five acre patch, about half of which is used for growing flowers: the other half is left wild, or planted with orchards, or willow. We have six large growing areas, one which I am madly filling up with annuals; cornflowers, ammi, sweet peas and poppies to name a few, one which has perennials, one for shrubs and three for dahlias.
We are now picking up to about 1,000 stems a week, and by the end of May we’ll have many more. As the summer develops the flower fields really fill up, and we’ll be picking 2 or 3 times this amount.
The other big job this month is to get our dahlias out of storage (all 800 of them), split them and pot them up ready to go out into the field at the end of May.
Flowers on their way
The narcissus and tulips are over for another year and we’re now starting to pick the very earliest perennials – geums are one of the brightest, earliest perennials you can grow with the most perfect red, orange or yellow flowers – rather like baby poppies. The other plants beginning to flower now are the biennials. These need a whole year to flower from seed and are best sown late May/beginning of June, so put a note in your diary – you’ll be pleased you did. Wallflowers, sweet williams, sweet rocket, teasels are all in this category.
All the seeds we planted last month have germinated and are now being planted out – they’ll be flowering by the end of May or beginning of June. They flower for about 6-8 weeks before we pull them out and plant some more.
The next round of seed sowing is the half-hardy annuals. They hate frost so aren’t planted out before the end of May – if you sow them too early they’ll be taking over the house before you know it. Cosmos, amaranthus, zinnias, annual phlox, sunflowers are all heat loving plants and its worth waiting until the end of April/beginning of May to sow them.
Our on-line shop is now open as we are able to deliver flowers. We have bunches, bouquets and buckets available to buy.
There are still bunches of flowers outside the gate for locals to help themselves as they walk by. We will also have flower and vegetable plants available to buy in the next few weeks.
Nic & Zoe – Orchard Farm Flowers