2020… It’s Been a Ride

Let me start off by saying: Wow! This summer has simultaneously flown by and drug on. I had so many goals for the 2020 season. Some of these goals I achieved, while others definitely fell by the wayside.

Ray “arranging” some zinnias. The boys liked to “help” in the garage while I arranged flowers… This help usually consisted of making a mess, but they had fun nevertheless.

Part of my problem was that I was trying to do too many things at once… Coincidentally, the week before the shutdowns hit in March, I ordered a book called Hand Made by Melissa K. Norris. If you’re wanting to explore the homesteading life, or simply just get back to the basics with cooking, baking, and living like the pioneers, you can learn a lot from her books, website, and podcast (check her out at melissaknorris.com). I was baking something from scratch every day it seemed, while also wrangling the kids, planning the garden, starting seeds, and dealing with the heaping amount of DISHES cooking from scratch can create. We were interested in getting chickens prior to the shutdowns as well, so the quarantine only fueled our desire to learn more about raising our own meat, particularly chickens (and maybe in the future pasture-raised heritage breed pigs). Luckily, Hayden took the reins on the chickens (or “kickins” as our oldest, Ray, calls them).

We had flowers much earlier this year because we planted anemone and ranunculus corms in late winter/early spring. These little darlings were so wonderful, especially the anemones! We also had tulips–and my were they gorgeous! I doubled my order for tulips for the 2021 season because of how wonderful they were! I was harvesting and arranging these precious spring flowers all while heavily pregnant.

Then, in June, we welcomed our third child, sweet little Josie Jean into the world. She has been the best baby, and I am so thankful for that, because this season’s flower subscription signups kept me super busy!

This is an embarrassing picture to include, but it was a reality for us this year. Weeds are HORRIBLE.

A reason I felt disheartened this year was because I let the weeds get away from me. I’ve had so many people mention how they’d love to see where I grow my flowers and here’s what I’m thinking when they say that: 1) A flower field is really not that impressive, because most of the time you have to cut the flowers before they bloom in order to get optimum vase life and to reduce insect damage, and 2) Weeds are flippin’ evil and amazing with their capacity to grow, reproduce, and literally TAKE OVER a space. Hayden and I are already planning our weed management for next year.

On a more uplifting note, I am very excited to say that we have purchased a small high tunnel that should be arriving this week to our home! This means SEASON EXTENSION and I am so pumped! For those of you that don’t know what a high tunnel is, it’s basically a structure made of metal (some people DIY-it and use PVC pipe or cattle panels) that you secure clear greenhouse plastic over. Light passes through the clear plastic and heats up the air inside, and the plastic helps to trap this heated air. Most of the time it can be several degrees warmer inside these structures than it is outside, just from passive heat transfer. This is different from a standard greenhouse that typically makes use of supplemental heating and light. It will normally be even warmer in a greenhouse because of this additional heat.

My only wish with all of this is that I could afford one of the BIG ones. I know we will get there some day, but I can be a BIT impatient sometimes. Hayden’s good at pulling my little dreamer self back to reality–and sometimes he has to endure some angry looks along the way. That’s what husbands are for, right?

Hayden pulling up the landscape fabric after mowing the
flowers down. We will use this again next year.

This weekend we are mowing down all the flowers after the frost we received last Monday that killed almost everything. Then, we are pulling up the landscape fabric to use for next year, and after we let the garden rest a bit, we will do one pass of tillage to get those plant residues to start breaking down. We like to rake leaves when they fall and add them to our garden and will hopefully add some compost to keep building our organic matter. I’m hoping to plant buckwheat as a summer cover crop in the areas we will do late flower sowing/transplanting.

If we have time this weekend, we will be planting our tulips, too. And of course, getting ready to put up our high tunnel!

To close, I’d like to spread some appreciation. We will never be able to express enough gratitude to the people of Calhoun for supporting our business the last two years! We hope to be around for many more!

Stay tuned as we share more about our adventures here at Sievers Blumen Farm!

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