This isn’t the same every year - some years the peonies bloom late, some years the dahlias bloom early, sometimes the sun doesn’t come out for two weeks BUT generally speaking it should give you an idea of how the season will run.



IMG_3473.JPG

FIRST QUARTER - JANUARY-MARCH

Generally speaking, this is the time of year when a lot of the preparation for the season is done. It’s far enough ahead of the season that we can set a lot of big ideas in motion, but also far enough after the end of the prior season to where we’ve recovered from the previous season.

Note that because we live in a milder zone, we’re able to do a lot of physical work during this time that others with more harsh and wetter winters may not be able to do until far later. We’ll concentrate more on the administrative side of things and things you can do to prep for the season even if your field is covered in snow or is so muddy you can’t eve walk in it.

JANUARY

  • Complete planting layout

  • Order any remaining spring blooming and perennial seeds

  • Place order for summer blooming and fall blooming seeds

  • On warmer days perform cleanup, weeding etc.

  • Check on overwintering crops under low/high tunnels and in greenhouses

February

  • Start spring blooming seeds such as bachelor buttons, gypsophila, calendula etc.

  • Check on overwintering crops under low/high tunnels and in greenhouses

March

  • Start checking for the emergence of spring blooming bulbs - narcissus, tulips, hyacinths etc.

  • Finish all cleanup

  • Double check on overwinter crops under low/high tunnels and in greenhouses - as it gets warmer, temperatures can soar and lead to overheated or wilty plants


salvia officinalis.JPG

Second Quarter - April-June

The second quarter is generally a very busy time for most people. We usually tell our friends and family to expect for us to disappear for a couple weeks as we try and cram all our annuals into the ground while also working on harvesting bulbs, spring blooms, cool flowers and early summer blooms.

Our last frost date is April 15th, and that’s the week around which most of our activity is centered. A few weeks beforehand, we are planting out cold-hardy annuals and perennials. We also will plant our dahlia tubers as well - we’re lucky enough to be dry enough to do so in the spring.

As soon as the last frost date hits, we start planting out the tender annuals like zinnias, cosmos, basil, and other items that can’t handle freezing temperatures. Occasionally we’ll get a late frost (so we protect our crops with Agribon from the frost) but generally speaking we’re able to get the farm going at this time.

At the same time, narcissus and tulips will be hitting their stride and ranunculus and anemones are going to be coming into production for many people too. Towards the end of the second quarter you’ll start getting blooms from biennials like digitalis and lunaria and aquilegias as well as cool flowers like sweet peas and scabiosa and bachelor buttons as well as early perennials like achillea and rudbeckias.

April

  • Up to the last frost date, plant out cold-hardy transplants like digitalis, echinacea, achillea and dianthus

  • If the soil is workable, start planting dahlia tubers. You can accelerate their growth by covering them with low tunnels or Agribon.

  • On the last frost date, start planting out tender annuals like zinnias, cosmos, basil to get an early start on the season

  • Continue to harvest the last of the spring bulbs like narcissus and tulips, as well as ranunculus and anemones

May

  • Start harvesting biennials like foxglove and aquilegia (planted and overwintered from last year)

  • Start harvesting early perennials like yarrow and echinacea (planted and overwintered from last year)

  • Start harvesting cool flowers like bachelor buttons, sweet peas, scabiosa (planted and overwintered from last year)

  • Continue to start seeds and plant out warm season flowers

  • Harvesting and pull the last of the anemones and ranunculus - most will be too warm to continue the season at this point aside from the Northern-most regions. Place order for new corms for next year.

June

  • Continue to harvest biennials, early perennials and cool flowers so long as they continue to produce. Areas with hot and humid and early summers will be the first to stop, with cooler and drier climates being the last.

  • Continue to start seeds and plant out warm season flowers

  • Start ordering seeds for fall


dahlia 5.JPG

Third Quarter - July-September

The third quarter starts off full blast with most of the tender annuals and perennials finally starting to bloom. Zinnias, dahlias, celosia, sunflowers and many other flower farmer staples are at their peak production right now, so harvesting will be the main focus.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at this point - flower farmer burnout is real - and the heat and pace of the season can wear out even the most seasoned growers. Remember to hydrate, eat, and keep yourself healthy.

July

  • Continue to harvest biennials, early perennials and cool flowers so long as they continue to produce. Areas with hot and humid and early summers will be the first to stop, with cooler and drier climates being the last.

  • Start to harvest the first of the warm season flowers - dahlias, zinnias, marigolds, amaranthus and so on. Ball and pompon dahlias will be the first to bloom, with dinnerplates usually being the last.

  • If you have a longer growing season (i.e. past the end of September) start seed and plant out a second round of warm season annuals to ensure you have fresh plants to cut from when the first wave starts looking rough.

  • This is the last month to pinch or cut back fall blooming perennials like Salvia leucantha and heirloom mums.

  • Start seeding plants for fall planting including perennials, biennials and cool flowers.

August

  • Start planting out seedlings for fall including ornamental cabbages and kales.

  • Continue to seed and plant out perennials and biennials for the next year

  • Cut back or tear out crops that are past performing and get beds/rows ready for fall planting

  • Sow the last of the short season crops like single stem sunflowers

September

  • Continue to start and plant out perennials and biennials for next year

  • Start sowing and planting out cool flowers for next spring

  • Continue clean-up and tearing out of crops that are past their expiration date


AfterlightImage(1).jpg

Fourth Quarter - October-December

For many of us, it is a struggle through July and August - but once it starts cooling down in September and then in October even further, we get to the best part of the year when many of our materials are at their biggest and fullest - giant armloads of gigantic amaranthus, piles of dahlias, and even the first of the mums.

We’re usually busy with weddings in September and October - with florists ordering buckets of materials and our own clients packing the weekends full. It’s also the time of year in which you can feel the nights getting colder, and you know that the end of the season is near.

Once the first killing frost hits (“Frostmas”) then we get to switch gears and start cleaning up the farm. Digging dahlia tubers, tilling in crops, getting the farm ready for the next ear and cleaning up T-posts and netting and putting the business to rest. You may also keep yourself busy at holiday markets with dried materials and wreaths, but otherwise things will start winding down for you.

October

  • For many of us, this is the month of the first frost. Watch the forecast and be prepared for low temperatures - cover crops with Agribon or plastic appropriately.

  • Seeds that require a freeze/thaw treatment like larkspur, Bells of Ireland and poppies can be direct sown now to ensure they germinate and overwinter

  • Plant out the last of the perennials and biennials for next year. Use Agribon and low tunnels as needed to ensure they get established before the first frost hits.

  • If you get killing frosts, start digging dahlias and other tender tubers/perennials

  • Mums are going to be blooming this month for most of us - cover with Agribon if in danger of frost in the field

  • Start harvesting ornamental kales and cabbages (the cold temperatures will enhance the coloration)

  • Begin farm clean-up before it gets too cold or rainy or snowy

  • Start soaking and sprouting anemones and ranunculus if you are going to overwinter them

November

  • Finish digging dahlias and store away for next year. Order new dahlia tubers for next year.

  • Finish covering any perennials, biennials and cool flowers for next year as needed.

  • Plant out anemones and ranunculus if overwintering

  • Finish farm clean-up wherever possible

December

  • Check on biennials, perennials and cool flowers as needed. Keep an eye on low tunnels and hoop houses to ensure that they are not overheating

  • If overwintering anemones and ranunculus, check to ensure that they are doing well in their respective shelters

  • Double and triple check that your thermostats and heating systems are ready for the winter if you have a heated greenhouse

  • If you are starting dahlias for cuttings, pot up and place under lights

  • Catch your breath! Enjoy that the farm has been put to rest