Thursday, April 10, 2014

spring

The little flower plants are growing well in the relative warmth of the hotbed and the high and low tunnels.  The nights continue to dip below freezing, so I still tuck the seedlings in each evening with blankets of row cover and greenhouse plastic.  A couple of days ago, I noticed a few nibbled snapdragons in some of my trays, and the next morning, even more.  I set a tiny Havahart trap with some peanut butter to catch the culprit and hopefully put an end to further seedling damage (note the stubs of snaps in the corner of the tray below).
 
The next morning, I uncovered the hotbed and saw the trap's doors were shut, and this little one was inside.  Not a mouse like I was expecting, but another rodent I didn't even know lived here!  After brief internet and field guide research, I'm still not sure what sort of critter he is.  Some kind of vole?  A Southern bog lemming?  I settled on mouse-bear.  I waited a day to see if I might catch any of his pals to relocate with him (no one else ended up visiting the trap), and then took him to the edge of the woods a few miles away.  Too bad we couldn't be friends, mouse-bear; you're really adorable.
 
  
Outside, the predominant color is still brown, but signs of spring are everywhere.  The alder catkins are loosening up and showing pollen, narcissus and tulips are finally emerging from the ground, pond ice is melting, and the chickens are loving being able to scratch for worms again in the dirt.  
I'm appreciating the chickens' surface tilling efforts in some early planting areas and am really looking forward to digging in the dirt soon myself!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

seedlings


Sweet peas!
It's been an unusually cold March so far, even for Maine, but with the seedlings getting a solid start indoors and tomorrow's first day of spring forecast for rain and temperatures in the 40s, I'm feeling hopeful.  Here's what some of the little flower plants are looking like today, the last day of winter!
Godetia
Orlaya's impressive cotyledons
Snapdragons looking forward to being transplanted into bigger soil blocks today
 
Three successions of stock at one, two and four weeks old
Craspedia
Tiny lavender is the CUTEST
  
This 10' x 60' caterpillar tunnel is the next destination for the seedlings.  We reconstructed it on Sunday and built a hotbed inside using straw bales and horse manure.  Once the hotbed really warms up in the next few days, I'll move the seedlings out to the tunnel where they'll grow until they can be planted outside in the ground.  Yay for springtime and all the flowers to come!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

here we go!

  
The seeds are all here, the potting soil arrived last week, and as of yesterday, Blue Cloud Farm's 2014 growing season officially has begun!
 
This first round of seeding included: snapdragons, dianthus, stock, eucalyptus, onions, and an aquilegia variety that's supposed to bloom the first year from seed!  Pictured in my hand are little snapdragon seeds.  I'm always amazed when I think of the fact that all the seeds I'll need to fill 1/4 acre with flowers can easily fit inside my mailbox at once.

  
I'm not trying to rush anything, and have truly been enjoying the snow and cold this winter, but I got pretty excited when I saw this bluebird and its buddies flying around out back the other day.   Warmer, flower-filled days aren't too far off!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

maine slow flowers

 
Though it's a typical cold January here on the Maine coast and there aren't any fresh flowers blooming, I'm still feeling the floral love in these dried treasures from last season.  I was inspired to look at what is seasonal here even in this dormant time of year after learning about locally-grown flower champion Debra Prinzing's Slow Flowers Campaign. This project will establish a directory of flower farmers, florists, event designers, supermarkets, and wholesalers who are committed to sourcing and using local and U.S.-grown flowers.  The Slow Flowers directory will be such an amazing resource for everyone growing and selling flowers as well as consumers who care about where their flowers are grown!  I'm so looking forward to its debut in February!
  
Some of my flower farmer counterparts in warmer parts of the country (like Oregon and North Carolina) have recently been posting photos of their first anemone and poppy harvests of the season, so I thought I'd get in on that too with these pressed anemone and poppy petals.  
For now, I'm still enjoying my holiday wreath made with greens cut from right outside the house, and look forward to experiencing the first fresh blossoms of the season in the next few weeks when yesterday's harvest of forsythia branches bursts into bloom!
 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

light

 
Plants spending the winter indoors have slowly shifted positions and turned their leaves to soak up as much light as possible during these short, dark days.
  
 
Sounds like an excellent way to spend the winter.

Friday, December 27, 2013

farm to centerpiece

Seasonally grown flowers and super-inspiring farmer/florists got a great shout out today in this New York Times article:  The Farm to Centerpiece Movement.
I'm super excited that local, sustainably grown, fresh, and seasonal florals are continuing to grow in popularity!  Here's to a 2014 (and beyond) filled with more and more of these vital blooms!