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The bounty of farming began today

by | Apr 26, 2013

This week has been as busy as any. We have been involved with Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week all week. It began on the Sweet Wm compressedSmithfield tour April 20 with a talk on organic gardening and our pop-up shop, then our farm tour on Wednesday and finished it off in Richmond yesterday with a pop-up shop. What a week!

Today was the catch-up day. I had one task added to the list unexpected: I harvested 13 buckets of flowers, with at least 5 more to do in the morning. The photo is off the Sweet William bed before I ravaged it, the variety is “Sweet” the earliest one to flower.

Bobo and Carin with Susan’s help have summer rotation #1 planted. This is 3000 sunflowers and over 15,000 zinnias, cockscombs, basil, and other assorted warm season annuals. They also have one awesome vegetable garden going- peas, potatoes lots of lettuces and greens, beets, cabbage and beans. This group is serious about food.

So our season is off and running, Kelly has summer rotation #2 seeds started and are looking great. Steve will plow the most beautiful cover crop under next week at the peak of bloom to get the maximum nitrogen from the clover. I am always so sad to see it go.

We plant 5 summer rotations of warm season annuals, The first April 15, then May 15, June 15, July 15, and August 1. This keeps us hip deep in high quality large blooms all season.

Our big experiment this year is we have made our pathways a little wider and flatter so we can plant living mulches that can be mowed. For summer growing we plant buckwheat and Japanese millet. We believe this will provide weed suppression, moisture retention and is so much less work than mulching a bazillion pathways!

So our season official began today with flowers in buckets!!

Happy spring!


Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she  lectu80 by 80 lisares and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at [email protected], call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website