Our employees were all excited to take today off as we slow down for summer and Mandy and I saw a slow down as an opportunity to replace some cabinets, but as soon as we pealed back one layer of the onion, we of course decided to tear apart our whole kitchen. I think I had too much caffeine that day and the mood was high and the momentum was strong. An exterior wall came down in the process. So, without an exterior wall (there was rot), we are exposed to wildlife, i.e. Biscuit, who keeps sneaking in and meowing all night to our great chagrin. So I need to finish rebuilding that wall today so we can get a full night’s sleep again and Biscuit can remain a rascal, outside.
This is the Last week of the farm store until Fall so come on out today and tomorrow if you need to preemptively pick up summer birthday/anniversary gifts.
As with last week, we are still prepping beds for dahlia plantings. We’ll be planting over the course of the next few weeks. This month is the ideal time for southern growers to plant. I know it’s not what the textbooks say, but textbooks weren’t written about growing dahlias in the south. Overwintered, or early spring planted dahlias become huge and exciting for a month or two, give you some very early blooms, and then turn into a jumanji sized, heat stressed, insect hatchery. If you want to propagate thrips and Japanese beetles, then plant early in the south. In our experience, around 90% of your blooms will be ruined for the rest of the summer and all through Fall. The 10% that aren’t destroyed will be subpar.
Also of note if you grow southern dahlias (or any flowers really) and are near a hay field…plant a hedgerow. Thrips love dahlias, but they love grasses even more. When hayfields are cut, millions of thrips are displaced. Those displaced thrips catch a breeze and float on over to whatever gardens and farms are nearby and settle in on the flowers. We have a 100 acres of hay on 3 sides of us. We do have a 15 foot wall of a mix of evergreens, flowering shrubs and vines on 3 sides of us as well. It makes a big difference. Thrips are lazy flyers. They aren’t rising like a phoenix from the ashes, but more like dog paddling until the breeze carries them somewhere. If you stop the breeze, you stop the incursion. If you intend to spray them with your organic or even not so organic insecticides, you’ll still be disappointed. They breed like crazy and have different stages of development that live in the soil, or in the green tissue of the plant. Even the adults that live in the flowers hide deep in the petals to where sprays can’t hurt them. But assuming you nuked them all, the next generation would just turn up the following week. Your only recourse is timing of planting.
Speaking of dahlias, we are launching our Fall Dahlia CSA today! Four weeks of gorgeous dahlias from our farm to your doorstep. It was a huge hit last year, so we are doing what we can to plant even more and hopefully allow more people to join up this year.
In one of our tunnels, we just planted out all of this Fall’s heirloom mums for our thanksgiving bouquets. There’s talk of doing a presale on those this year, so we’ll let you know in the not too distant future.
Speaking of mums, we decided to extend our sale of cuttings until this coming Tuesday morning, so if you’d like to start your own collection of these heirloom beauties, you’ve got a few days left.
I’ve gotta get to that wall, so it’s time to put down the computer and pick up the hammer. I hope you have a really nice weekend.