Greetings, farm friends!
Flipping through my photos from this last month, they're all rather uniform, neutral shades between 'Dahlia Tuber Tan' and 'Snow Mixed with Mud'. That is basically February summarized in a sentence. My corneas are starting to ache for greens, so I dug up this picture of tulips from last May (the varietal is 'Mondial') which made me so happy I let out an audible squeak.
I'm a big fan of the Old Farmer's Almanac - a publication prized for equal parts reference and entertainment - and their long-range forecast for our weather this season has been accurate so far with above-average temperatures, above-average precipitation, and below-average snowfall here in the Northeast. They're also predicting another cool and wet spring, which I'm inclined to believe as I watch the rain ticking on the windows, leaving behind a distorted pattern reminiscent of the tannins of a good Cabernet Sauvignon.
I hate that I've already become one of those people that launches into '...well, when I was a kid...' but winters are not what I remember growing up. I do remember wearing a t-shirt in February, but it was because I was out shoveling at full bore (by my own accord - I loved to shovel) and was completely overheated from exertion. Moments after removing my winter jacket, a teacher from my elementary school down the street veered his car to the side of the road at the sight of my exposed forearms and asked me with great concern if I was okay and did my parents know that I was not properly dressed.
Yes and yes.
A large dahlia cluster
For those of you who follow Omniflora on Instagram (and if you don't, I'm shamelessly going to suggest that you definitely should, and then you should tell all your friends so that they can join in the fun too), you'll recall that the dahlias were recently cleaned during one of these rather alarmingly warm days. This is the first year that I've washed them, but the advantages were immediately apparent. We're able to divide more viable tubers from each cluster because we can see what we're doing (who would've thought?). The tools are saved from cutting through soil and locking onto small rocks. The mother tuber (the one that was planted last spring) is a distinctly different color and is now easy to identify; she gets a sincere thank-you before joining the compost heap. Perhaps most importantly, most of these tubers were lifted and stored wet. Leave those in a humid, 40 degree room in close quarters for three months, and it's no surprise they start to get funky.
After they're cleaned of soil, rot, and debris, they're dried for 24-48 hours in the greenhouse and then repacked in plastic bags of sawdust. They need to remain in a humid environment (hence the plastic although we'd love a different alternative), but they shouldn't be wet (that's the sawdusts' job). Dividing has become exponentially more fun and noticeably more efficient, as defined by the ratio of podcasts to completed varietals. (Just kidding: we keep real records.)
(More brown photos; I warned you.)
We're finally receiving the last of our seed orders these days. The actual reception is such a stark dichotomy with an acre of growth being wholly contained in an 8" x 8" box that costs as much as a 2000 Ford Focus. It's always a little disappointing that it still fits in the mailbox, but it doesn't detract from the thrill of shaking it like a maraca on the short walk back to the office.
For reasons that probably don't need explaining, our newsletter is undergoing some cosmetic surgery and will be published henceforth as a blog with past articles available on our website. Everything should remain the same on your end. You will still receive a notification when a new post is available, plus information on special events, products, and more!
Our CSF shares are available until April 1st if you've been thinking about joining us for a flower subscription this season. We've added some new options such as our dahlia share, plus a new mini-share for pick-up at Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford, NH. More information is available on our website. Shares make a great gift for any occasion, or for yourself (you deserve it!).
We're also delighted to be offering pre-orders for Mother's Day bouquets and gifts this year - stay tuned! Our fresh blooms sold out within hours last spring at market, and we want to take some stress out of the process for you.
Questions? Currently missing flowers in your life? Come visit us at the next two Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers Markets where we'll be set up for CSA Days; look for the board full of flowers photos! Don't miss these special markets:
Sunday, February 17th from 10-2 at the Kittery Community Center
Saturday, February 23rd from 10-2 at Wentworth Greenhouses
PLUS: sign up for a share at one of these next two markets, and receive a FREE beautiful and totally practical tote by local artist Sarah Koff!
Can't wait to see you there!
Thank you so much for your support.
We couldn't do it without you.
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