January 5, 2018

Filling My Head with Flowers

Happy 2018! 
This past month has been a challenge, with the fire and all that has gone on with that.
I feel such empathy for those in California who have completely lost their homes to wildfires this year. Our fire was small, but it has affected pretty much every aspect of our lives. 
Most recently, our computer completely died.
It was in the dining room, on the floor, so we didn't think it got any smoke damage.
Apparently we were wrong.
So it has been taken away to be cleaned, along with my camera, and all other electronics in the house. We will not get them back for 1-2 weeks.
No, we are not back in our house yet.
Still in our friends' basement.
Most of our stuff is either in boxes or in a pod in the driveway back at the house.
It can be frustrating at times.

I suppose it's a good thing I have some hobbies.
Otherwise I would be going crazy right now.
As it is, I have put a lot of thought lately into my flower farm plans.
(Better than thinking about how it will probably be spring before we are back into our house again.)
I got 3 books for Christmas straight from my Amazon wish list--funny how that happens! 
(To be reviewed soon--I am so far behind on reviews!)
Then a couple seed/plant catalogs came, and my favorite farmer-florist blog (Floret) put up seeds and dahlias for sale, and oh my. 
Flowers on my mind.
Why does it have to be January right now? 

I even went to the grocery store in search of cheap flowers to play with (rearrange), but I just couldn't bring myself to pay $20 for a couple stems of sad-looking roses and lilies.
So, instead I ordered 8 varieties of dahlias, 4 of each, from Floret and Eden Brothers, and some seeds.
I am going to let my daughter help me pick out any other seeds this spring.
 I've started a mental list of what I'll need to get started.
It's quite a lot.

Big stuff:

Greenhouse finished (clear plastic on outside purchased & installed)
drip irrigation system for garden
cold frame

Smaller stuff:

seed starting trays
seed starting medium
warming mats or DIY warming system
assortment of smaller pots for putting seedlings into 
plant markers/pen

5-10 tall buckets (for putting freshly cut flowers into) 
really good flower snips
thorn remover 
flower food in packets
brass pin-style flower frogs
floral putty
more containers/vases (I want to look for these at thrift stores)
chicken wire (to hold flowers in bigger arrangements)
Floral wire
paper or cellophane to wrap finished bouquets in for market
All this makes it seem like I'm going to jump in full force this year, but in reality I am moving forward slowly with my flower farming plans.
In addition to flowers, I am thinking about the business side of things.
I need to write a business plan; something I've never done before, but which I hope will be beneficial for getting these starry-eyed dreams down into practical realities and make them happen.

Here's what else I need to do:
* Come up with a name for my farm
* Figure out licensing/tax ID stuff
* Look into potential marketing opportunities
* get a feel for pricing

This year I am mostly hoping to get my feet wet.
Grow enough flowers to make bouquets and arrangements all summer.
See if I can sell some, probably give most away.
Track costs and materials closely.
Get out there and see how timing works out, both for daily chores and throughout the season.

If I get really brave, I may apply for a booth at one of the the Farmer's Markets close by.
I almost want to have a summer of seeing how it goes with growing first, though.
It would be awful to have booth space and have the timing wrong on the growing end so I have nothing available to cut that week.
 I may even take a flower arranging class or work at a flower shop or something.

Yep. Head in the flower patch lately.

You know what's funny, though?
I took my 5 year old to storytime at the library this week, and I could totally see myself stepping back into that job, too, at some point. Children's librarians have all the fun. :)
I love books and reading, and getting kids excited about books and reading.
Flower farming is a much different skill set and I have a feeling the learning curve will be steep.

So I have some work to do, as far as clarifying my goals and plans.
Maybe librarian in the winter and flowers in the summer? :)

Right now I'm taking it one step at a time.
32 dahlias here, 19 peonies there.
 I am also making list of shrubs and vines I want to plant this year, but that's another post altogether.

What has your attention right now? 

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