Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plans for the Farm

I've been reflecting seriously on the farm. There needs to be a plan for it, otherwise there is no sense in owning it. When we bought it, my dream was to set up the cat facility. My husband's dream was to farm. Exactly what to farm changed as he evaluated the land. Just because he gave up his dream doesn't mean I can't pick it up. It's a good dream and doesn't deserve to be abandoned.

I am not enough of a farmer to grow produce. It is far too unpredictable, takes considerable knowledge, patience, and skill, and nickles and dimes just aren't going to cut it. The kind of produce I could grow I could only manage on a small scale, and around here you only make money if you can supply a specific outlet (a store, or local restaurants, etc.). The kinds of "forgiving" produce I can grow successfully are really only suitable for me to freeze and use myself (kale, etc.)

However, flowers I would enjoy growing. This was one of my husbands ideas, and we have a shelf full of books to support it. If it turned out there were no market for them, or I did not have the time to market them, they can be given away, and local friends, restaurants, and nursing homes would love them. Unlike gift-zucchini, which gets tiresome after awhile.

I have the space for a cutting garden (for neighbors, and my own use). I have the space to grow one or two flower varieties this year that would be suitable for weddings, and market them last minute (Hey, I didn't arrange for flowers until the week before my wedding, and I couldn't find a single flower farm with flowers available at that time). Like sunflowers, for example. And if people came and cut them themselves, they could get them cheaper than at the market.

That is my preliminary plan. I had been toying with the idea of building a stand at the side of the road. It's a low priority...why build something when you have nothing to sell?

Then last night, I was driving by a former garden market, and noticed they had one of their produce stands sitting forlornly outside. I whipped in (would I be late to the vet's yet AGAIN?) and talked to the men who were putting in big new windows on the building. Did they want to sell the farm stand?

Sell? No, they would give it to me. They not only would give it to me, they would load it for me, and throw in a six foot section of cabinet top, too. They were absolutely sweet and wonderful, and shared their new plans for the building (ice cream!) Apparently someone else had stopped for the farm stand, too, but had not fetched it after a week and a half.

Nancy asked how I'd get it out of the truck (it weighs a ton). I just slid it out right where I plan to keep it. I'll get some landscaping fabric, put down mulch, and build a roof on it. And paint it, of course. I think I'll stay with green. I'll need to stake it down before someone thinks I'm giving it away and carts it off. And I'll probably move it under the tree, where it would be shaded and visitors would be somewhat protected from black flies.

The top is tile. Filthy, of course, from sitting by the road. But I can fix it up and seal it so it's quite cute. And it's small. That's a plus.

I have changed the name of the farm, which was formerly Old Ferris Farm. However, I'm going to mull the new name over for a time, to make sure it's right.

Martha gave me some sunflowers that Liza had started. It's fitting that "friend flowers" be the start of all this. Nothing much will happen this year, but something will! If I can keep the sunflowers from becoming deer food or insect food, just before they are ready to bloom I'll list them on Craigslist as you-cut wedding flowers for a very cheap price, just to see what happens.

There is always a reason why things come your way. Some good things have been happening to me lately, and while I'm not a particularly spiritual person, I had some good mentors when I was in college who taught me that gifts often arrive for a reason. And Rune Hill is right next door, so maybe some of their good light will spill over here as well.


Judy said...

Great idea! For next season: consider growing some flowers that are useful either fresh cut or as dried flowers. Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum) are a good choice. Ornamental grasses - there are annual species, easy from seed, and again good fresh or dry. Gladiolas are ideal - plant corms,let them grow, and cut flowers. Stagger planting at two week intervals for a sequence of bloom. Think about herbs - good for the kitchen but also nice to add fragrance to a bouquet. And I'd add a personal plea for some "greens" to make those bouquets even more attractive. I teach gardening classes, write articles and gardening books. Let me know if you want more suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long time reader, but I just had to post about things you could possibly grow! I like the flowers idea, but did you think of maybe setting aside a section for berries that people could pick and pay by the pound for? Up in Canada my extended family had a nice section of the yard set up for rasberries and they were always popular, easy to care for and would keep growing back each year. Strawberries are another one that people will drive a distance for to get them fresh. :)


Anonymous said...

Ah, what a nice dream, similar to my own. I have LOTS of seeds you can have (cosmos, bachelor buttons, marigolds, snapdragons, etc.), and come spring, I have many perrenials that need dividing (lady's mantle, black-eyed susans, bee balm, sun drops, jerusalem artichokes, etc. I find that since I've been growing garlic, deer don't touch any of my gardens--not even the tulips! I'll be harvesting garlic next week and I can give you some for planting in October. Also, you can pick up half-dead lilies at Lowe's for about 50 cents and next year they'll be stunning!



A Ross said...

I'm just around the corner on East Spencer Road, and have tons of flowers that need dividing.

If you're interested in some perennials for a cutting garden, just drop me a note at and we'll dig!

Love the blog...