Tackling Challenges on a Small Farm (FSFS187)


second-year growing flowers. What are some of the mistakes missteps and challenges that Benny and Courtney Pino have faced at Lob lolly farm let's find out out in this episode coming up welcome to farm small farm smart I'm your host Diego Deny each geo today's episode of Far small-farm Mall Farm smart is brought to you by paper pot co it paper pot co our goal is simple farm fast live more we want to provide you view is a small-scale farmer with tools that make your job on the farm easier better in quicker so you can get off the farm into the office into the house or onto the beach and do other things in life check out some of the time and labor saving tools that we have to offer at Paper Pot dot co in today's episode? I'm talking to Benny Courtney. Pino of LOB lolly farm we're recording this episode justice summer turns into fall here in two thousand nineteen and we're going to be talking about some of the challenges that they faced production-wise on their farm this past summer things like we'd pressure things like growing under culture and dealing with Caterpillar Tunnels and irrigation and how they're tackling some some of those problems not just now in the heat of it but how they're going to try and tackle some of these problems into the future and hopefully get rid of some of these problems into the future it's their second year of growing flowers full-time and they've learned a lot along the way and it's one of those prime examples of you're not gonNA figure it out eh soon as you think you figured it out it's not that Benny Courtney don't know a lot because they do but the environment changes we'd pressure changes things is always evolve in it's in that evolution that's really humbling almost saying this is going to take a lot longer to figure out than we the F. Ever thought so let's jump right into it with Benny in Courtney so bettencourt a lot of things that you've struggled with this summer a lot of challenges a lot of things on the learning curve that came your way and just talk in before we started recording one of the things you did yesterday or this weekend was you took down your Caterpillar Caterpillar tunnels you've sold them to a friend you're moving on from those in one of the lessons you sent me via email that you really want to talk about was you're done using caterpillar tunnels and you're looking to go to high tunnels can you talk about why that is yeah it's it's been a lot of challenges in terms of light idiosyncrasies and heat management is principally what's been most challenging in particular with flowers there aren't a lot of flowers that love atop heeds and so you really have to make sure that the sides are up up managing the sides being up becomes challenging whenever there's a windy day so you're constantly watching the tunnel making sure that the plastic stays on on because it's really windy the plastic dislike blows right off the side and then it becomes like fifteen to twenty minute chore to Restrict that Plastic over the brain so you know we used a lot of tricks I can tell that the company we bought him from Barbara's friend is also trying to you know contest with this in in do a lot of work to make their product not base the challenges anymore and they have like things like lift kits and Wallsend even even people I was talking to recently invested in wiggle wire and I'm sure that someone's probably out there figured out how to do rule upsides and and so if you wanted to invest in them and go the whole nine really through all the whistles and bells on I'm sure even make them work but you'd probably have to spend an extra two honored to five hundred dollars to get them like really dialed in for the type of operation that we're trying to use them for and we figured at this point as long as there's the NRCS bran out there and We penalty friends that we talked about all these details within you know for example in our county Charles County here in Maryland they last ask year didn't give out all of the monies that they were awarded to grant recipients so they like had judge a not enough applicants to to disperse all there and so our friends you know you're missing out if you don't apply and so we got pretty excited about that and and feel like there's a pretty good likelihood that will get approved I've I've gone through most of the process at this point and it's pretty straightforward word of but of course you have to you have to front the money you know it's like a reimbursement grant so we are also trying to get employees on as soon news we have them because it is a bit a fair bit work to install a tunnel like that at least for for us it'll be and once we get that we will have to deal with those issues with the caterpillar elder tunnel anymore like that's a big thing that caught a creek Moore says he's just like you know when I totally agree that that why deal with all those issues when you can install something that's much retire tag and even in some ways you can get like automated aspects to a high tunnel you can get not just side inventing but Ridge Venting C can really likes her off gas all that heats and and that would make it so that we could grow a lot more for a perennial style flowers in their keep our Dalia as for example that's probably star but protect the culture is very important for flowers in the spring and so we will put low tunnels in we'll have like lo tunnels for a few crops that we want to just boost the heat on for getting ready early early early in the season and then we will have a high tunnel hopefully installed so that we can put more and more in their year to year so that's the good thing about caterpillar tunnels was it it got just started you know got you in the game you're able to grow with them and then you you sold them down the line to another farmer who could I use them in your set in what you're doing right now like now you know flowers were committed to flowers when you think ahead too high tunnel would you choose a high tunnel differently if you were growing vegetables versus what you might look at for growing flowers yeah that's a really good question I would say probably not too much different like high tunnels can get pretty expensive pre quickly like you you look at this entry level kit it it comes in at like five to six grand if you really WANNA go low end you can go like three or four but we're looking at like a thirty by ninety six and on average that's going to be at least six ish brand and then you know as soon as you put up the roadsides as you especially like a ridge talking about it can get close to ten grand really really quickly so we have to consider what the energy as willing to reimburse for they don't necessarily award you the full amount out and so we have to offer that more so than like I can compensate what we're growing in terms of like to to what we get awarded so if I install the high tunnel and Rabaul to get temperatures in the eighties and like like if it's ambient let's say like during July and it's ninety degrees outside and in the high tunnel it's only a little bit hotter than that because of the type of you know venting that we have in there then that's great and we can grow most everything that's like he tolerant with those conditions but it's it's up higher and higher than that then we have to light it and think about like selling more whistles and bells and so he's going to be a lot of learning curve I think in we're going to have to also think about mitigating bugs that's that's a really big a boon of the high tunnel versus Caterpillar like the caterpillar will wolf negate most pest pressure but won't eliminate it and so for example these Japanese beetles that are are just ferocious on some of the flowers that grow and if we put up like basically insect netting along the outer aspect of the tunnel Oh and then put our Dolly is in there and heat those Japanese beetles out entirely then we can we can grow so much more like a production of the dollars always goes up considerably because those Beatles universe war to in there they find the flowers they like just like hone in on any bloom and just after one or two nibbles else is like that that product is now worthless so you know that in of itself will be worth the while but you know I don't know how how they'll weather a lot of heat and if we start them earlier will they be more heat tolerant as they're like adult plants and all these are sort of question marks that we have to to a game out but there's people out there done it you know there's a lot of the people who grow roses in California they almost exclusively used tunnel so are people out there doing it we just have to continue to experiment bite out with this is actually a few flower farms not too far from me a and they're all plastic on the hillside and it just tunnel after tunnel after tunnel Lohan things that are more like glorified caterpillar tunnels but the they're all under plastic for you guys this is the first high tunnel that you'll be putting up on your property when you think about Roi and things things like okay how much how big do we go with this first one how much that we want to spend on this first one knowing what you might be able to get out of it what's your thought process there so I really want to definitely pay top dollar for good brand and invest in something that's GonNa stand tested time you know I I feel like there are some types of tunnels out there that are limited in terms of what they offer and or companies that you know they don't Shit or you know you have to manage if you want to install an N. wallover particular tight and so you kind of have to be more diy some companies in an I'd rather be a little plug in play because we just don't have a ton of building experience so we're also going to get like a lot of people behind us we were even at a a small farmer party last night and everyone was talking about how they're interested in producing these tunnels up in that they wanna have like a sort of a loose crew of friends as far as well amid than that we can kind of like not cow one tunnel time and then just move onto the next one the next one so that we can all like you know tackle these big projects and get them done in a realistic timeframe you know it's investment of several months and so you know I mean obviously it depends greatly on your experience and your ability to to bill but if you're looking at like I have a friend just down the road and for unite help them bear bait with putting their tunnel up and it took them two and a half to three months and they're tunnel is pretty straightforward you're so you know they're just doing a few days a week you know you can't spend all your time on it unless you are aloe just don't have to worry about that sort of thing but we feel that we have to to spend a considerable amount of time we be ready for all of that alike you know accrue investment investment in Yeah the answer your question I would spend the money to that we don't have to spend all that time putting up something that we regret I ended at tonight you know the type of flowers that we would end up putting in the tunnel we would would be the the flowers that bring in a high dollar for Sam so Dahlia's we were talking a lot about starting to grow roses so those garden roses in Dolly is there can be from two to four dollars stab so the return on investment you know I'm putting up a a tunnel in order to better growth those just those two flowers along the absolute in a one of the things you've we've talked about before is big flower days are Valentine's Day and Mother's Day would Valentine's Day might be a challenge for you guys in Maryland to hit that ah but mothers day things you may ash every year would would a high tunnel versus a Caterpillar tunnel give you the chance to possibly hit that holiday and if so are you going to need to go some form of active heating or climate control to make that happen yet that's an excellent question and absolutely that's a big part of why we're doing this too so you know if we're doing them in later for doing any like we do roses than we would have to just make it about about the roses and then we wouldn't be gaining we might put in a second tunnel in order to capture the market that you're talking about just ending on only putting the personal so so it's true we put it involves early in the season and if you especially over winter them and then he at a certain time you can you any time you're you're production alive growers in in South America they have it down to the point where they a cake bulbs and they put them in the freezer of big walk in coolers on like that and then they essentially cold stress them make them think that okay I've gone through winter now is Frau and then they pull them out start beating them up and then all of a sudden day they start germinating and then you put them in the ground around you can time to like almost the day when you're going to be producing flowers and so we have to learn how to capture those markets like you're saying Mother's Day we can hit you know no problems but when you start thinking about moving at another month back into veterinary than we absolutely absolutely need to think about minor heating you know enough to just make sure that we again we have to see whether temperatures alike in this tunnel but you know the plastic itself would be enough most likely we probably also have to cover with row row covers with Agar your bond and then if that's not enough then we removed to like a a Modine ears unlike you some propane and get it over that Hump so that we can produce for that mark one of the biggest markets you know non-chinese day is probably a number one or I know it is number one in the US and and then mother's Day and then actually technically the winter holidays you know Christmas time our number three so we might even try to move back even further further in time to to catch those markets with this tunnel when you look at sizing one of these I think you said thirty by ninety six was the one you're looking get now for somebody who's putting up their first high tunnel in doesn't have a fleet of them already on the farm experience operating within different footprints how do you come up with that number do you do you build as big as you can are you sizing it that way because that's a a land constraint that's what would fit where you want wanted to go in a why not making some size up fifty by one twenty or some other size yeah just the sizes that we we've seen for the most part you know where we've been shopping is thirty ninety six is very popular size in doesn't stretch too far out of our price range and also the space that we're a growing yes absolutely yeah we are sort of limited in our area so yeah when you look at the NFC as grants I think they're cautious are actually pretty generous isn't something like eighty plus percent you can get reimbursement for yeah it is is and I mean I think it you go lower like our friends put up a tunnel that was like five or six brand fully reverse okay so fully reimbursed so really league there's no guarantee you will get the money but assuming you do get the money you're fronting it so there's some dollar cost to tying up that money fronting it there is the labor cost of installing it whether it's your labor you pay somebody to put it up but the return on one of these through the grand program the end ended the day I mean it's almost a no brainer right yeah I mean as long as I have met some people through the years who installed them in in not Donna super professional job in almost become more of a headache like kind of what we experienced hats Onnell's so you do you absolutely do a good job installing them an in so don't don't approach it not thinking about that Labor aspect that's like honestly the biggest consideration is if you can install all them and install them well then they're like you're saying super worth you think about one of the earlier topics that we talked about which which was the cool season warm season flowers if you start putting stuff under a high tunnel whether that has supplemental heating or not how much I do those flowers maybe migrate from list list do the cool season ones become warm season when you start sticking them into a high tunnel not really you just essentially you just have them earlier but they you know because it's it's a bit warmer than you could start them earlier in the season earlier winter they're they don't really are they wouldn't like become you know all of a sudden super tolerant of heat for example but some you know there are some warm Ramsey's lowers the do very well in in tunnels like Saluda in Dahlia's roses so you could prolong along their production I think because it's more of a controlled environment so you can control pressure disease pressure water wiring schedules but I don't I the general concept of of of ours in worms flowers essentially the same you know the general idea review the same dramatic shifting yeah exactly right yeah the the timing becomes Keaton like we were saying earlier you know if you can you can get to this earlier markets that's that's let's for us very peril in one of the other challenges you've talked about this summer is the need to have a solid succession plan from warm and cool weather mean if you if you remove the tunnel aspect out of it whether that's a caterpillar tunnel or a high tunnel can you talk about some of the challenges challenges you've had there and how important are realizing this need to have a succession plan is yeah so one of the things things that we learned throughout the season this year more than anything is that you with flowers you gotta trawlers right so you are pulling that Trauma Sing Tao from all of your cool weather crops when they're done and so for us at least that means towards the end of June going into July all of a sudden those cool weather crops are just done and so you're looking at your apartment all of a sudden it's like oh say sixty for us at least sixty to seventy percent of DAD's needs to be turned over all they just are done so we have to spend a lot of time like close close to an hour per bed to turn that over in terms of removing all that traumatizing so that was really one of our critical pain points this season that we learned that that we need to have labor to help with that and system that allows us to to then transition those beds very quickly so ben turnover really would be like for for us especially in that in that during those months light something we have to consider try to staggered a little more to like have a game plan where all of those beds don't lead turning over as quickly and so we spend a Lotta time in the last few weeks gaming out our crop plan because we still have those cool weather crops they're like some of the previous fires that you can think of and they're very popular with Laura's an have a lot of color the variety is that that appeal to people so we absolutely prized those flowers but we need to be able to then transition into our warm weather crops is that are you know they they need to be put into the ground right before July and so it's like where'd so you move the needle to hit the perfect transition point and you really have to like game that out and have a plan ahead of time we we still we were sort of caught caught without as much of a plan as we needed in order to make those transitions smoothly but once you do the transitions in your just just sort of like working with warm weather flowers your is pretty smooth sailing you just have to to mitigate that at inbetween time 'cause what's the transition are bad turnover process on a Trellis te flower crop you have the Horton Nova it's a plastic product so you're not just gonNa flail flail Mo the whole thing I don't even know if you could probably find it up but higher removing this so you were for us at least right now our our crops get pretty tall grow up through obviously want to have them grow through the trellis things so that it's supporting them and and then they continue to grow several feet sometimes passed it and then you go to remove it and you look at the name like how am I ever we're GonNa get this Outta here is yet so tangled so you pull out the states in you have this netting where what we're doing wing is looking to chop off the tops of those beds using a hedge trimmer and then that netting is able to be pulled old so we can do that with most of the flowers but some of them you can't so what we're doing to work around like say a sunflower as thick sock that you can't cut very easily it's just corral trellis throwing them which just means that we're going to put the stakes in every five to ten feet and that's just around the board or the bed and then when those hours lean a little bit they sort of all support each other slash they they hang onto a line you tied to the stakes lakes that are around the perimeter of the bed and so that can be removed very easily we're we're just starting to experiment that the other thing we're trying to do is take varieties is that we can turn out very quickly so that they don't need as much support you know with sunflowers you can do branching types which need more support but you also do these single cut flowers that you know we don't know for certain right now but we feel like they're going to need less support a raucous just just grow up in less than sixty days he caught on done and they're not going to be facing as much wind in they're not as tall so so you can pull them now weekly and not have to deal with as much Charles Issues yes I guess the back side of this too is that's going to require you to have all the nursery stuff ready to go because because I think almost exclusively right you're transplanting most of the stuff you have so were you prepared for that this year when when you knew all of a sudden that sixty percent of the farm came off line did you have the transplants ready to go to you know fill in even though all this other stuff took a bunch of time as a not all of them ah but we did have a you know a lying ready to go in but I don't think we were prepared for the quiet the amount matt that was coming out at the same time so which is something that we learned a lot this year or next year got got it got it okay so yeah no really interesting on that front of just the challenges of bed turnover I mean compared to to Veg it sounds like with the Trellis and there's a lot more more involved there so planning that out going to be really critical one of the other things that I know you're struggling with and maybe high tunnel helps at this is perennial grass and when I visited your farm your production field is cut out of just feel the meadow of and a lot of that meadow is encroaching on your beds can you talk about some of the challenges you're dealing with their yes so we got all the way to July mid-july with Serve the plastic that we we so most of our field has been in under plastic like a big solid car for six months to a year those beds that have been under for a year sure you almost don't have to deal with the grass very much all except for what blows in and then we have to is the six beds deal with the the grass coming up even sooner and so like I was saying July oh my gosh the grass was really coming on it was amazing almost like night and day okay when you walk the farm all the way through May when there is barely any we'd pressure we all chopped with ourselves and then when the grass shirt coming on it's very difficult to deal with it without like hand weeding almost you know you can't you you come with a tool and you cut it and it's like okay well I'm I'm just GonNa go right back or you you hit it with like sometimes when I just doing bed number I was like well there's not much brassier so I'm just GonNa hit the Tiller Ciller in and be done with it because I don't have time I like saying we have so many of those beds turnover once and so when you do that obviously you're just multiplying problem mm-hmm and you're like literally almost crime as you're doing it because you know that you're GonNa have to pay for those sins in the future and so you know a lot of people people were they do is they get into putting their flowers on landscape fabric or plastic to deal with that issue and we're not interested in that because the the amount of labor you know the virus describing the bed turnover with the Horn Inova in the support I mean forget it it's like two to three hours per bed in order to remove fabric remove drip tape is you have to your the gate that way now and then reinstall it and make sure you have the right sizes available and pull things out like through the plastic instead of just you know mowing tilling it it there's so many time constraints when it comes to to using it so we we don't want to go that way we just went to continue to work on the grass over time and so we're going to continue to cover these areas with silage tarps until the pressure's low uh-huh and then we're just going to like stay on top of it with a weekly meeting so that anything that comes in seed wise because we can't control you know the whole I don't in quite know how far of the sea will blow in from but it can be as much as a a mile for things that are that are wind blown so you know we have to obviously contest with that continuous basis but if the grass is a chance to get established in we're waiting on a weekly basis than you know we should be you should be fine with the pressure over time what are your thoughts on perennial grass and using some sort of chemical the control it I know this is contextual some people listening to this they're going to get turned off right away by me even bringing this up out of the box sir you cannot use it obviously if you're certified organic but for non certified farms I look at some of the struggles that a lot of these farmers face fighting grasses for years in years and years and part of me is just like you know something like rounding up as a tool in the toolkit it's a means to an end it's not part of a regular use program damn to spray consistently forever but get rid of the grass with the chemical that will work move on yeah so we we have talked with We were part of a email group that discusses these issues from time to time nine and one of the recent threads was talking about mitigating they're Montecot pressure with sprays raise and so you know this farmer was explaining that they utilize it fusilade and they just spray for Vermont lots of grasses and you know we're discussing net because if we could spray to take care of that problem it it just takes care of young grasses and you use it sort of early in the season to keep them from from getting out of control all in so we spray let's say two or three times and that took care of the issue and then down the line we used mechanical cultivation Dan to you know to take care of any we'd see that continues to win than it would be like just just taking a moment moment too to dip into those that tool bell of using those those sprays inorganic on a nicely don't worry about that as much because we don't like no one beats our flowers while we are growing some edible flowers but obviously Britain spray there and and we would not that the pressure down with actual and not have to use it anymore I think I think really for us if we WANNA be very balanced about how we approach taking care of these these we issues and and so we are tempted we haven't decided for sure yet but if you know let's say we get into the springtime in in those Monaco answer just like out of control from us like tilling them in this year than I I may very well make that purchase and and go for it so that we don't have to deal with an overwhelming problem yeah I think for some farms it can just makes sense and like you said it's a balanced approach it's a it's a one time use thing or once a year use but when you have limited labor when you only have so much much time when your livelihood is dependent upon these crops getting to market in a way that they look good in you have tools out there again gotta Fit your context but I think people could maybe look at those more than they do now and not a follower farm you know I mean there's what to bed turnovers per year I mean are one bad turnover per year is that the most you turn over a bed like one crop in next crop out out or do you have beds doing more than two crops in a total year yeah the maximum usually is going to be too and that's only if you your her ruins like I started to try and target I like some of our crops sixty day and so in that case if I have been growing our early in the season with protected culture then I can like crop that out by May in N. doing sixty day in sixty days so threes absolutely the maximum annette's if you're like really squeezing but most of the time you're GONNA get to crops out of a bed per season though it makes up for that is number stems per bed which is astronomically higher higher in terms of production versus most of your badge so you know there's there's the investment on the front end but the production when you get cranking you can produce way more per square foot and then you can produce over a longer growing season typically like a month of harvest I versus other veget- doesn't last that long so given that the beds are occupied most of the year I mean there's cover on the beds and I'm thinking okay that's that's crowding out most of the weeds but the grass is that do get in there the weeds to get in there you can kind of mechanically control those hand we'd what you need to how do flowers competitive edge when we'd pressure comes in her grasp pressure comes in you have a bunch of weeds and grass and a bed of lettuce that you've got a harvest with a quick cut it's it's a mess you can't harvests it when flowers are growing vertically up there higher you're picking the stems themselves as you're not cutting at the root base how do you how are you affected as a farmer by we'd pressure on the ground when your product it is higher up so that's the beauty of you know a growing flowers universe the the the problem is more in the pathways than it is in the bed so we plant pretty intensively in our so everything is is at a ray of distance of either six or twelve inches apart and a lot of flowers fall in the eight to nine nine inch facing range so we'd kind of gauge a sign that plants characteristics are that ours characteristics the royal cabinet whether it's GonNa be reduced to mistakes or increased to twelve inches so everything's really close together and then just shave out a lot of our wheat so we don't have a lot of pressure in the best we occasionally have you grasses that will come up and then when you're cutting you just kind of way that you know so it's really easy to work around for us the problem is you know the our our power walking pathways are pretty becoming overrun with and then it's just really challenging to get in there and you know we whacked those or damage to the hours you know we tried various methods of trying to reduce that ally why were you know something like a spray would come in handy early spring but then we would immediately follow that by take a mulch absolute we didn't have that have to continually use up a or something harmful engine soil don't watch us so you can really easily just you have a row Leigh Anne how much of the weed we'd pressure do you think is more of a Labor pressure thing or time pressure you know these things are just the pathways getting out of control it's just another thing you gotta do right when you already already busy over the summer and when you have labor you know maybe some of these problems themselves out naturally they sort themselves out unnaturally by the introduction of labor who can be tasked to take these things on quicker and more with more frequencies so they don't become a huge problem that's all we're hoping so the goal is you know were increasing the amount of production that we have but not you know we're not certainly not doubling it so that you know what Benny and I are managing if we brought on to our p all it would be twice as difficult you know do work through so I would say we're growing by like the of quarter or a third by adding in those employees the the hope is that we would be able to have a Lemur to mitigate those those problems else and be able to do both time and attention to you know keeping those that a so that we can have more glocester farm this year how much land underproduction for flowers so we have about q air gets a little less than that underproduction right now the two acres underproduction do you guys feel like given the Labor that you have available between the two of you if you take into account the wedding work you do the design work all that type of stuff that with the two of you production wise like you're you're you're at bandwidth like adding on more or even keeping up with everything you have is challenging absolutely I would even say what we have is slightly more than the two of US see manage by not by a whole lot so I I would say we have how many beds do we have a number investment yes so we have like one hundred forty now and we're planning on bringing sixty more on Lloyd Ray So I would say probably if we did maybe like a hundred beds that would be manageable for the two of us so the that extra forty is she dan little bit on the edge yes the harvest honestly like the with the paper Pot we can plug in things really easily I can do better with the BCS no problem problem you know everything ride up until harvest soup breezy but as soon as it comes time to like cut hundreds if not thousands I mean we we literally each week do like four thousand six thousand stones you know bats when you can't keep up and then everything compiles naturally so if you think about that the flow of a flower season you're planting a bunch at the beginning of the season to get all those beds established then they're only going to get turned over most of 'em one other time later in the year there's the ongoing maintenance of them you know some some weeding the watering all all that type of stuff on a week to week basis with one hundred and forty beds between the two of you what do you think your combined hours were spent just rushed harvesting this year most most of it I mean most spin about sixty to seventy seventy hours a week on the far end I would say you know a solid three quarters of that are harvesting yeah obviously making the case right that the post harvest part of it that you have to deal with yeah so I mean one thing you looted to in the note here was we're gonNA try harvesting with a bouquet recipe and counting mind instead of by what's available is the thought there to help solve some of this harvesting problem or is it to make it for employees easier or can you talk a little bit about that yeah so there's this he conundrum when it comes to harvesting bars which is you wanNA marist all the bed in order to continue to have that reduce so it's like you know an industry standard think about deadheading and you know that's on something that we really don't like to do because it's like you're you're getting rid of spent flowers when you should have been harvesting those flowers and and if you don't then the plan its job is done and so it it basically starts doing to seed and you're you're you're looking at a production that only lasts for a a two or three weeks when you should be getting like say even as many as six weeks out of San Cosmo so we we were at first doing now I like clear cutting each bed you were getting like insane production and it was really working well in terms of the flowers hours but then you know it wasn't working so well for us because two things happened one we had to do way more work cut and then we also had waste waste we didn't even have a way to sail channel to absorb all of that production all the time and so you know he can do two things one you can pick it all in just find sales outlets for in hustle on the sales side which we're we're GonNa do but but the other solution is to just has paid according to what you know you can sell into the recipe that you're writing for so he started doing that and it did cause our beds to like I was explaining name to go by faster but thankfully we had production enough to keep up with that for the most part what we're trying to do is hit the sweet spot where we're harvesting exactly exactly as much as we can sell and so that's a a moving target and we have to continue to work on that but I would recommend people only elite pay what they're going to sell and not really like overwork themselves in terms of trying to make sure that every band is producing one hundred percent capacity because let's be very productive they just will they won't hit that like full potential until you find a way to to sell all the flowers and then you know that feeds into your land so you know based on how much able to harvest you can then plan plan the next season around that type of schedule so that maybe you're not seeing as much of a certain type that we could harvest it all every week inside all the alternative to that would be to you know go plant as much as you could but then you have to be prepared with your you succession plantings right to becoming online once those flowers are going by though is like a like a dance choreography Fuego uh-huh crop like lettuce lettuce is GonNa grow for the most part year round when it's warm and I can plan it now and not okay it's GonNa come due for harvest and fifty days and then I can cut it and cut cut cut it and then I can wait two weeks and can plan another bed of lettuce and assuming like the day length changes are stable like that lettuce is all going to grow at the same rate so I can kind of keep a consistent supply of lettuce us up their fresh lettuce when you look at flowers and you have these warm and cool season flowers are flowers really limited to a calendar window lake this don't this is not the right information but cosmos is GonNa Bloom between June one and July thirty first and whether you plan it you know now or you wait two weeks or then you plan another bad two weeks after that like you that your window to harvest it and there isn't this idea of stagger planning to extend that window or is staggered planting something you could work in Yes oh you actually stagger but there's like two buckets that you sort of look at the Senate and one is weather flowers right and so you over winter flowers I to have the earliest production I'm talking strictly about annual flowers right now by the way and so you you look at you're over wintered cool season flowers to come online first then in the springtime also planned a second succession of cool season bowers and those are gonna come online just a little bit later just just as soon as those those over winter flowers are getting in done on it's not true for every single was he's environment for the most part that's how it works and so you have a harvest window of say a month for the overnight ones and then the following month you have the ones that you planted in spring and then by the time those springtime season powers are done then you should have your warm season flowers coming online it's it's it's very like it's almost perfect the way timing works as long as you're you're working around your frost day and making sure that like for example it's very important that you plant your your springtime postseason flowers a month maybe even six weeks ahead of that frosty and so they still get to to get the opportunity donate a benefit of that cold weather and then you want to make sure that you putting your warm season bowers in just as soon as the weather warms soon as you're you're pretty certain the prostate is is pass and so that gives you the opportunity to then just I moved into the warm season buyers in essentially when you're getting into July those are coming online and you're producing those in a staggered sense continuously all the way up until your vinyl process a few exceptions in their their things like MOMS or astor's that you plans and they take a super a long time to producers burying crop times on all of these in so you have certain things that'll pop up at later months but for the most post part that's how the dance goes and and so you can't have continuous production and and when you think about like the Veg- world it I would they are warm seasons like that you the lettuce example you're giving you know you're you're staggering it on a continuous basis so that you're never having any gaps you're always always putting in another bed of cosmo every month or so but but as far as the cool seasons you just get to plantings you just get over wintered one and you get the springtime one and that's basically Nicole Seasons 'cause you have they have to be kind of by definition in the cool season correct and they can't you can't do them like in the fall all except for one thing which is people have success in cutting back your let's say snap dragons and then then they will you eat them in the ground and then when it cools off again they will produce again there's a few crops like that but for the most part you're only getting them in in in just the early spring so from very generalized perspective is this might would this be how the land layout works going into the spring the the farm is divided into thirds one third of that has been over over wintered one third of that is going to get the new batch of cool season flowers planted in it one third is sitting in wait for who are the warm season flowers to go in when they when they can go in a little bit down the line then when than those warranties and flowers go in when the first batch of cool season flowers the ones that were over winter come out new warm season goes in and then when that last batch of cool season flowers comes out the next batch of season goes in and that's how you're you're rotating the bed through yeah that's a really great simple way of looking at it I mean obviously again anders on the nuance but yes that's essential reducing knowing your climate how flowers grow in that area When you talk about crop planning I mean are you guys looking at sitting down and saying all right mid June this this is the bouquet or we're going to need to be making so we're going to plant these crops and then two weeks later this'll be online so this is what our bouquet is going to be looking alikes instead of a CSI box are you can you sketch out? Okay here's what are bouquets will be and here's what we need to plant to produce those bouquets absolutely we do a lot of our crop leaning around tightening book as we would make and also the propeller combinations and then you know the ratio Oh abs- sites to vocal loans to Filler as though we're constantly thinking about looking looking at in our heartland and ensuring that I know we also have a season -ality so you know they'll change from usually change from mind Samantha's things come on lying and things you know go go by and then seasonality as well changing from from spring to summer you're changing from summer to fall is one of our goals next year so this year we didn't have a lot of of fluctuation from of the title from summer to fall as a lot of the summer crocs kind of segue right into all but you know we're we're looking the united doing like ornamented that irs and more his saving Amaranth for example were ball action and just making sure that we're it kind of having a change so that people are seeing the bookies involve we get a lot of response from that at the market you know the customers and clients really like seeing you know the how the type of hours in action boss throughout the year I guess that's one way to keep it interesting too right if somebody's irregular bouquet buyer or if you ever go to a flower CSA THEY WANNA see the changing if you're getting the same bouquet week after after week for the cool season the same bouquet week after week for the warm season it's like I wanna see something different here kind of boring so yeah they definitely like to see in the change one of the things we talked about at the beginning that allows you to control crop growth results was putting and the flowers under culture going into a high tunnel one of the other factors you have or one of the levers you could pull is really irrigation Russian and I know a lot of the US on the eastern side of the US and Midwest has had real patchy rain this year lottery in the spring and then somewhat drought over parts of the summer here how have flowers dealt with that when you look in Maryland where you guys are at your in your needs change from year to year genetic better control over that or has been interesting to learn here because is what we really sure going hard with our bar game last year and this year so last year was the when you're on record here in Maryland since recorded history it was seven or seventy inches and it literally rained almost every single week I think I counted like like two weeks that it didn't rain and so there was a lot of standing water you know our field is pretty well drained you know we do have a nice loamy soil that that mitigates most water but that was like air for everyone I mean people would show a bit you know meetings with other farmers ars and there was just endless tales. WHOA right it was standing water for any plant is a bear and flowers are no different so we had a lot of production issues because of that in this year it was a very quote unquote textbook so we had generally healthy amounts of rainfall all the way up until it became really really warm and then we experience during something new which was flowers getting up what we call crunchy like if they go for three or four weeks without getting irrigated gated and I when I say three or four weeks any rainfall wise we we always irrigate every week if we noticed that there's not gonna be any any precipitation by it's almost like you have to do way more than that because especially when they're they're the flowers are sizing up they need like like a constant watering and if you let that go for evenly say two weeks without giving them water every three third day or so then it'll be a moment where they just get really heat stress and that sort of shows across their lifetime time for that on like they they never quite look the same they're never gonNA size as well as their day you expect into an I'm talking about like continuous heat of above ninety degrees for close to a month and a half as what we experienced an axe where they got crunchy brown like if committed in the eighties they probably would have been fine but what you do is you sort of like irrigate that constantly to keep them from experiencing that stress Asan so for the bands that we did that for like we were able to successfully keep your Gatien going we refine but the ones that didn't they they had stressed that that showed over time and they never quite sized up as much as our previous beds and and then the flowers like would go by a lot faster there is even conditions like one of popular flowers that you've grown the summertime is called Zenia and as can experience wooded lot of other girls called meltdown and so you know you you cut them they think they're doing all right and then after like three or four days they experienced this like sudden Kenedy paddling in just they they die and so you your flowers that you're picking in the heat in also be way more stress dressing have a shorter baseline which again is another challenge you face any issues with just even harvesting time like having harvest harvest really really early in the morning when at school where you would notice a difference if you harvested at the middle of the day when the sun's out in the plant has you know a lot of plants wilt purposefully purposefully in the sun too is part of a survival process yeah absolutely we have none of y'all per se but as soon as you caught cut them you you see that and and we have to be very very careful about which flowers more easily it's almost like on a spectrum from most wealthy to lease wilty that we've learned over time and so we go to the most wilty flowers you know the number one every time and then we stagger it according to that that knowledge and we we've mitigated most of those troubles troubles like you know you just make sure you pick them at the right times and you don't have to worry too much anymore but it doesn't matter

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