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Written by Floret We pull an insane amount of flowers out of our little plot of land. With so much volume going out the door, we work diligently to not only replace the biomass, but also to build and improve the soil each and every season.
Cover crops, bought in and homemade compost, rock powders, natural fertilizers, mulch, compost tea and various foliar treatments are all part of our fertility arsenal.
Every fall we take soil samples from our field and greenhouses and send them into the local soil lab for testing.
This test measures everything from the percentage of organic matter, the pH of the soil, plus any lacking or overabundant trace minerals. A good lab will give you recommendations on what amendments need to be applied to bring your soil into good, working order.
Once we have the information back from the lab, we then set about making necessary improvements. Fall is a great time to add rock powders and trace minerals so that they have time to dissolve into the soil.
Our farm is situated on top of a sand bar note the silver shine to the soil above and while the freely draining nature is wonderful in early spring when most other fields are unworkable, it definitely comes with its own set of challenges.
In addition to being very hungry, our soil also has difficulty holding water and nitrogen. The same treatment goes for the greenhouses as well. Our favorite compost is made locally from recycled plant debris. We then sprinkle a generous dusting of a high quality organic fertilizer at a rate of 1. One fifty-pound bag covers about five of our 4 x 70 foot long growing beds.
It may not be available in your area, but you should be able to find something similar if you give the specs to your local feed or garden store. The ingredients are then tilled into the soil and irrigation lines are laid down.
Because our soil is so sandy, we put down four lines of drip, a foot apart. If you have clay soil, you could probably get away with only two or three. Once plants are in and growing we feed them with a weekly application of compost tea. After a growing bed is done producing heavily, we mow the remaining foliage down and take up the fabric, pull back the drip irrigation lines and amend the bed using the same process outlined above before replanting.
While the process is labor intensive, it has greatly increased the health of our plants, in turn upping our flower production across the board. Pictured above, a hoop that was filled with Iceland poppies. Once the plants slowed their flowering to a trickle, we pulled out the plants, prepared the beds, and replanted with a late crop of Celosia.
In our valley organic agriculture is slowly catching on, but there are still so many farms that spray toxic chemicals on their crops our neighbors included and use synthetic chemicals to fertilize rather than compost and natural fertilizers.
A natural approach requires more time, money and steps. For you mamas, please keep in mind that whatever you use in the soil and apply to your plants, at some point will probably come in contact with your children.
Yes, growing naturally is harder, and a bit more expensive, but I truly believe it shows in the quality of the flowers, and in the health of you and your family.
Below little Jasper is spraying an early crop of spring flowers with compost tea, a safe and effective natural disease preventative. Like with the other posts, your feedback and participation are highly valued. I would really appreciate it if you would please take a minute and leave a comment.
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We pull an insane amount of flowers out of our little plot of land. With so much volume going out the door, we work diligently to not only replace the biomass, but also to build and improve the soil .