Though it's not technically winter yet, the frost has hit here in Southern Maryland, and therefore, we switch over to winter crops. The summer flowers and veggies are killed off by the November (sometimes October) hard frost, leaving the fields looking brown and dreary.
BUT- we have exciting news... We built a high tunnel (pictured below) and over the last week we have been planting thousands of winter and early spring flowers in it.
It feels nice with this cold outdoor weather, to step inside this 80 degree hot box. The plants love it, and though we can't grow summer crops all winter (due mostly to day length), we can get a jump on the season by almost a month with a few crops. Meaning, we are aiming to have Easter and Mother's Day flowers!!! Without the high tunnel, we don't have our first flowers in the field until Memorial Day weekend.
To help plant the thousands of flowers,we had fun organizing #OptOutside on the farm day! REI started this concept a few years ago on Black Friday and Jake and I have participated every year since, this year on our farm.
Family and friends of the farm came by to help plant the octopus looking corms you see below, ranunculus. These beauties look like roses, and don't mind the shorter day length we have during winter. They take 3 months from this stage to bloom.
And, we still don't have a well-- yep, that's right, no water source on the farm-- hence why you still see those *lifesaver* white tanks in my sunglass reflection. Boy will we be grateful once we get a well. The high tunnel doesn't receive rainfall so water is our biggest hurdle to overcome through winter, not freezing the tanks, but making sure the plants get enough water.
Pictured above are snapdragon transplants we started from seed in the greenhouse in September and placed outside to overwinter. This is one specialty cut flower that will actually make it through our winters outside. Barn going up in the background!
We are grateful for the little helpers and big helpers of all kinds who showed up to work off their Thanksgiving turkey and get some sunshine and fresh air on the farm. We love our community of supporters!!
Black plastic rows help to heat up the soil even more in the high tunnel. On such a warm day as we had, the end walls were rolled up so we could get some air in the 80 degree hot house!! Felt like FL in February.
Through winter, we will keep chugging along, preparing rows of flowers and some veggies for Spring and Summer bloom. Stay tuned to our video updates on our Instagram and Facebook page.