Tulip season has come to a close here on the farm. What a season it has been*. We planted twice as many tulips this year and branched out from the traditional french tulips to parrot types and doubles. We also added daffodils. I think my favorite of the year has been the pale pink and cream Delnashaugh daffodil. I love the delicate look, and sweet smell. To me they just look like spring!
Tulips and daffodils are particularly easy to grow as cut flowers. In Texas, tulips are annuals, and while daffodils can naturalize and become perennials, I grow them like annuals. This means every year I order new tulip and daffodil bulbs. The bulbs come prechilled, and I plant them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I water them, but I do not fertilize them. Because I am not trying to preserve the bulbs from year to year I do not worry about the plant using up all the energy stored in the bulb without replacing it. This makes them so so so easy to grow. I also have not had any major pest or disease issues. I know that both tulips and daffodils have pests and diseases, but they haven’t found my patch yet. After popping them in the ground in December I water them a couple times (if it doesn’t rain) and let them do their thing while I obsessively worry about my strawberries.
The flowers also form part of our soil borne disease management program. Because they are an entirely different type of plant from strawberries and our summer crops, they do not host the same diseases. This helps break the life cycle of those diseases. A single season of a different crop is not enough to completely rid the soil of diseases that host on strawberries or tomatoes; it helps keep it under control. This is part of an overall plan that keeps the farm sustainable and organic.
Now the fun part of growing flowers, besides the fact that they are beautiful. Like Christmas trees, flowers bring out the stories, and the memories. I enjoy hearing how picking flowers remind a customer of their grandmother’s garden, or the garden they left behind when they moved to Texas. Being able to provide the perfect flowers for a bridal tea, or to take to a grandmother in a nursing home because she will love them is why I grow flowers. Don’t get me wrong I personally love flowers and always pick some for my house but ultimately it is what they mean to other people, the happiness they give that encourages me to grow them every year.**
Hope you enjoyed the flowers as much as I did!
Until next time,
*Even though the season shares time with Covid-19, we are not talking about that. I am not a doctor or an authority so I will not be sharing advice or talking about it in any way except to say I hope you and your families are all safe and healthy.
**I know this makes me sound like some noble sacrificing type. If I could not make a living off of growing and selling flowers, fruits, and vegetables, I would be doing something else. I do need to eat, and feed the dog, and pay the bills. I am just very blessed that I am able to make a living doing something that I find so fulfilling.
*** You will never get rich farming, You can a have a wonderful comfortable life, but rich you will not be,