The slowest flower I have ever grown

Flower farming in North Central Alberta isn't for the faint of heart. Even with flowers that are easy to grow our spring/summer season is short, which means getting beautiful, high quality, wedding worthy blooms is a challenge. But for those that know me, you know that I am always up for a challenge. 

This year we decided that we would attempt to grow Lisianthus. Lisianthus has got to be the slowest growing flower I have ever met. This little seed is unique in that it takes a long time to germinate and requires light. So you must seed it on top of the soil and then to hold in a bit of the moisture we added vermiculite. We started our seeds on January 26 and after weeks of nothing happening, we finally have a few beginning to sprout. It took them 17 days to emerge! 

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Now that we have passed that stage, we still have a long way to go before they can grow up into a plant that is capable of having flowers. If we make it and you are lucky enough to be one of the people at gets a bouquet with lisianthus in it - treasure it as it has taken a lot of love and care to get to you. Happy Valentines Day!

 

Farm Learning: How Cold it Really Gets at the Farm

On December 28th, we decided that we would take a trip out to the farm to meet up with Andrew and Bri to learn a bit more about where things are, how the irrigation system works, and get the tractor on the trailer to take into the shop for some servicing.  As some of you probably also experienced, December 28th was a cold day. A really cold day -28C without the windchill. As Gary and I were getting ready to go to the farm, I mentioned to him that it was going to be extra cold because there isn't much shelter on an open piece of land. I began to bundle up, but putting on winter boots, multiple pairs of pants, layers of tops, two pairs of mittens, a toque, scarf and winter jacket. I walk out into the living room and see Gary ready to go, only wearing a pair of running shoes, jeans, a hoodie, a light jacket and gloves. I remind him again, its cold at the farm. To which he replies - I am ok with cold. So we head out to the farm and take on the first task of moving some lumber from a pile outside to under a shed. After moving a few pieces I turn around to find Gary and can't see where he has gone. After a few more minutes, he comes out from the irrigation shed and says, I've taken my shoes off and tried rubbing my feet to warm them up but I think they are still freezing. At that point it was best for him to head back to the truck and turn on the heat.

The next day we went to some stores to take a look at finding him a pair of boots, but didnt find any at a good price. Lucky for him a few weeks later we were in Costco and found a pair of muck boots that stay warm to -40C. 

Testing out the new muck boots

Testing out the new muck boots

Spring Work

This past weekend we put in long hours trying to get our new raised bed built before we head to China for a couple weeks. We have a friend looking after the flowers while we are away, but it is a lot of work to haul the hundreds of pots in and out of the house everyday so I really want to get them into their 'permanent home' before we leave. At our place we try to re-use and recycle as much as we can, so when it came to making our raised beds we utilized old 2x4's that were given to us by our neighbours along with some extra boards I had leftover from a previous project. Most of the time making these was used in pulling out old nails, screws and staples and cutting the boards to length. The added challenge was the the weather in Edmonton. I am happy it has stopped snowing, but we did the construction of the beds between rain storms.