Things are starting to get real! Today, we finished the fenced garden where we will grow a good deal of our annual cut flower crop! The garden was installed by Middlebury Fence Company located in Middlebury, Vermont. It is a 50 x 50 square, with 21 raised beds and (soon to be) pea stone paths. It is surrounded by a 5 foot high deer fence, to protect the blooms from our local furry friends as they grow.
We have a herd of deer on the property which has grazed here for many, many years. . .even before we built our house. And, over the past 7 years, they have not changed their traveling path or eating habits one bit! In fact, I think we have helped them to expand the variety in their diets. We love them, but they will literally eat anything they can reach including berry bushes, flowers and several plants often described as “deer resistant.” Roses, hydrangea, rudbeckia, raspberry bushes, lilacs, and Rose of Sharon trees are a few of their favorites – and those are just the landscape targets that we have caught them eating! So, last winter as we decided to move forward with The Flower Paddock as a business, we knew that the high fencing was a must.
While solving the question of “where” we would grow, (the fenced garden), we came to realize that there were also endless questions that needed to be answered about “how” we would grow our flowers. For example: Where could we source quality soil for the boxes? Should we use seeds or seedlings, or a combination of both? Where would those come from? Should we use strictly organic fertilizers? (We do have our fair share of manure!) But, there is one detail that was always at the top of the list. . .water. Where would the water come from to keep all of these seedlings growing? And, how would we get it from the source to the garden?
It was decided that while we will start off hand-watering the beds with water from our well, the end goal is to install drip-lines which will be connected between the beds and supplied with harvested rainwater. This water will be collected in 205 gallon tanks connected to the gutters which will be installed on the new storage barn (that will be built by Amish builders at the end of June) and then pumped over to the garden. As we transition to field growing next year, we will add additional tanks. The goal has always been to approach our flower project with the most eco-friendly, and sustainable methods possible-even given our limited experience and skill-set in this area! We are even considering solar panels to run the pump, the greenhouse fan and any wires we need to put around future field crops – with a little help from some friends who are more experienced in these areas!
Well. . .here we go!