Flowers on the farm
On walks around the farm, our oldest son always pointed out the flowers. What we would call weeds he saw beauty in and often brought me bouquets of dandelions. With his interest growing, we decided to try our hand growing flowers.
I bought packs of sunflower seeds and a seed mix for pollinators for us to try. We used Styrofoam trays left over from tobacco. After filling them with potting soil, we placed each seed by hand. The sunflower seeds were easy because the seeds are large, but the pollinator mix was a challenge. With me and our 7- and 4-year-old sons working on them, it was easy to lose track of which cells had seeds and which ones didn’t. We placed them on the ends of the water beds beside the tobacco trays yet out of the reach of the mowers … and hoped for the best.
Our first mistake was not sinking the trays immediately to get water throughout the cell. I thought once we floated the tray, the soil would pull up water. That’s true, if there isn’t an air pocket in the cell. And with our expert seed setters, there were plenty of air pockets. We came back the next day and did some overhead watering, soaking the dry cells and hoping those seeds would germinate.
Shortly after he seeded the trays, a coworker who owns Wrenn’s farm with her husband invited us to their farm. They grow flowers commercially and sell cut flower bouquets at local farmers markets and their farm stand. She showed our son how they started seeds in the greenhouse and the raised beds covered in plastic that would eventually be home to the plants. He came home with several pots of seeds to add to the trays we were growing.
When the plants were ready, we transplanted them to a row in the garden his poppa had saved for him. He took caring for them seriously, especially the weeding. In his words, “you have to pull the weeds, or they will take the nutrients from the flowers.”
Our table now has mason jars full of flowers he grew, cut, and arranged himself, which makes them even more beautiful.