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Milestones and Hurdles

Well, it’s been almost a year since I have moved from Indiana to Kentucky – 11 months in fact. And in that 11 months there have been lots of hurdles, milestones and thankfully, some quiet moments.

The first milestone I am happy to report, is that I have some terrific neighbors – neighbors that wave across the fence most days, carry on conversations about their kids or the dogs or their current yard projects and on others, keep to themselves, just like me. Although I am the oldest of the bunch by a good 20 years, they have all been friendly and pleasant. The fact that I have a fence surrounding the property has likely helped – my dog stays in and theirs stay out. But what has been really nice is just the acceptance we all have of each other.

Another milestone to report is that my son has moved home. In many ways, his internship in Missouri taught him more about farming than I will ever know. However, I know more about flowers and I’m not sure he respects that yet. Like all parents with children, our relationship is a work in progress. We have good days and challenging days but for the most part, I don’t know that I could have ramped up my production as quickly as I have without his help. Since he has been home, we have built a greenhouse and cooler and he was a big help in building the tunnels last fall to over-winter some of my plants.

One of the hurdles that I am facing is, once again, water. The more I grow, the more I know that water is THE key to everything. In the greenhouse, my son and I had very different philosophies on watering seedlings. The seedlings he watered on the farm in Missouri were hardier and stayed in the greenhouse a much shorter time before getting planted out. His watering is aggressive and killed more than a few of my seedlings. On the other end of the spectrum, after I banned him from watering, as the temps rose outside, things were exponentially hotter in the greenhouse and my lack of aggression led me to kill a few plants. Outside the greenhouse, I elected not to lay the drip tape yet which has resulted in hand watering thousands of plants – a very time consuming task when you are basically a one person show with trays of flowers needing to get into the ground. Once again, I have lost plants between thinking Mother Nature provided enough and running out of time to get it done myself. And now as I sit here typing, we have had 3 inches of rain in two days and the ground is saturated. On a positive note – the latest plants to get into the ground yesterday and this morning were really well watered!

Like the property in Indiana, this property also has a swale running through it. Without fail, when the rains come, the swale fills and is taking freshly tilled soil and moving it from one bed to another. It will be a challenge to figure out how the address this short of hauling in a bunch of soil. In a different area of the property though, a bog that I have, which could be seen as a negative, has been a terrific place to grow willows. The septic drain field and its location have presented another challenge, but over time, I have an idea to make a geometric planting with grasses and perennials to address this.

The rains have momentarily stopped and I need to go and treat for cucumber beetles. The little pests have devoured my amaranth and I am on the warpath! I promise to write again soon.

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