Fall is a tricky season to navigate. The blooms are slowing down and the temperature is dropping as the days are getting shorter.
I just want to snuggle up in a blanket with some hot cocoa while watching the season change.
Fall is actually one of the busiest seasons for a flower farmer.
Flower sales are wrapping up after a long summer, but to be honest you just want a frost to hit and wipe everything out.
Once the frost DOES hit, the sales may stop, but the manual labor of clearing out the rows and prepping the soil for fall bulbs begins.
I seriously underestimated how much work this would be (especially with no gas tiller or tractor). Ripping out the plants takes weeks of work. You will get dirty, scratched and covered in spiders and bugs.
Once the rows are all cleaned, it is time to start the back breaking task of amending and tilling the soil for some fall planting.
I personally love the look of fresh tilled rows all ready for a new crop.
Around October, the fall bulbs start arriving for planting and it is like an early Christmas for flower farmers! Ranuncs, anemones tulips, peonies, daffodils, etc. So much needs planted in the fall, that farmers actually refer to it as the “second spring.”
I found I was racing to prep my rows as my ranunculus and anemones were pre-sprouting in the garage. Then the tulips and daffodils arrived for planting followed by the peonies. Between pre-sprouting, bed prep and planting, I also had to find time to construct my low tunnels.
If you are really on the ball, you will also already be tending hardy annual plants that went in at the end of summer. Which means weeding and fertilizing.
It feels like a race to the finish line to be a flower farmer in the fall. It is busy, beautiful and chaotic.
However, once all the work is done, you can FINALLY sit back with that cup of cocoa and dream of the beautiful spring blooms to come (which is my favorite part).
My Fall Tasks:
- Finish fall bloom sales
- Clear out the rows
- Order compost and mulch
- Amend and till the soil (you might want to snag a soil test)
- Pre-sprout corms
- Tend hardy annuals (weed and fertilize)
- Plant fall bulbs and corms
- Construct your low tunnels
- Prune perennials back and mulch
- Dig up dahlia tubers for winter storage
- Divide dahlia tubers
- Order seeds and tubers for next year
- Tidy and organize your space before winter