In August 2016 we purchased a 10-acre organic farm 5 miles north of Harbor Springs, with a goal of growing flowers to sell at the shop. In addition to all that space, the property had 100 apple trees, rows of raspberries, tons of lupine, a greenhouse, a pole barn with an attached apartment, and a deer fence. Over the 2017 winter, we sold our house in Petoskey and moved out to the farm. Marc left his longtime job to work with me and on the farm full time, and with the help of my dad, a contractor, we made the 450 sq. ft. apartment a more livable space for us and our two dogs, Buckley and Red.
This first growing season our philosophy was to try to grow many things and see which were the most successful, focusing on flowers especially. One of the first and most exciting things was watching the tulip bed I planted in the snow in October come to life in time for Mother’s Day. Marc built another raised bed in the greenhouse, where we planted dahlias, and beside the greenhouse we planted a bed of 300 lavender plants. Further out in the field we grew sunflowers, cosmos, snapdragons, a few zinnias and amaranth, pumpkins, melon, beans, carrots, radishes, and squash. Not a ton of any of them, but more than enough to keep us busy.
The flowers were a great success. Many mornings I would go out with the intention of cutting one bucket to take to the shop and end up with three, and many more flowers left on the plants. We sold them all. Every flower I cut and took to Pontius went out in an arrangement or bouquet, and we are encouraged to grow and cut many more next summer.
Working on the farm in addition to running a busy flower shop doesn’t leave much time for anything else in the summer months. This winter is for planning, and we’ve learned a lot this year. We intend to grow, hopefully many, more flowers in 2018. We’re thinking of adding another greenhouse and planning to grow more perennial flowers in the outside beds. The flower farming adventure continues, and we are looking forward to it.