Into the Unknown!
“Into the un-knooooown!” How many of you have little kids at home and have the entire Frozen II (let’s be honest, the first movie too) soundtrack memorized? Insert hand raised emoji here. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a blog post about which of my kid’s Disney movies is my favorite (it’s Moana, by the way), but as I was thinking about the upcoming season ahead of us, this song kept (very appropriately) playing in my mind. Into the unknown--how very true. Starting any business is scary, but one that is largely dependent on factors such as weather, pests, and soil issues (among other things), is pretty nerve-wracking. Add into that all the unknowns with a continuing pandemic, and some days I wonder, what on earth are we doing?!
I looked at our seeding calendar today and felt a wave of anxiety wash over me. So. Many. Seeds. Even though we’ve seeded so many already. And a huge list of other tasks: holes to be burned into our weedmat, irrigation to be laid, compost to be spread, the list goes on and on. Cory’s not nearly as intimidated as I am with all of this--he’s spent the past four years working at Bear Creek Organic Farm. If you don’t know who they are, check them out, they’re great, and they also happen to be selling our flowers this year at their on-farm market. This thankfully, has made the transition into starting our own farm a lot easier for him than me, and thankfully, by nature, Cory has a very laid-back and calming personality. But the neverending to-do list coupled with a full-time job outside the home and raising two little girls--well, it can be a little overwhelming some days.
And perhaps, like the song swirling around in my head right now, it’s the unknown that is the hardest to deal with. Will we have enough flowers? Will we have too many flowers? Will enough people want to buy them? How do we balance everything? Yikes, so many things to think about!
The other day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed, I tuned into one of my favorite podcasts by flower extraordinaire, Lisa Mason Ziegler. Her Field & Garden Podcast is always interesting and educational. Lisa has been growing cut flowers for over 20 years and is an expert in the field. I decided to tune into the episode titled Finding Your Way in Flower Farming (you can check it out here if you’re so inclined https://www.thegardenersworkshop.com/finding-your-way-in-flower-farming/). There were two main takeaways to this podcast in my opinion. 1. Go for it; just start. It may be scary, but take the leap and try it. And 2. You’ll probably make mistakes, and that’s ok. Cliche as it sounds, it’s all part of the learning process. Lisa says to call these mistakes “research and development” which I thought was brilliant. For some reason when you call your screw-ups “research and development,” it doesn’t seem so awful. Transplanted seedlings into the field too early and they died (true story unfortunately)? Research and development. Not knowing the germination needs of certain flowers in advance so nothing takes? Research and development. Not ordering enough spring bulbs? Research and development once again. So here’s to research and development! (But hopefully not tooooo much of it).
At the end of the day, when I start to get overwhelmed with the lists and whether or not we’re doing things “right” I try to remember what put us on this path initially. And that’s the joy we get from growing plants and the excitement of building this into something bigger than what used to be just a hobby. Ultimately, I know we’re on the right track when I see the immense peace that growing the flowers brings to Cory, and also to me (and who couldn’t use a little more of that in this crazy world?). The awe and joy of watching tiny seeds turn into little plants is extremely gratifying, even though we’re just starting out. I am hoping to hang onto this feeling five, ten, or even 20 years down the road and still be doing this. But for right now, we’ll focus on what’s right in front of us, which truthfully is thousands of baby plants. I close my eyes and imagine all of these baby plants turning into a beautiful field of flowers this summer, which fills me with excitement and hope for this crazy endeavor we’ve taken on. So into the unknown and on to a busy and exciting spring and summer!