22 August 2020
The results are in. Our soil is acidic.
We’ll admit that testing the pH level of our soil probably wasn’t the first thing that occurred to us when we started the flower farm, but nonetheless, it’s an important detail – vital, in fact; your flowers are only as good as your soil. So we sent some samples off to a lab and the results came back – we’re pretty acidic. Turns out blueberries and hydrangeas love acidic soil. Aside from the fact that we’re not growing either of those things, our soil needed some slight amendments to give any flowers we grow the best chance to thrive. So, to alkalise it, we added lots of green waste and calcium carbonate (chalk), while watering generously to allow it all to soak in.
Remember those 800 square metres of weed suppressant membrane we’d ordered? Before we lay it, we’ve been marking out holes in this for the flowers to grow through. These holes aren’t random; they need to be evenly spaced, but each flower variety also requires different spacing, depending on how big they grow. We’ve learnt there’s a surprising amount of research out there surrounding how to space your flowers – seed packets always give you a guide but apparently, planting closer together can sometimes encourage things to grow upwards and not outwards, giving a longer stem length. We’ve also been busy adding netting to our chrysanthemum beds (the tiny seedlings from our update before), which help keep the flowers more stable (especially in these winds!) and make them grow a little straighter. We did lose a few of the first flowers we planted to slugs. And the dog galloping over the flowerbeds (we’ve now surprisingly put in a gate to the field…).
James has been hard at work building a shed that overlooks the fields. Not only will this make a great place to sit and have a coffee with a view, but, more practically, we plan to add work benches inside so the flowers can be harvested and conditioned in there, straight off the field. We’ve also been looking in to ‘reefers’ – refrigerated shipping containers where we can store our cut flowers come spring to keep them as fresh as possible.
It’s been three months of quite literally laying the foundations . We have four main areas; the polytunnels (affectionately named Brenda and Bertha), perennial patch, our annual beds and delphinium meadow. Although we’ll have to be patient as some things can’t be planted now until spring, we can certainly get started on a few things before the end of the summer, so by next month’s update we’ll be excited to tell you what flowers are in the ground! Keep scrolling for some progress pictures below.Back to blog