Tiny seeds, big blooms

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We’ve been spending a lot of time in our seed sowing chamber (aka the basement storage room).  Haha!  We’re super fancy over here at Bochner Farms.

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But seriously, it’s been so energizing to get our seeds started and watch them grow.  We are growing dozens of varieties of flowers this season, many of which are new to us.  And wow, it’s amazing to me how diverse the different seeds are.  From tiny seeds not much bigger than a grain of sand, to larger seeds that look like little pieces of grain.  Probably the most complex is the differences in germination requirements and growing conditions for each different type of flower.  Some like it dark, some need light to germinate.  Some prefer to be on a heat mat, while others prefer it cool.  Some will sprout in a few days, others take a couple weeks or longer.

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It’s a bit of a dance to coordinate and give every flower the best growing conditions.  And don’t even get me started on all the conflicting information I find when I type in a Google search.  When I say conflicting information, I mean totally polar opposite information.  It’s true…you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.  So, we’re just getting our hands in the dirt and digging in. Taking careful notes along the way, and learning so much.  Real life experience is truly the best teacher.  But, I have to tell you, the flower farming community in Iowa, and around the globe, is so very generous with their wisdom and experience.  So many new friends taking the time to share what works for them and their farms.  It’s such a blessing to be part of this flower farming tribe.

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So, while the weather still cold here in Iowa, and we can’t start planting out in the field yet, we continue to sow tray after tray of seeds.  And every single day, we inspect the seedling trays to see what’s sprouted.  We probably look like fools leaning over the trays, inspecting them closely, and jumping for joy to see little babies popping up so green and beautiful.

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Of all the seeds we sow, one of the most surprising in my opinion is the snapdragon.  These seeds are teeny tiny, like grain of sand tiny.  But, the blooms are tall, strong spikes with big fluffy petals.  It takes over 100 days to go from seedling to full bloom, but totally worth the wait.  Last year, we grew two different types of snapdragons.  I wish I had pictures of them blooming right now, but I will be sure to “snap” (pun intended) lots of photos this summer.  We’re expanding our snapdragon production this year, and will be growing six different varieties.  I can’t wait to see those stunners crank out a beautiful, colorful show!

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Our bouquet subscription customers will undoubtedly find them tucked into their bouquets and we’ll have buckets of those fluffy blooms at the Waukee Farmers Market and Indianola Farmers Market as well.  If all goes according to plan, and Mother Nature doesn’t cause too much havoc, we’ll have a bountiful harvest of snapdragons, and a whole lot more, to share with all of you.  I can’t wait.

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Flower love

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As a central Iowa flower farmer, we don’t have blooms in the field in February.  Sigh.  But, we can offer the promise of blooms to come this summer.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we are opening up the Bochner Farms online store and now have a limited supply of 2018 flower bouquet subscriptions available.  If you’re looking for a “sweet” deal, check out our seasonal 4-packs.

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Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year.  It’s the day we focus on celebrating love.  And flowers.  And chocolate.  It’s the trifecta of awesomeness!

This year, I’m going to send myself a “Grown in the US of A” bouquet from http://www.farmgirlflowers.com. I just love the fact that Farm Girl Flowers is committed to supporting American flower farmers by sourcing flowers right here in the U.S. and they make every bouquet in house.   If you want flowers in February, check out Farmgirl.

If you’re craving blooms ALL SUMMER LONG, go to our online shop and pre-order your bouquet subscription today.  It’s super easy and we can’t wait to deliver our locally grown Bochner Farms bouquets to your door this season.

Perhaps the best news of all…every bouquet subscription counts toward our Color it forward program where we donate a meal through Meals from the Heartland for every bouquet purchase.  The seasonal 4-pack provides 4 meals which feeds 24 people.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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Happy Valentine’s Day.  Stay warm and stay close to those you love!

Lessons in flower farming

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Feeling so blessed right now to be taking the 6-week flower farming intensive course offered by Floret Flower Farm.  This is my flower farming idol, so to learn from Erin is really exciting.  Not going to lie, it was a huge financial commitment (and stretch) for us to sign up for this course, but let me tell you.  We are in week two and it’s totally going to be worth it.

The first lesson was all about goal setting and planning, really taking the time to dig in and get clear.  We also got a video tour of the farm at Floret, and Erin even answered a question that I’d posed after watching the tour.  Gotta love technology, connecting from across the country.  I was so excited when they said, “Lori from Iowa has a question…”.  How cool is that?

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As part of the “getting clear” lesson, we made vision boards!  I highly recommend getting out the magazines, scissors and glue sticks, and really make a mess!  It was fun, and so enlightening.   I’m going to let you get a little glimpse of the craziness that is inside my head and show you my vision board for 2018.  Kind of a cluttered hot mess, but that’s life right now.  Regardless, I’m looking forward to staring at it every day.

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll be learning about preparing the soil properly, growing the healthiest blooms possible, and harvesting techniques to maximize vase life.  All this is coming at the perfect time as we map out the farm planting beds, build out our seed sowing schedule and really put our dreams into action.

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Toward the end of the 6-week course there is a section about marketing our flower business and focusing our business model to what works for us.  As a lifelong learner, I’m really excited to dive deep into this section.  So fun!

Right now our heads are swirling with dreams, absorbing massive amounts of information and building confidence.  All very crucial for us, as we embark on this exciting AND SCARY flower farming journey.  I hope your 2018 is off to a great start and all your dreams for the year come into full bloom.  Happy January!

A lesson in patience

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As we celebrated Christmas with our family this year, I often found myself distracted by the fact that I really, really wish we didn’t live in our house anymore. Here’s the deal. Our house has been for sale since early May. We plan to build a new home so we can actually live on the farm. Our happy place.  Patience is NOT my strength, so this waiting is driving me crazy.  I know what I want, and I want it now.  In MY time, not necessarily God’s time.

I keep counting the months, telling myself that if we’d sold our house last spring, we may have been celebrating the holidays in our new house already. Not a very positive use of my energy. In a moment of clarity, it occurred to me today that I’m trying to live in the future, and likely it’s at the expense of the present. Perhaps there is a lesson in all this waiting. Perhaps a lesson in patience.  A lesson in faith.  Maybe I should focus more on the blessings and moments we still continue to enjoy in our current home, and the future farmhouse will happen when it’s meant to be.

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When I pause and think about it, this beautiful home that we’re trying to sell has been the place our kids grew up.  The walls of this house hold so many precious memories…pool parties, graduations, birthdays, baking with the kids, backyard barbeques.  So many moments of laughter, and a few tears.  It was in this house we celebrated Christmas holidays with Santa (Jim) visiting the kids and bringing presents.  Huge family slumber parties, the kids waking up and wrapping paper everywhere! Oh, and it was in this house we adopted our rescue dog Big Hoss and our new crazy puppy Miss Rylee.  They are precious members of our family now.

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It was in this house (that I’m in such a rush to leave) our flower farming dream was born.  Our first baby steps into the unknown of this flower farming dream took place in this house.  The next chapter will unfold in due time.

Don’t get me wrong. I still REALLY want to get the show on the road and start building our forever home, but all things in good time. For now, I’ll do my best to enjoy today, and soak in every beautiful moment. I am sure I won’t be perfect in this newfound truth, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Wishing you and your family all the blessings and precious moments this life has to offer.  Happy New Year.  Peace and love.

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Happy winter solstice

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It’s the shortest day of the year.  From this point forward, we’re marching one day at a time towards spring.  But for now, holiday celebrations are just around the corner.  The smell of pine and Christmas baking fills the house.  Gifts are tucked under the tree.

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But, in the midst of it all, I find myself dreaming of the day we live on the farm.  Jim and I absolutely can’t wait to be able to look out the window and see our rolling hills, cedar trees and wildlife.  It will be so amazing.  Someday.

I wish you a joyous holiday filled with family, peace and love.

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Back to school

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Today, the workshop materials arrived for the flower farming class we are starting in January.  I’m so excited to take this class!  If there was one thing this past season taught us, it was that we have A LOT to learn.

The course is being offered by Floret Flower Farm, my flower farming idol. To have the opportunity to learn from Erin and her team is like a dream.  I’ve tried to attend her workshop in the past, and it always sold out before I was able to register.  The class starts on January 8th and we’ll learn how to plan the farm, prepare the soil, manage weeds and pests, nurture the flowers to be the healthiest they can be, and even how to package, market and sell our flowers.

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As a lifelong learner, I’m eager to dig in and really go after this flower farming adventure.  We can do this!  Oh, and if you want to drool over some seriously amazing flowers, check out Floret’s website at http://www.floretflowers.com.

Hibernation

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Weather has turned cold and blustery lately.  This has slowed our fence building progress at the farm, but it’s given all of us plenty of time to hibernate at home.  I spend most evenings snuggled up under a blanket with my laptop, pouring through seed selections and planning our farm layout for next season.

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The guys still have quite a bit of work to do on the fence, and we were so hoping it would be done before the cold weather hit, but I guess all things in their own time.

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For now, I’ll just dream about the flowers that will grace us with their remarkable beauty next spring.

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Purple Love

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So it turns out that Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year is “Ultra Violet”.  AKA purple.  I could not be any more excited about this.  I haven’t been a flower farmer for long, but over the last year or two, everything I’ve read has said that muted tones of apricot and peach, or blush tones are where it’s at.  Pantone’s past Colors of the Year have included: Greenery, Rose, Orchid, Honeysuckle.

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But now, my first year as a legit flower farmer, and I get Ultra Violet.  Cue choirs of angels.  The stars are aligned for the future of our farm.  I can see it right now.  OK, let’s not get carried away.  Although the Pantone Color of the Year often trickles down to other businesses like fashion and design, certainly the muted tones will still be in demand as trends are just that, trends.  But…since purple has always been my favorite color, I already had planned to grow a few purple varieties for next season. Turns out I’m on the leading edge of color trends, who knew? Hahaha!

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In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute – “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

Purple love.

https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2018

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Thankful

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Our mission is to inspire love and kindness through the beauty of flowers. As I work on building our business plans for 2018, it’s so apparent this is the perfect mission for our little flower farm. Through our “Color it forward” program, we donate a meal (feeding 6 people) for every flower purchase.  And, we’re working on exciting plans for a special charity event in our hometown where we hope to feed hundreds of people locally and around the world.

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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to inspire love and kindness through the beauty of flowers. Have you ever thought about the interesting ways that flowers show up in those special life moments? They show up in moments of joy – maybe a promotion at work, a wedding, or a new house. Flowers also show up in moments of comfort – maybe a hospital stay, a personal setback, or paying respect to a loved one who passed away.   Why do you suppose that is?

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I believe it’s because flowers inspire love and kindness. With so many beautiful and colorful varieties to choose from, they are truly a work of art. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to grow beautiful flowers on our farm and share them with others.

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Happy Thanksgiving. May your holiday be filled with the love and kindness of family and friends…and a festive dinner table decorated with flowers, of course.

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Investing in the future

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Our beautiful piece of land is home not only to our flower farm, but also to a wide variety of wildlife.  Including deer.  Although Bambi and her family are adorable as they bounce across the meadow with graceful strides and fluffy white tails, they are evil little scavengers who love to feast on our flowers.

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So, we are building a fence.  A really, really big fence.  It’s quite the investment of time and money, but it will be a lifesaver next spring when the lilies are tender and our baby seedlings are newly planted.

Sorry deer, NO FLOWERS FOR YOU.