go flowers go / by alex redfield

Today our hyacinth bean seeds germinated and I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I don’t care that I’ve been growing beans since Mrs. Fultons grade 2 class. Or that beans may be the single most straight forward seed to germinate in the world. Or that these seeds were an impulse buy that has very little bearing on the success of this farm venture. Hyacinth beans are different and awesome! They have beautiful flowers! They grow shiny magenta pods that can be eaten like tender snowpeas when young or boiled like a dried bean when mature! It can grow 10-15 feet in a season! And wouldya look at those cute seeds. I can’t keep myself from falling for it.


Flowers are really exciting. Really very exciting. They're all so unique and intricate and joy-inducing. But as we’ve been discovering over the past few months, they’re also a little intimidating – at least to us, the relatively uninitiated.  In fact, let this be a warning: if you’ve signed up for our flower add-on and are nervous about not receiving adequate quantities of the flowers of your dreams, please stop reading. The following sentences may serve to exacerbate these anxieties.

I mean, we have a handle on vegetables, at least to some extent. We know our storage kohlrabi and our lemon cucumbers and our heirloom watermelons. But wow, there are JUST SO MANY FLOWERS.  Scabiosa, celosia, amaranthus, anemone , ranunculus, dianthus. Gypsophilla! Centaurea! Statice! Rudbeckia! My mind has been a blur of names reminiscent of scary-sounding diseases and sea creatures, and google is getting tired of my repeated questions … “what does centaurea look like again?” and “how many goddam days til strawflower seeds should germinate?” 

But still, things are looking good. We've seeded a variety of these nifty things here at home and are buying other "plugs" (little plants) from professionals with greenhouses. We're going to push our boundaries with some plants but keep it simple with others (we have grown some flowers before, like sunflowers and zinnias.) 

Here are a few types of flowers we should have this season, as tiny future flower seedlings have been poking their heads up out of the soil in our germination chamber over the last month or so. Left to right: yarrow, verbena and strawflower.

And these are a few of the things we’re going to seed directly into the ground as soon as the weather allows (and we got snow today so I'm not holding my breath.) Left to right: Sunflowers, Centurea and Cosmos.

We've also got things like snapdragons and marigolds and gomphrena and more on the list. So although a sudden transformation into expert flower farmers over the next few months is unlikely, we're pretty confident we'll have some MARVELOUS flowers for you to enjoy. After all, some flowers just do their thing, with even a little tiny bit of encouragement.... and we're prepared to coddle the others, which will probably include lots of loud cheering when they manage to germinate. GO FLOWERS GOOOO!