Farm Days: Planning

Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm


Farmers talk about an “off season” and a “growing season”. And yes, it’s true that there is an “off season” of sorts, I’m finding with each year that our off season is still busy. Busy planning & prepping for the next growing season. In part, it might be because we have been starting our small farm from the ground up. Quite literally. There was nothing already in place to begin our farm except for the land. Not even perimeter fencing or a road. And don’t get us started on the soil itself…

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A lot happens during our off season to source & plan & design projects. Hubby is also still involved with our local grower’s co-op on the board and as treasurer. So we are busy enough. Just not quite the same long days as in the growing season.

Every year, I have had certain projects to help plan out {from tree planting days to finding a trailer to live in on the farm}. Last year, I was also in charge of putting together a list of possible flower seeds to try in our new cut flower venture. I dived into reading & researching plants, how to grow & harvest them and flower arranging.


Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm


This year, hubby assigned me even more space in our market garden for the cut flowers, and basically handed the whole thing over to me to plan out. Gulp. I don’t usually do the seed ordering. I typically rely on him to choose what will & won’t grow in our zone and calculate the amount of seed needed. And where to plant it all. After all, he’s the main green thumb and head honcho when it comes to the farm.

The rows of cut flower beds seemed daunting in our spreadsheets & farm plan {they still are a bit}. We’re tackling 18,750 sq. ft of growing space just for flowers! That seems massive, although it’s less than 1/2 an acre.


Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm


I took advantage of the many hours waiting at the hospital for my dad’s open-heart surgery last month, and brought along all our seed catalogues & my notebook. That’s how I started. Just flipping through each catalogue, dog-earring pages, and making a list of possible flowers.

I already had some idea of what types of flowers we should grow based on last year’s experience. I divided my lists into the following categories: Edible Flowers, Celosia, Lace Flowers, Foliage/Greenery, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Zinnia, & Other Blooms. Seemed like a good start.


Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm


After I paged through the seed catalogues {and my fave website Floret Flower Farm} several times, I got to the nitty gritty of price comparison. Hello, farm budget! From there, it was a process of narrowing down my needs, wishes & ideas. Hubby, of course, was able to give me some tips along the way and he also had to teach me how to actually calculate the amount of seed to purchase. Math is not one of my strengths, and after two evenings of doing just that, I was ready to order random seed & throw it in the ground!

Some deep breathing needed.


Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm


Pro tip: the seed catalogues aren’t “written in stone”, so don’t get too excited about any particular variety until you check their website… I had to make all sorts of substitutions and changes when I tried to place my orders because certain seeds were out of stock already, unable to ship to Canada, or not available to order yet. Hubby calmly pointed out that all this is very common {he’s obviously been through it a few times before}.

All this rambling brings me to the most important part. Where did I order seeds from? Here goes:

The fun seed packages have started arriving in the mail! Even though there are plenty of winter days ahead, we will be starting thousands of seeds at the beginning of April. And before that, we have to prep our indoor seed starting space, setup our chicken brooder, build a mobile chicken coop, purchase finishing touches for our farm house {you know, like sinks, cabinets, fridge, vanities, lights, tile, etc.} See how the “off season” can be a busy time?


Good luck with all your seed ordering & garden planning!

Farm Days: Planning - Small Farm Life in Alberta - Organic Flower Farm

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