Friday, March 25, 2016

An EGGstraspecial GOOD Friday Giveaway!

Full Egg Collecting Apron with ten mini egg pockets.
  Howdy friends. I'm so glad you landed here on Easter weekend. 

 Have I got a GOOD Friday Giveaway for my chicken keeping friends, and friends of chicken keepers too.
I'm hosting an EGGstraspecial Spring Giveaway over on the Beach Farmgirl Blog sponsored by Tara J.Grier, founder of Fluffy Layers. Her company is inspired by fun, fashionable prints and practical urban agriculture products. Tara is giving away one or her fun and fashionable egg collecting  aprons to a lucky farmgirl!

 Come on over to see more cute aprons and enter the giveaway for a chance to win.


  A very Happy Easter to all of you. 
Hugs! Deb

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Small Business Dedections for Your Backyard Farmer/ Florist Business

Don't you just love tax season? It gives my husband and I hives every year. 
For years we've done our own using Turbo Tax but with the launch of Dandelion House Flower's last year we decided to hire an accountant knowing we could benefit from some small business deductions. We don't have employees ( yet ) so all I had to provide was a list of any additional business income that wasn't already reported on our 1099 forms and expenses. No additional documentation was needed other than providing the name of our business.

 I thought I'd share the list we used this year. 

  Farmers markets, farm stand, event work, gift certificates/cards, weddings, wholesale, CSA subscriptions, consultations, speaking engagements, workshops,etc.

 Advertising, business cards, labels, stickers, signage, phone, Internet, printers, ink, fees for industry organizations/publications, ( yes, even those Wedding magazines you pick up at the grocery store count ) meals, shows, travel, office supplies, construction supplies, garden supplies, floral design supplies, tools, equipment, plants, shrubs, seeds, soil, irrigation, etc.

 Charities, gift certificates, gift cards, and flower arrangement's.
( Did you donate flowers to a nursing home or hospital last year? )

Keep track of all mileage to and from client appointments, pick up and deliveries for events and weddings, meetings, speaking engagements, workshops, farm tours, meals, etc. I'm keeping track of my mileage with Mile IQ for I Phone for 2016! How easy is that? 

Looking back at our last year in dollars and cents gave me true picture of what it cost to make it all happen!

This is key to keeping track of what's what from season to season. I confess, I'm not a spread sheet gal but I did pile all of my receipts into a wire basket throughout the growing season and put them away for the winter. When it came time to make my list, I knew right where to look. 

I hope this helps those of you thinking about farming your garden into a small business some day. It's easy when you start small, right in your own backyard, and have a good accountant!

Friday, March 18, 2016

MUM'S the Word ( King's Mums)

King's Mums

One of the greatest gifts of gardening is knowing that there will always be new plants to discover and trial. I just clicked the "order " button over at King's Mums and I can't wait to begin a new romance with these gorgeous old fashioned blooms. These billowy, voluptuous, romantic blooms are finding their way back into home gardens and floral design and for good reason. They are simply sumptuous and bring an old fashioned charm to the garden. Did you know that Chrysanthemum is the flower for the month of November? I'm a November baby and I've been walking around with that fun fact in my brain for years. It's about time I planted some don't you think?

I'm just dipping my toes into the wonderful world of Chrysanthemums and you can be sure I won't be able to keep quiet about them once I see them in action and I'll be sure to share all growing tips as I get a grasp on how they do here in the south coast of New England.
Something tells me that a life time wouldn't be long enough to learn everything there is to know about Chrysanthemums, though.

 Cultivars are grouped by the National Chrysanthemum Society bloom class number. There are 13  numbered classes that are divided into three lettered classes, A, B, and C. The letters that follow each number designate the cultivars size. I chose mostly tall varieties for cutting.
I'm just sharing a snippet today... When the plugs come in I'll share planting tips! In the meantime, I encourage you to check out King's Mums website to learn more about these beauties and pick a few to trial in your garden this year.

Seton's J Dore
Isn't she lovely? Isn't she won-der-ful? I'm hoping ( praying ) she'll find her way into some design work this season. Heck, I'd settle for just seeing her in the garden too.

 Are you digging into the unknown in your garden this year too? If any of you have experience with " mums" please share.

 Put down some roots and BLOOM


Thursday, March 10, 2016

SNEAK PEEK 2016 Seed List

 With the arrival of spring just days away we are that much closer to the lushness of a new growing season. The spring crocus are up and the greening of stems on my rose bushes is proof that energy is surging up through the thawing earth. We are still in warm-up mode in New England which means we are about 6- 8 weeks away from sowing seeds for summer blooms. Yahoo!

2015 mid-summer dahlias and zinnias.
With the addition of several more raised beds to our backyard flower farm I'm feeling excited about expanding my flower inventory this year. I'm entering into my fifth year of growing cut flowers and I'm excited to branch out and try some new varieties.  I order seeds from a variety of sources each year because I like to know who's seeds have a high germination rate. I'm new to Johnny's Selected Seeds and Edenbrother's, but I've heard glowing reports from other growers so I'm feeling confident in my choices. If mother nature cooperates, I'll be golden! 

 Here's the rundown, the lowdown, the skinny, the scoop, the sneak peek for the 
2016 Dandelion House Flower Farm season.

  • Ammi DARA 
  • Aster APRICOT
  • Aster WHITE
  • Aster MIX 
  • Cleome MIX ( hassleriana)
  • Gomphrena QUIS ORANGE
  • Sunflower BUTTERCREAM F1
  • Zinnia  UPROAR ROSE FI
  • Basil AROMATTO
  • Celosia PAMPAS PLUME
  • Celosia RUBY PARFAIT
  • Celosia SYLPHID

  Friendship Bouquet ( 2015)
 I'll be adding annual plugs such as coleus, dusty miller, snapdragons and no doubt some surprises I've yet to discover! Next time, my dahlia and mums list for 2016!

I hope you're feeling the growing anticipation of the arrival spring and feeling inspired to plant the garden of your dreams! 
Tell me what you are planting for the first time!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Inspiration~ Every Bloom Matters ~

 The gardens are slowly coming out of dormancy and so am I! I feel like a kid at Christmas. The anticipation of winter clean up, sowing newly acquired seeds and seeing the farm in bloom again is nothing short of exhilarating. I should take up jogging or something to get rid of this nervous, giddy energy I'm feeling! While the ground ( and I ) continue to thaw there are plenty of things to tend to in order to get a new season off to a running good start.

Anything that grows on new wood can be cut back now. This goes for roses, some varieties of hydrangeas, perennials and ornamental grasses. The harder you cut them back the better.
 It's also a great time to divide over crowded perennials and pot them up to share with friends or neighbors. My largest border is quite over-grown and over-due for some pruning and thinning. 
One of the things I'm doing this season is adding some smaller raised beds in the bare spots of my large perennial borders so I can trial new varieties without giving up prime growing space in my raised cut flower beds. I'll keep you posted on the progress there.

Bee Balm patch ready for thinning.

Order in some organic compost to top off your raised beds and replenish your existing established borders.You'll be rewarded ten times over. 

 The Little Red Hen House, bee balm ( Jacob Cline ) and Culvers Root ( tall purple spike plant)
English Lavender, Sunset Cone-flower, Butterfly Bush, ( Black Knight)
English lavender, yarrow, Russian sage and ornamental grass.

 There's nothing like good old fashioned cock a doodle do for the garden. If you're fortunate enough to have a chicken run ( and coop) to shovel out a couple of times a year then you won't have to order in as much compost. You can also purchase it by the bag at  your local nursery or agricultural center.
Chicken poo in the run composts quicker than the shavings inside the coop. The compost I shovel out of the run can safely be applied over the top of existing beds or turned in to new areas. Pine shavings from inside the coop are best added to leaves, twigs and grass clippings in a sunny spot where it can decompose a little longer before adding it to the garden. Cleaning the coop is a given every spring and something I look forward to and so do the girls!

 There's nothing prettier than a healthy garden brimming with electric green foliage and beautiful colors. Having flower beds and borders in addition to annual cut flowers for cutting creates natural biodiversity in the garden and makes for some fun flower arranging opportunities!

Sunflowers, hydrangea, sedum, dahlia and grass plume.
California poppies, ( front row) bachelor buttons, ( middle row) cosmos, ( back row ).
 It all starts with healthy soil. You wouldn't send you babies off to school or an important event without the proper nutrition and expect them to do their best. Your garden sprouts deserve the very best environment you can give them because every bloom matters.

How is your spring garden prep going? Share your plan and progress!

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