2 minutes or 2 days. Whether I'm missing the ferry by a slim margin or missing planting time by days, small measures create some pretty big decision nodes at the farm.
Closing on the VPC property in late Fall--during the wettest Fall on record--meant the pressure was on to get the soil samples in, the field prepped, the rows hilled, and the flowers planted. Not because the peonies care much about being planted in December (they don't), but because, well, I do!
Slogging through mud on cold, windy days in the rain isn't my favorite. But once the peony crowns are out, time stops and I am perfectly happy to sit in the same mud I fought to mound into hills while I stare, fascinated, at each root crown I pull out of a bag that contains better presents than Santa's. This one is my favorite so far. She's fabulous.
It was a push to get all the peonies in. Push being the operative word because hilling heavy wet-season mud with just a tiny tiller is absurd and I loathe it. When we do the full acres of rows next fall, I will be investing in a very fancy 4-1 bed hilling machine that will hill, cover, and place irrigation tape in nice neat rows so that I can spend all my time with the part I love, planting. (More on that mechanical day-dream later!)
Missing key planting days balancing children, illness, ferries, etc. meant that I had to change direction. The first major change was tulips. I had 1,800 planned for planting in the test field at Vashon. Without time to fence off this deer-candy and no clear timeline on a well, I gave over our entire produce garden at Pine Lake to the tulips. It was the right call.
I was in my bliss planting at home. BLISS. Pros: Existing fencing, irrigation, organic-fluffy-improved soil with my secret sauce, and a warm shower just an acre away when I was done. Cons: No cool weather lettuce/vegetable production this year (sob), and no bright tulips in the Vashon field this spring (double sob). But all hope for beautiful spring blooms at Vashon Peony Co. aren't lost for us and the many who wander by each day. I planted hundreds of daffodils including gorgeous specialty varieties in rows around the test field. I planted for two days and into the dark, but they are there!
In addition to the gorgeous Daffodils, I'm looking into the best options for annuals and cover crops for this spring. More flowers! For now, all peonies are in, the daffodils and tulips are planted, and everything is safely tucked under a crisp blanket of snow. On to pouring over seed orders and attempting to develop a planting and production schedule. Until next year!