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What Do Flower Farmers Do In The Winter Months?

There may not be much growing out in the field this time of year in zone 5b, but we're keeping busy! These are the months for dreaming, forecasting, and planning.

Contrary to popular belief the Winter season is not just "time off" for us flower farmers— even though we'd prefer to be outside harvesting flowers, these next few months are critical for the goals and achievements of the farm for the whole year. In some cases, we're making long term plans now that we won't see come to fruition for 3 or more years.

No pressure!

After a grueling harvest season, the quieter moments are needed (and welcome) in this line of work. Truthfully I love this time of year, not just for the rest, but for the renewed sense of optimism and excitement I feel about the season ahead.

And while I'm certainly enjoying a lot more downtime than I would normally have in the Summer months, my days are still full. Here are some of the important tasks I need to address from January to March:

Goal Setting: What do I want to achieve this year, and how do I get there? Creating "smart" goals for the year ahead helps keep me focused when the season gets busy and stressful. I usually set both large + small goals in specific categories like sales, product offerings, community, etc.

•Field Planning: What are we growing, and what goes where? Literally mapping out the flower field into sections by season, flower, and succession number. Then I create a seed starting schedule that corresponds to the field plan. These tasks typically take me about 4-6 weeks to complete in full.

•Scheduling: What events are we a part of this year? Taking a good look at our calendar and adding black-out days for family holidays, event & wedding work, market dates, and product launches.

•Taxes: How did we do last year? Getting a head start on sorting financial paperwork and receipts to assess goals and strategies for the farm.

•Courses & Education: This is my best opportunity to brush up on soil science, industry trends, and any courses or research that would help us complete projects or fulfill goals on the farm.

Seed & Supply Inventory: As you can imagine, I have a robust seed collection! Now is the time to make sure I've got all the seeds I need to bring my field plan to life and get in any last minute orders. I do a thorough look over of my supplies and order new seed trays, potting soil, plant markers, soil blockers, lighting equipment etc. needed to grow healthy seedlings. Included in this category is also marketing materials and packaging supplies needed to fulfill orders, including tissue paper, bouquet wrap, elastics, ribbon, cardboard carriers, etc.

As part of this job, I also like to think ahead and anticipate any equipment or supplies I may need later in the year, and mark "order by" dates in my calendar.

Meal Prep: Yes, meal prep is an absolutely critical part of my Winter work! As a Mom of 3, I rely heavily on meals prepped in advance to get me through the tough months (typically May, August, and October). Getting into the kitchen to cook extra muffins, casseroles, pasta sauce, etc. NOW helps me get ahead and reduce stress.

These are just a few of the things that I need to do during the Winter to make sure I get a good start to the year.

Other tasks include (but aren't limited to) content creation, website updates, equipment repairs, and starting our early season seeds.

. . . . .

What is something you thought farmers did during the Winter months?

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