I know you are feeling it too... the weather is changing; coats are being brought out of storage and chili is in the crockpot. I thought this might be a good time to reflect on the 2023 season.
Do you garden? What are your yes, no and maybes for next year? Was there something you tried that you definitely want to incorporate into your plans again, or did a new idea go hay wire? Comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on this!
First let's chat about the "HECK YES" things I am going to incorporate again.
Flower Cart: I absolutely loved the self-serve flower cart. I thought of this idea as I was scrolling through Instagram. I saw other flower farmers with a road-side flower trailer or cart, and I thought it would be a perfect addition to our business. Especially because this is a pretty crazy season for us. As a mom with a baby on the way, a new full-time teacher and day-to-day life activities, I knew I wouldn't have time to make it to farmers markets. I am sad I didn't go to Oxford, which is one I have been attending for 3 years but I just wasn't able to make it happen this year. I am obsessed with the painting of our HB logo! Breanna did such a wonderful job! Overall, the flower stand did really well! I was able to keep up with the demand for the most part and I sold a handful each day. A shout out to you if you stopped, shared or supported the stand! It means the world to us.
Weeding early: OMG this made the biggest difference in the quality of our blooms towards the end of the season. I was very faithful with a weeding schedule when I first planted, and you can definitely see the change from previous years. I also applied compost tea and fertilizer during the seedling stage. - I will also be keeping the wider rows.
Offering a short, long and unique CSA subscription: Our HB customers seemed to really enjoy the different CSA subscription options. I love the Morgan's Fav. I think it is so fun to extend the season with a pumpkin centerpiece and a wreath for Christmas.
Planting dahlias early and keeping a few of the new varieties I tried!
Okay now let's get to the "MAYBE" convo!
Delivery was challenging for the subscription bouquets. I can't always deliver on the same time and day each week and therefore it makes it challenging for me to plan or to prepare the customer for what to expect. I think I like the idea of all pickups from the farm. I might just offer it a few times throughout the week.
Merch was a success for promotion, and I LOVE our designs, but to be transparent, it was not a successful money maker. If I look at is as a promotional investment, then yet it was helpful in moving the needle forward. I do like the idea of offering a presale a few times a year thought. I think our merchandise is beautiful and I want to share those designs with you!
I feel like I narrowed my focus a bit this year, but I think I need to reign it in even more. Finding my niche that helps me stand out and not trying to do it all. I am not sure what this looks like thought because I like using my creative side and sometimes that part of me gets excited to try new things.
Here are the "NOPE" things I am not going to do again.
Hand watering everything. We didn't end up getting our drip tape completely installed and I hand-watered all summer. I saw a difference in the quality of the foliage on my plants. It was also hard to get to the roots as the plants grew in size.
I tried planting pumpkins this year and I definitely want to give it another attempt in the future, but not right now with little kids and a full-time job. I just couldn't keep up. Squash bugs and weeds consumed the pumpkin seedlings and I sort of just gave up on them. I will proudly support a fellow local farmer!
I will not let bugs eat my dahlia blooms again! I saw a trick where other growers were placing mesh bags onto their dahlia blooms to keep bugs off of them! I need to do this next year.
Canopy: I think I need to make a new canopy for the flower stand. One that has a backdrop. I had vases blowing over on windy days. I think I also need to purchase a bloom bouquet holder.
Last but not least, let's chat briefly about the things I want to try in the future:
I want to get some perennials installed, but we need to finish our yard first to help me know the layout I have to work with. ***Trees too!
I planted a few more greenery options this year but I want to plant more!
I want to work towards a greenhouse and then possibly a high tunnel!
Eventually I would like an enclosed farm stand that is insulated.
I like the idea of workshops on the farm, but I am having a hard time filling them. I need to brainstorm this a bit.
Okay you guys, there you have it! My dos, don'ts, maybes and future ideas! Comment below with your thoughts on this convo. What suggestions do you have or what has worked for you? What would you like to see more of?
Now to go clean up the flower field... I better get to it because it is getting chilly fast! Happy fall y'all!
****Professional photos with Jade and networking with EmpowerHer were a game changer for the quality of my marketing and promotion.