Can I just say that ever since my husband and I decided about a month ago that we were officially going to take our flower farm full time and not have my husband look for another job elsewhere that life has been a little insane? True, it’s been insane in the best kind of way because we’re working on our flower farm, which we’re so passionate about, and because we’ve been so fortunate that we’ve been selling a ton as part of that new business plan.
But it’s still been insane.
I keep telling myself — “just stick it out until the planting is done…”, which has now become “oh wait, just stick it out until the most vital prep work for spring is done,” which will then become, “just stick it out until all the planning is completed, supplies are ordered, etc.”
And then it will be February, and our season basically starts up again (since we start seeds in late January typically).
So it goes.
Let’s back up a little bit though and talk about October, which was a BIG month for us, mostly just because it involved huge shifts in thinking (mostly just with the flower farm). At the very beginning of the month, I competed in a statewide business pitch competition and ended up making the Top 8 and taking home a couple of prizes.
The most important prize I ended up walking away with was actually a mentorship with Utah’s Entrepreneur in Residence. When I met with him for about an hour over Zoom, he made me see that not only did we have a viable business plan, but that we actually didn’t need to buy five acres in order to start doing this full time immediately — we just needed to be more intentional about what we were already doing and scale up where we could.
Right after that conversation, we started “experimenting” to see if there was a market for some of the other things we were thinking about selling, like fancy tulip bulbs and the amazing mushroom compost we source by the truckload. Turns out, there’s a hot local market for both, and we spent the month equally prepping/planting stuff for spring and also selling compost and bulbs. We’d tested out things like bulbs and compost on a minimal scale before (so we knew there was *some* demand for it), but until we tested it to see how far we could go, we really had no idea just how HIGH the demand is here.
October didn’t just hold flower farming and business stuff, though — we also managed to squeeze in a few fun family things, like hosting my dad here on his visit from Kansas City (who helped us plant tulip bulbs, went on a hike with us, and took us out for dinner), watching the solar eclipse, and enjoying Halloween. We also hosted some old friends over for an applesauce-making party, which I talked more about in this post.
Here’s what we officially got done off the original list in October, though:
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Get all tulip and other bulbs in the ground
- Okay, so we didn’t *technically* finish this until November, but because it’s all done by the time I’m posting, I’m totally counting it.
- Transplant herbs and lilies to new homes
- This is the thing I’m not sure we’ll get to before we’re hit with the snow. Time will tell.
Finish prepping the new perennial area + start planting
- We haven’t taken out two of the raised beds, but the rest of the area has been cleared of weeds and was prepped enough to plant bulbs in, which we’ve now done. I’m really excited to finally have just a “garden” area to enjoy, rather than always having to cut all my flowers!
Throw out unwanted dahlias and dig up tubers we’re saving
- I’m so proud of us for getting this done so early in the season. Not only did we dig up all the dahlias on time, but we also washed, divided, and stored them within about 48 hours of digging. Amazing! This will get much trickier in future years as our dahlia stock grows, but as it was, it was a do-able task over a two-day period.
Finalize seed and other wholesale orders
- Already put in and paid for!
Start mapping out business plan for next year
- It was doing this that actually helped us make the official leap into doing this full-time. Putting everything on paper and calculating out different crops and products made us see that we can make this thing work!
Contact at least five different people about buying land
- Of course, no one wants to SELL us any land, but we’re at least making an attempt by ASKING them to. The answer’s always no if you don’t ask, right? 🙂
- Start making list for Christmas
- Not officially. I kind of have some ideas in my head, but I’m still batting things around.
- Publish second post in NICU series
- Yeah, no. Blogging took a major backseat in October by necessity.
- Finish 3 books
- Nope, just finished one (and it was for our family read aloud). You know life is busy when I can’t even find time to read!
I know we’re basically halfway through the month, but we still have a lot we need to get done in the next two weeks or so. We’ve been so lucky that the weather has held out so long — by this point last year, we were already under snow and had completely frozen ground, which didn’t basically let up until April.
We’re not in bad shape currently and have already gotten a lot of the most critical tasks done (like planting a few thousand tulip and other bulbs for spring and clearing out where the earliest spring crops are going), but we still need to finish planting the high tunnel and then do a massive amendment of the new plot of land that we’re renting out next year to expand the farm onto.
Should be an adventure!
Other than flower farming chores and selling the last of the compost while we still can, November will hold the usual Thanksgiving weekend fun, prep for Christmas, etc. etc.
Here’s what’s on the official list for the last half of the month:
- Transplant lilies
- Ideally I want to do this now, but if we have to, we can also do it in early spring.
- Finish planting high tunnel
- The ranunculus corms we put in last month are already thriving in there, but we have the last 100 ranunculus corms to put in, as well as about 25 new anemones to plant. I also need to direct sow an entire row in there of larkspur and sweet peas.
- Top dress everything with compost
- We’re increasing our production by more than 10X next year (I know…), and all of that new ground needs to be heavily amended with compost and mulch because it’s pretty barren as it is. We already sent in our soil samples, and now we just need to get a thick layer of our favorite mushroom compost on it and maybe a leaf mulch as well. Since we’re laying out our future beds for next year at the same time (so we don’t waste compost), this is a multi-step, multi-day job.
- Finalize list for Christmas + start making purchases
- I usually like to have all of my Christmas shopping done by the end of November, but I don’t know that that will happen this year. I at least want to have stuff written down though so I can start researching options! The biggest thing we’re considering is turning the former storage room in our old basement into a “kid cave,” where we’ll get this (more affordable) love sac (not officially a LoveSac brand, but the same idea), maybe see if we can source a free t.v. from somewhere (we had a family member mention they might have one), and then perhaps getting the re-done Super Nintendo mini console, which is similar to the Classic NES Nintendo console we got a couple years ago and love. I’m not sure if it’s still being manufactured, however, so I’ll probably have to look into getting one off eBay. If we do end up going for those two bigger purchases, that will basically be it for our kids for Christmas (collectively) for the holiday, along with a few small things in their stockings and the clothing that I can pretty much almost always get for free using my favorite Old Navy shopping hack.
- Minimize three areas/rooms on master list
- My “Minimalist by 2024” challenge took a MAJOR backseat last month — I only worked on a few areas during the whole month, rather than an area a day like I was doing before. I still think I can knock out the whole list before the end of the year once I’m stuck inside from the snow and can no longer flower farm outside, but we’re not there yet. I do want to finish some easier areas this month, like the pantry, laundry closet, and front room.
- Publish three blog posts that aren’t Weekly Frugal wins
- The blog has had to take a backseat since we’ve been so busy with the farm, but I think once we’re hit with the first of the snowstorms in about a week or two, I should have a little more time to devote to it again. I’ve missed it!
- Finish 3 books
- Always the eterni-goal.
How did October look for you? Any exciting plans for this month? And are you already getting ready for Christmas, or do you not plan ahead this much?