Prepping for sunflower planting…

Starting a Farm Business Update

I am just incredibly excited to start planting my sunflowers but I still need to do a little bit of research.  I know that I have a 200 foot row and I am not sure exactly how wide it is but I have a feeling that I can plant 3 rows within this 200 foot long row.  I am spacing all my plants 9 inches apart.  Which means I can get about 266 sunflowers per row which would make for a total of 800 sunflowers!  I am planning on planting 50 feet (of the 200 foot row), 4 times at 1 week intervals to extend my cuttings throughout the summer.  I have selected 8 varieties of sunflowers to plant…probably went overboard but I wanted a nice variety and it will also let me know what grows/sells best.  If I put 5 sunflowers in a bunch, I will have around 160 bunches to sell…okay, this was the plan…but…

This is a 9 inch square that I was using as a guide to plant.
I positioned it like a diamond and then planted at the corners so the 3 rows would be staggered.

I went out for my first planting on Monday, April 20th.  I guess I must have planted a little more than 9 inches apart because I got to the end of the 50 foot row and I still had 2 varieties to plant!  I planted about 24 seeds of each variety.  Pat said he may be able to give me some more space…

Here is a link to the Tall Sunflower Comparison Chart from Johnny Seed.  If you open it, you can look at the varieties I bought:
Sunrich Summer Orange
Moulin Rouge
Sunbright Supreme
Double quick Orange
Pro Cut Gold
Pro Cut Red/Lemon Bi-colour
Pro Cut Bi-colour
Pro Cut Lemon
These are all pollenless and single stem, hybrid varieties.  You can buy branching sunflower but you have to give them a LOT of room and I didn’t want to mess with that.

I spent a total of $74.60…this includes shipping and received 1600 seeds.  So, I have about twice as much seed as I need.  If I can grow all the sunflowers I am saying and sell each bunch for $5 (I will be honest, not sure what the flowers are selling for at market…could be more, but let’s just go with this low estimate for now…).  Then, I will make $800 – $74.60 = $725.40.  Of course, I will have a few more expenses…I also need to purchase new clippers for harvesting my flowers, buckets to transport them to market and rubberbands to keep the bunches together, flower sleeves (to keep the flowers from dripping all over the place befroe they get home)…these are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head.  I would say I could probably clear $500 and that seems a good goal to me.

Of course, if I could make $1000, I would officially be considered a farmer according to the USDA.  I will also have garlic to sell too…

Finding a local farm

So, I continue to look at local farms to see what different people are growing and selling.  My friend, Nora, told me about the 12 Mile Market.  It is a garage that they transformed into a farm stand.  It is operated by 2 farms.  So, we went for a visit and to get some fresh eggs!

They also have goats and sell goat cheese.  They have sheep and sell wool and lamb meat.  Margo was at the Food Stand which is on her property.  She let Joshua feed some of the goats.  I just love her donkey, Angel…

We bought 2 dozen eggs and some goat cheese!  Yummy!  Joshua was fascinated by the chickens and spent most of the time watching them.