Tricky sunflowers

Sunflower Farming

 So, the sunflowers I started planting in April are starting to bloom.  I picked 5 one day and 3 on a different day.  There are lots of buds.  This is trickier than I thought it would be…it is hard to tell when they will open.  I am thinking that I may have a booth at the July 11th Farmer’s Market in Moscow.

I counted my sunflowers the other day.  I had planted 1700 seeds and have 360 plants.  This was quite a disappointment.  When I planted in early June, I ended up putting about 3 seeds in each hole.  Then, a couple of weeks later, after they had germinated, I went in and transplanted any seedlings that had more than one plant in a space.  This actually worked pretty well, even with WAY above temperatures.  The good thing about sunflowers is that they are very hardy.  Even with the 3 seeds per space idea, there are still big blocks of empty space in the row.  So, maybe try germinated and transplanting next year or planting even more seeds per space.  So far, the seeds are one of my lowest expenses.

I am still a little unsure of how much to charge for the flowers.  This was one reason I wanted to count them.  So far, I have spend $387.40 on this venture.  The breakdown is about $75 for seeds, $15 for Vendor registration at Farmer’s Market, $210 for a table, canopy and weights (to keep canopy from flying away), and $87 for 200 bouquet sleeves (to put the sunflowers in when customer’s purchase them).  I would LOVE to at least cover my costs this first year.  IF I can sell 360 sunflowers at $3 each, that would be $1060.  I like the goal of trying to make $1000.  This is not my profit but I believe a good goal for income.

So, 2 major points:
1). I realize that I do not need to buy a table and canopy each year so I do look at this as an investment.
2). I have not kept track of the many, many hours that this venture has required.  At one point, I was going to track it and just forgot…I think I will make a point to do this next year.

On a good note, the sunflowers were single stem sunflowers which means that they were supposed to send up one central stalk and bloom on that stalk.  However, I am noticing that there is one huge flower at the top but then there are smaller side shoots with buds forming.  So, if I can “harvest” these smaller flowers, I can probably sell them for $1/piece and this would be some extra income.    

If I sell them at $3/piece, I need to have at least 10 flowers to see at the Market to cover the cost of the booth space each week.  So, this is going to be quite tricky to navigate.  I will also have some other things for sale at the Market…keep reading…

Other products for Farmer’s Market

Last Friday, the boys and I went to the river (we do this most Friday’s in the summer).  At this particular spot, there are wild blackberry bushes growing everywhere.  I went to check them out and they were loaded with ripe berries.  I picked over 3 1/2 pounds of blackberries.  I froze them and plan on making blackberry jam. 
We have our own raspberry bushes and I made raspberry jam this morning.
My oregano was dried so I processed that last night so I may have dried oregano for sale at the Farmer’s Market too.
The garlic is getting close to done.  In fact, I may pull it this week!

In the Garden

The potato bag is doing great!  So excited to start harvesting some potatoes soon.

I actually FOUND a cherry tree in our backyard!  We have lived here for 4 years and I never noticed it before.  It is a small tree and I have a feeling that this may be the first year it has produced fruit.  I find it had to believe that I never saw it before.  It is a pie cherry tree.  I have been collecting the cherries and hope to have enough for a pie!