The Winner Takes It All and Mother Nature has the odds stacked in her favour.
Are you the type to take a bet? Drop a coin into a slot and hope the horses you picked will come in with big odds? We all know the phrase “the house always wins”, and in nature, this is no different. The stakes are high when it comes to farming, in essence real coins buried in the soil. Do the risks equal the reward? We’ll have to see if we know how to play the cards for the hands we get, and hope for that stroke of luck required to be a winner baby!
This past week was a special one, Robert and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary! The Polar Vortex helped push us onto a plane and into the Nevada desert, and into the heart of downtown Las Vegas. Ironically this was also one of the coldest weeks in recent years and a snow day was called with no actual snow anywhere to be seen on the day it was called.
People didn’t know how to handle a light dusting of snow and it was the top story of local news. Driving home from the airport Saturday morning, after Midnight, the snow was so intense, clouds of snow covering the highway. Wind was rushing like snow snakes in masses. I had to laugh thinking about the light dusting that made the roads a nightmare in Las Vegas, but I guess you get used to extreme driving conditions living in the north.
One thing is for sure, you won’t see Rosemary in flower outdoors in February in Alberta.
On a hot tip from my friend Susie, of The Grizzlar fame, we found the best casino game in Las Vegas, The Sigma Derby, a mechanized horse race where you bet quarters on winner combos with various odds. The Sigma Derby was Japanese made and introduced in 1985. This game is the last of its kind in Las Vegas. Each round takes over a minute so you can play for a lot longer and reap the benefits of some casino bar service. I only like a strategic bet. I like to have an angle and assess whether the odds and lady luck are on my side, and you have to know when to cash out!
Being surrounded by a town where everything relies on luck, I remember that old idea that we have to make our own luck. For my long game of growing flowers, my bet is with Mother Nature as the house. I need to make sure I work with her to get the most out of my endeavour.
Most farmers know the stress of a gamble when they plant thousands of bulbs into the ground, hoping that weird weather won’t stunt the bulbs from bursting forth. Last year was especially tough on Alberta bulbs because we never really had a spring, winter seemed to go right until June and was followed with scorching heat.
Despite that, I know lots of us here planted more this past fall, little bulbs full of potential and possibility, but not without the risk that goes along with any gamble.
This year Edmonton will have a predicted 123 days frost free. I wanted to try for something that seemed impossible. Alberta grown flowers for Mother’s Day (May 12, 2019), which is 3 days before our last expected frost on May 15.
This winter has been different for me. Thanks to Lisa Mason Ziegler from The Gardener’s Workshop and her guidance with her books Cool Flowers and Vegetables Love Flowers, as well as her course, Flower Farming School Online, have showed me the ways to grow cool season flowers and extend our growing season without the uses of outdoor structures. The fact that she is in urban Virginia and I’m in northern Alberta makes no difference to the principles she uses in her farm production and cool season flowers.
Certain hardy annuals can winter over in less frigid zones, but I’m starting to think that our spring is like more southern region’s winter, and with some good strong seedlings I’m hoping early spring blooms will be here just in time for Mother’s Day.
Starting seeds indoors does require some accessories, and I love supporting a local business selling this equipment. All Seasons Garden Centre is at 10027 81 Ave NW, in Edmonton, AB. The Canadian dollar is not favourable for us to shop in USD, but it’s amazing the added value of keeping your money into your community.
Again, thanks to Lisa’s advice, I purchased a seed mat. The germination rate was amazingly fast. Heating seeds from the bottom helps warm the soil to the temperature needed to germinate. Even if these are cool loving plants, some still like warm soil to get cracking.
I started these first seeds in my office, which is also my dog Salem’s room. He’d been on a doctor’s ordered bed rest, and to help him cope with some of his boredom I’ve been keeping music on for him when he gets shut in. There are certain frequencies that are nice for a dogs ear, and i’ve found a few that aren’t so bad on mine either. What could they do for a plant?
When I planted the seeds I remembered Mother Earth’s Plantasia, by Mort Garson. I love this album, and I put it on for Salem and the seeds. I kid you not, 36 hours after planting I had germination! Almost half of my Ornamental Kale seeds had already popped!
Did music help these seeds germinate? Or was it the awesome techniques taught by Lisa Mason Ziegler?
In chatting with another grower in the area, Thelma of Good Land Farms, she told me she’d been giving her plants Reiki and they germinated much quicker than expected. There must be something to this vibration thing.
If good vibrations are your thing, Good Land Farms hosts many spiritual circles with their collective Farm to Om, in their awesome Geodome! A powerful way to connect with nature and yourself. Check them out Here.
Can hedging your bets with learning from the experts, staying open minded, and spreading good energy to nature help your chances for the long game in farming? Being open to the possibilities is everything, because one thing is for sure, you can’t win if you don’t play.
Seeds are a great way to gamble with farming because they are a cost effective way to grow a bounty of plants for (usually) only cents per seed. I also love seeds because it makes it easier for us to spread the bounty beyond the city limits.
With our business I hope that by spreading love within my communities that energy will reward the gardens with a loving bounty to continue sharing with you all. I hope that doing good for the community and the environment are ways that I can keep in good standing with the powers of nature, and keep the odds in our corner.
Next week you’ll find our seeds available for auction in support of a wonderful animal rescue, Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement (FARRM). Robert and I would love to have all kinds of farm animals on our city lot, and with a dog, two cats and two rabbits, we are doing pretty good. Sadly, I don’t think we have room for any goats or pigs nor do I think my suburban neighbours would appreciate it. But we wanted to show some love to these beautiful animals with some bouquet vouchers and flower seed bundles.
They are raising funds for a sick goat named Fiona, Fiona came into FARRM’s care when she got stuck under a gate and suffered severe frostbite, which left her with the use of her 2 front legs.
To help with the veterinary bills for this little sweetheart we are donating
3 Love and Fantasy Flower packages.
Each prize pack includes
5 packs of flower seeds and a coupon for a BIG BUNCH of our seasonal cut flowers.
Seed bundle includes :
Cosmos Seashell Mix
Knee-Hi Sweet Peas
Cherry Red Sunflowers
And also the very first recipients of our BIG BUNCH vouchers :
Here’s to making our own luck and continuing this journey of spreading love and good vibrations as far as we can!
Keep dreaming, and let’s hope we can keep the odds in our favour.